How Traveling Got And Keeps Us Together

It has been almost two years ago since that magical day. It all happened on the island of Nusa Lembongan, which is located near Bali, Indonesia. I had rented a scooter for the day and at some point I arrived at a spot called ‘Dream Beach’. As you can imagine it wasn’t that bad, at all. However, it was about to get even better.

As if a stunning beach on a paradise island wasn’t enough, I got into a conversation with a very nice girl who was sitting next to me enjoying the view. I had seen her the day before as we were on the same boat to this island. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to talk to her then since there was a puking baby right between us. Not the best time to go and introduce myself. Luckily the universe brought us together again.

After an amazing day, we realised that we were both going into different directions the next morning. So I did something scary. I told her I felt really good about her and I’d love her to join me a little bit longer if she wanted to. She seemed to feel the same way and decided to take a boat with me back to Bali. That wasn’t all as she ended up joining me through Thailand and Vietnam until she had to get back to Canada. Our time of travel had gone so quick and now reality kicked in asking us: will we ever see each other again?

The answer was YES. She got a plane ticket to Amsterdam for the summer to visit me, initially for a few weeks. Then we experienced a very welcome complication, which was that we realised that we still really liked each other. And while she had to go back to Montreal to attend university, she decided to choose love and stay with me in Amsterdam, wow!

She chose to apply for a working holiday visa, which gave her the opportunity to stay with me for one year. We didn’t look much further than that and focused on making it work in Amsterdam. We were actually doing pretty well, but we did really miss traveling. There wasn’t a week where we didn’t fantasise how it would be to travel the world again.

At that time her working holiday visa was almost ending. I called with our immigration services and asked for the requirements for her to stay with me. To make a long bureaucratic story short: she wasn’t specialised enough in something that another Dutch person couldn’t do and I didn’t have enough financial means to support her. So the conclusion was: she had to leave the country. What?!

How Traveling Got And Keeps Us Together

Although that was a disappointment, we were confident that we would be able to find a way out of this. One thing was for sure; she was not leaving the country without me! Slowly we started talking about just booking a plane ticket somewhere to see where the world would take us.

We had already been working on a travel platform helping travellers to Asia getting all their essential information. People seemed to like it, so then we asked ourselves one question: if travelling was the thing that brought us together, could it also be the thing that keeps us together?

She had already given up everything to stay with me. She had sold her car, her surfboard and anything she could find. She had also lost almost all her rights in Canada. So now it was my turn to leave the Netherlands behind. I sold everything I still had in my apartment until I had two bags left where I could fit my entire life in.

You might be surprised, but this cleaning actually felt great. Growing up I developed the opinion that material things were very important. I was attached to them. However, getting rid of all that stuff that I bought in my life felt like freeing myself. I started to think more in the functionality than in the comfort of things. Life suddenly became a lot easier with no worries, except: where the hell are we going next?

We had a bit of savings of the stuff we sold, but we knew we would need to be able to survive on the road. I had a background in law and she as a primary school teacher, but we weren’t too excited to pursue those fields anymore. So we promised each other one thing: whatever we’ll choose to do, we will do something we love and pursue our passions this time!

How Traveling Got And Keeps Us Together

Since we’d already launched our travel platform (which initially was a hobby project), we saw an opportunity. I loved to write, she loved photography and we both liked to learn new things one of which was creating videos. So why not leave everything behind to create extra photo- and video content for our platform showcasing Asia’s most amazing places?

So that’s what we did. We bought some camera gear, started to learn a bit more about cameras and bought a one-way plane ticket to the Philippines. That choice was very scary and not easy to make, but deep down it seemed to feel right. The funny thing is that as we arrived in Asia, I looked in her eyes and I said: ‘’I feel home’’. She smiled back at me and said: ‘‘Me too’’. At that point I knew it for sure: we’ve done the right thing.

Right now we’ve got zero idea how it will go for the next year and what adventures we’ll embark upon. We’ll be sharing our lives on the road to see what can happen when you leave everything behind to pursue your dreams. Everyday will be completely different and probably unexpected. And one thing is for sure: the law will never ever separate us again!

Hugo Rijpstra

Hugo is the founder of the travel website We Wander Asia. He met his other half Noemie while traveling Indonesia and has been together with her ever since. As it was challenging to stay together being from different continents, they made traveling their lifestyle. They create videos, write articles and take pictures of their journey.

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