Rediscovering a storybook romance (and lifelong dreams) in Ireland
Love is a funny thing. It hits you when you least expect it and it hangs on when you think it is going to let go. Storybook romances are built on love, but they also need a lot of nurturing in order to flourish and grow. Our love story is one that spans two decades filled with passion, rediscovery, and growth.
It all started in the far off kingdom of Oakville, Ontario, in Canada. Dave and I met in college while watching a band at a local bar. My roommate pointed out that we had the same cowboy boots and we felt an instant connection. After college we moved from Toronto to Vancouver, British Columbia, to follow our dreams of becoming rock stars (seriously). We pursued our goals with passion and commitment, but over time we found that things weren’t moving as quickly as we liked. Soon we grew frustrated with our lack of progress and mounting bills.
With hopes fading, we knew we needed a change. Lucky for us, the Vancouver film business was booming. We had never had ambitions to work behind the scenes in movies, but when a friend of ours told us about all the money he was making in that industry, we jumped at the chance. The money was so good we ended up working in the film business for the next 14 years.
As the years went by, we realized we had lost control of our lives. We had fallen into the trap of working at jobs simply for the paychecks. We were letting our dreams fade away. We weren’t happy. We had grown apart, and lost our passion. We spent years working long hours and living separate lives.
We didn’t plan for travel to change our lives. But it did.
Travel changed our lives
During a 5-week trip to Thailand, we woke up from our fog. We discovered that we loved adventure and that we were pretty interesting people. We didn’t know we could be brave enough to delve into a new culture and explore a foreign land. But we were. We tried new things like rock climbing, sea kayaking, and trekking through the jungle. We had never tried anything like that before and we surprised and inspired each other along the way. We didn’t know we could be so spontaneous, and all that excitement made us fall in love all over again. For the first time in years, we had fun together. That trip changed everything and set us on the path to eventually become full-time travelers.
Since 2009 we’ve done just that—crisscrossing the globe, together. All told, we’ve traveled to 80 countries on seven continents. We have done so many amazing adventures, we can barely keep track of where we’ve been or what we’ve done.
At first, our new career of travel was exciting beyond our wildest imaginations. We may not have been rock stars, but we were living the lives of rock stars. We lived out of suitcases, moving from one hotel to another. We dived with great white sharks in Africa, kayaked in Antarctica, and climbed to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. We were living the dream.
But soon our dream life turned into reality. Keeping a hectic travel schedule for six years can be exhausting. Fighting constant jet-lag, lacking the time for proper nutrition and exercise, and dealing with the growing demands of work created new stresses. We started bickering and arguing. We had tensions in our lives that we never experienced before. Work never stopped. We only talked about work and we only traveled for work. Even though we spent each day together, we seemed to be far away from each other.
Unlike our first rut over a decade ago, this one was manageable. We were aware of our problems and decided to do something about them before another decade went by. We knew that it was time to slow down before we started to hate our beloved careers and resenting each other.
Viewfinder Tip: For pure romance, stay in a castle in Ireland. Many castles have been changed into hotels. And they’re surprisingly affordable if you go off-season.
So we made new goals and followed new paths. As people invited us to their destinations, we decided to do the unthinkable and say no. Instead, we chose to go where we wanted to go and to do what we wanted to do. Our destination: Ireland. It took nearly a year to set up our storybook trip to Ireland, but when it finally came time to fly, we looked forward to our travels for the first time in a very long time.
We could have turned this trip into our usual adventure excursion with cliff-jumping, mountain biking down hair-raising trails, or coasteering through canyons. Instead, we chose to create our dream vacation. We took long walks on the beach, enjoyed decadent dinners, and explored fairytale castles.
Ireland was a land of beauty beyond our expectations. It was what we always dreamed it would be. Because we didn’t have to please anyone but each other, we could take the time to talk and rediscover our own dreams and our love for travel. Most important, we rediscovered once again the reasons we fell in love. We laughed, we had long conversations, and we had quiet moments saying nothing at all while we watched the sun set over the Wild Atlantic Way.
More than 23 years of experience has taught us that relationships always take work. No matter how much your life looks like a storybook on the outside, there’s always reality on the inside. But if you are willing to revisit your fairytale and make some edits to the story every few years, you’ll find that you can continue to live a fulfilling life.
Thanks to the magic of Ireland, we are now prepared for the next chapter of our storybook romance. Together.
What is your favorite romantic destination?
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