Can You Find Your Soulmate While Traveling? These Two Did.
I saw this the other day and my heart just melted. It is an incredible story, and seems like something you would only see in movies like The Notebook. Read the following as the American guy and the Danish girl tell the story of how they met and fell in love while traveling. The text is taken exactly as it was originally written on Reddit.
The guy’s story:
Sit back and grab a warm coffee this is going to take a bit.
I’m a recent college grad with a degree in environmental science and GIS. I got a job quick after graduating and loved what I did. However that love quickly turned to hatred when I realized %90 of what I was doing involved computer screens and non-human interaction. A huge part of my identity comes from human to human interaction so I quit and decided to become a bartender instead. I bartended for half a year saved all the money by living as cheaply as possible and spent all my savings on a plane ticket to Berlin with a 2 month Eurorail pass. The trip started off as you’d expect. Roaming streets checking out sites etc. I loved berlin and moved on to Amsterdam. Met one of my best friends here and learned a ton from him about keeping an open heart and mind. He told me love transcends sex. It’s a feeling primal and untamable. I thought he was insane. I’m one of those people that found love to be a commercialized non-existent emotion sold to us by media and movies. He enlightened me and told me the only way to find love is to not run from it. To love yourself above all else.
After Amsterdam I kept moving from paris>budapest>rome>naples(ew)>florence>Rimini>verona(beautiful)>Barcelona> Valencia> and finally Granada. By the time I had arrived in Granada things were going well. I had a plethora of experiences under my belt and had believed I could finally relax and enjoy the beautiful small city of Spain. I had no idea one day this city will become the setting for all of my dreams and thoughts for the following months maybe years. When I first got there I instantly made a large group of friends from across the world in my hostel (Oasis Hostel if you’re ever in the area highly recommend). These people each had a unique perspective on life. Then she came. I, sitting at a bar with my Aussie friend talking about something who knows. I look up and she’s standing half way across the room. Face barley lit by the lanterns floating nearby on the hostel porch. I sip my sangria and wonder who that was. It was by no means ‘love at first sight’. I was just curious. She sat down by me and we talk a bit. She introduces herself as Tamara in a voice I liked instantly. Nothing crazy. Nothing happening. Just a new person to meet. I was as excited as I was about meeting anyone.
We move on and go on a ‘Tapas Tour’ organized by the hostel. Everyone groups together and runs across the city from bar to bar drinking sangria and eating the free food that comes with it (a huge perk of spanish culture). I realized half way through the tour that my body had reached it’s max capacity of sangria and had to let some go. I run to the bathroom and wait in line. There she was waiting in line with me. We make some small talk again but this time something happens. After about 5 minutes of talking I realize that I didn’t want to stop talking. I had to keep talking to her. She had such unique and honest opinions that I hadn’t experienced elsewhere in my travels or at home in the states. After we use the bathroom we’re attached. We can’t stop talking to one another. We finish the tour with a great Flamenco show in a cave but we both just want to keep talking to one another so we leave halfway and sit on a brick wall overlooking the Alhambra and a river. We talk more and at this point I can feel something happening. I’m immensely attracted to her, but not just physically,something else was happening. Something magnetic. I couldn’t stop talking to her. After flamenco we head back to the hostel. When we get close I say something along the lines of “I’m really not ready for bed yet.” She agrees and asks what we should do. I say “Let’s get lost” and start running as fast as I possibly can. She runs after me and we try with all our might to get lost in the stone streets. After 15 minutes we succeed in our goal. We find ourselves on a bench overlooking a castle bathing in full moon. The Sierra Nevada mountains lurking in the far distance enough to give you the feeling that this was all an elaborate stage designed for a movie too good to be real. We sit there and I interrupt our non-stop talking to ask her if she’d like to listen to music. I put on my favorite song ‘becalmed’ by brian eno. She’d never heard it. It puts us both in a mindset of calm and trust. I’ve known her for 2 hours, but at this point I trust her completely. Something was happening. I didn’t know what. The song finishes and she takes out her headphones and looks at me. I ask what she’s thinking and instantly she says “This memory would be a lot better if you kissed me right now.” Her honesty takes me by surprise. I smile shocked and lean in gently. It felt like talking rather than kissing. It felt natural and real. Usually when I’d kiss a girl I would ‘go all out’ and try so hard to make it memorable or ‘skilled’. I never even thought about that with her. It was a communication. After that I was hooked.
We spent the night together and the next day she left to hike the Sierra Nevada mountains. I waited for her to come back and when she did two days later it felt like it had been years. One day with her and I was already missing her. I told her and she said she felt the same. We decided we had to go to the Alhambra together. It’s the largest castle in Spain in the heart of Granada. The next day we roam the castle together running across it’s many garden’s and touching the walls with interest and passion. There was a point when we were overlooking one of the most beautiful gardens in the castle. I asked her what she thought of it all and her response was “It’s all so beautiful but it’s strange because sometimes I catch myself focusing on things like your arm touching mine or the way you look.” Her honesty again took me aback. I’m still not sure if this is a Danish thing or just how she is as a person. Something happened in the castle where we both just…couldn’t stop being close. The entire time we just fell harder and harder. Something about being surrounded by classic timeless beauty mixed with the Spanish sun. At this point I believe I experienced love for the first time…in my life. It was unintentional and completely involuntary. It just…happened. It was a need, not a want or an attraction just a need for that person and it still hasn’t gone away. I had my last day in Granada and had to leave for Barcelona as I already had a train ticket. I asked her to meet me in Barcelona and she agreed. She was only able to get there however for one day before I had to leave and go to Berlin.
So we had one day left together. We met up and roamed the streets. Our love grew immensely with every passing second. We spend hours laying on the beach embracing as tight as we could and talking about our entire lives trying so hard to learn as much as possible about one another before we left. There was a constant hovering time bomb over our heads. We knew this wouldn’t last longer than a day so we tried as hard as we could to hold on as tight as possible to these 24 hours we had. It was like being on death row. Time felt infinite and at the same time completely fluid and fleeting like sand through our fingers. We spent the night talking and eating gelato and bakery goods. Each minute of talking I knew she was perfect for me. Everyone has someone for them in the world and she was mine. At the end of the day we spent the night together and lay in a silent sadness. Squeezing one another as tightly as possible hoping if we hold tight enough it would keep us from separating. When we walked to the station the next morning it was like a funeral march. We got to the station and in a moment of desperation we embrace and whisper in each other’s ears “I’m falling in love with you.” We laugh and smile back tears. I take one last look and get on the train. Logically, I know it’s likely the last time I’ll ever see her. Illogically, some part of me knew we’d meet again. I got home to the States a few days after our goodbye. I felt hopeless and lost. I met the person I’ve waited 24 years to meet. She was in my arms and for some reason I left her thousands of miles away. I didn’t have enough money to go back. It was over and I was stuck. Tamara was in a different world as exotic as her name. A dream I had woken up from. I was depressed.
Meanwhile Tamara was at home working as a nurse. She felt the need as well. One night she was working on a patient with cancer that was particularly upsetting. She messaged me instantly after her shift saying “Life is too short, I bought a ticket to America.” At this point I was in a bar with a friend talking about how much I missed her. When I got that message I almost fainted. The dream was not only real but happening again.
We spent the next 43 days running around the city. At first we were confused about what we felt for one another. We thought maybe Granada was a fluke or we might have been influenced by the setting and mystery of it all. But the more time we spent together we realized there was a chemistry that could not be explained nor denied. We spent most of our days sitting in my car just -talking- for hours. We felt more close with one another after a month than we did with our best friends. I was as attracted mentally as I was physically if not more so. After 20 days we confessed our love. It was real and mutual and amazing. She left a few days ago. I miss her like crazy but we agreed we’re going to make this work. We still talk for hours every day.
TL;DR Love while traveling is brutal and hard to sustain but if you can it is completely worth it. Our love is inconvenient we didn’t want it to happen but sometimes you can’t stop it. I guess that’s how you know it’s real.
Edit: So glad you guys seem to enjoy our story. Here’s a small album of a few random pictures from our travels. Thanks for reading!
And now to the girl’s story:
I always knew exactly what I wanted; I wanted to live in Copenhagen and be a doctor. These were my goals since age 12 and I spent my college years smiling to myself whenever my friends were confused about what to do with their lives. I already knew. So I worked hard in school, got the grades I needed and started studying med school at the university of Copenhagen. I moved into my apartment in Copenhagen at age 18 and was also one of the youngest in my class. In my spare time (or just instead of sleeping) I worked in hospitals as a substitute nurse.
As you can imagine my attempt to be perfect was bound to fail. Long story short everything went wrong, and I dropped out of school and lost every concept of who I was, realizing that I had always defined myself in terms of other peoples expectations. That is what led to me buying a plane ticket out of Denmark and go travelling with my backpack.
That is how I happened to one day step onto a patio in a hostel in Granada. I had only just arrived but was exited to meet people. He was in the back of the group looking confident and handsome and I did notice him for that, but it was not my priority to talk to him more than anyone else. It took a while before we got around to talking, and I was surprised to find that he was a very different person that I would have guessed from his looks. He was passionate, adventurous and intelligent and throughout the night we made a connection that was different from anything I had ever experienced before, running down dark streets and kissing above the city with the song “broken horse” by freelance whales playing in the background. I was overwhelmed and confused about how much I could miss a person I just met when I left for a hiking trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains the next day.
You can read the rest of the story of that night in his original post, which I am sure you have, but I wanted to share my memories from our one day in Barcelona. As it was, I cancelled Valencia completely to arrive in Barcelona 4 days before I had planned and he extended his stay there, only so we could have that one day together. When we said goodbye in Granada we already knew we were going to see each other in Barcelona, but never the less it was painful, and I spend the rest of my stay in Granada cursing the train system.
When I finally arrived it was the last day of the carnival and the city was alive with people. He came to my hostel and when he stepped into the lobby I felt so happy that I was smiling like a fool and just jumped up to feel his arms around me again, smell him, touch him. Not very classy; I should probably have pretended to just randomly be in the lobby like I hadn’t been looking out the window every 5 seconds, but the force that drew me towards him was so much stronger than any pride.
He took me by the hand and dragged me to the center of the city where the last big parade was going on and the streets were full of children smiling and dancing happily and I felt like the luckiest person in the world to be there and experiencing it with his arms wrapped around me. We walked along the beach and I peeked at his face while pretending to look at merchandise at an antique marked. I watched how his fingers carefully touched and felt the leather of some small handmade pouches and how he narrowed his eyes to look at the writings on an old Beatles badge.
The weather was perfect and Barcelona was never more beautiful than that day. As we walked on we passed a fair full of carousels and colors, and I just couldn’t stop smiling. We got to the beach and realized that we didn’t bring any towels or bathing suits but we didn’t care. We lay down in the sand and I soaked the heat of the sun and the sand but most of all the sensation of his skin underneath my fingertips and his lips on mine. We must have been there for hours, and I am sure we looked ridiculous just lying around in the sand in our underwear and holding each other tightly, constantly talking only interrupted by kissing, in a desperate attempt to feel closer and to catch up with all the years I wished I had known him. I remember when we finally got up and brushed the sand off our bodies. I looked around and realized that I had honestly not even seen the beach. At all. It just didn’t seem that important.
We did so much that night. We had sangria in his favorite bar, we walked the old less touristy part of the city and he showed me his favorite streets. We had gelato, Turkish baklava and pretzels, and we had dinner in the smallest coziest restaurant we could find. When we entered the ceiling was so low he had to duck, and we sat down at a table in the very back of the dimly lit room. I can still see the pots and pans on the walls and the deep orange color of the dimmed lights that cast beautiful shadows on his face. I remember his surprise when I asked about his family and we were so absorbed in conversation that we didn’t have time to go see the fireworks.
At that point I honestly didn’t care at all, fireworks are loud and I might waste time I could have spent talking to him looking at silly colored sparks. Anyway the sparks I felt between us were far more interesting, an attraction so intense and electric that I could barely let go of his hand. It was not that sort of fiery passionate physical attraction at all, more like a forceful low humming between us; a magnetic field of mental attraction and a never satisfied hunger. I wanted to know all his quirks all his habits, I wanted to hear all his stories, all the times he had loved or lost.
In a brief moment the narrow streets and the dark night reminded me of Granada and I turned to him and said; “let’s run”. And so we did. Music from the carnival was playing loud in the background as we ran as fast as we could down the street. The surroundings became a blur of color and with the wind and music in my ears I felt like I was flying; laughing and navigating around people who jumped aside as we passed.
Out of breath we made it to the plaza where the big final of “La Merce” was a lightshow projected on a large building. It was amazing, but as the show ended I suddenly realized that our day was almost over. We were running out of time. Alex is always fully determined to conquer time and to never let it win, whereas I tend to give up and surrender to the turning hands of the clock. But we did try. We stayed out most of the night, walking randomly around in the streets, sitting down on porches and walls everywhere. I sang him a song that I wrote in Granada too. I forgot the most important lyric and was embarrassed at how silly it had been of me to write a song in the first place. When I was done there were so many emotions I could barely move and my craving for him had grown so big that I knew I could never not see him again.
We went back to the hostel and he showed me pictures from his life until an employee asked us to be quiet. I don’t think I slept at all. I stayed in a state of half dreaming while being more aware than ever of the feeling of his body, the feeling of this strange individual that had in a matter of days made me feel things I had never felt before. Time won. Morning came. We were out of time.
I don’t remember too much of that morning, but I do remember a lot of silence. We walked all the way to the train station and I clenched his hand desperately, angry that time was being so unfair, that I would have to let go.
It was painful. We looked at each other one last time and he told me in a very serious voice that he was falling for me. I held back tears as I told him I was falling for him too. When it comes to goodbyes, Alex is keen to the band-aid method, which is probably good, because even though it hurt so much when he abruptly let go, turned his back to me and walked towards the ticket control, it would probably have been worse any other way. I looked after him until he was all the way through security.
I remembered the last lyric of my song: Oh god, the night turns bright/silent cries of sunlight in eyes/as concepts like distance and time/materialize and tear us apart.
When we met in Barcelona we thought it was our last day. When he left Barcelona we were not so sure, but part of me was convinced I’d never see him again. I stayed in Barcelona until I had my return flight home to Denmark and when I came back everything just felt out of place. I had planned on travelling until mid December and only came home to attend a big birthday party, but since I hadn’t booked a ticket anywhere yet I took a few shifts and would have probably falling into the trap of “just seeing a couple of people, just earning a bit of money before I head back out” but one night I had a cancer patient younger than my mom and realized how short and precious life is. I had to chase the American guy I had fallen so hard for. The next day I bought a ticket to America.
I spent a month and a half with him, and helped him get settled in the city he just moved to. We explored the city together and it was the best time of my life. I loved him more every day. It is now a few weeks since I left, but this time I knew we would see each other again. I am his. Simple as that.
Need a tissue?