The idea of travelling as a couple always conjures up romantic notions; thoughts of being swept off your feet on golden beaches, kissing at the top of a majestic mountain and drinking wine as the sun sets in Paris. It isn’t like that.
The truth is travelling isn’t romantic in the way people think.
Travelling with your other half all the time doesn’t mean round-the-clock romance. A lot of time is spent waking up at 5am to catch a bus, sleeping in cheap dorm rooms, traipsing around town looking for something to eat, getting stuck in airports, and even feeling sick. These certainly aren’t my finest moments.
But, travelling does mean you never know exactly what’s going to happen. Romance doesn’t happen in neat, cliché moments, but arrives unexpectedly at strange and often challenging times. Here are my top 5 unexpectedly romantic moments whilst travelling with my partner, Luke.
Our first visit to Taroko was one of those day-trips that involve an early morning rise into darkness to catch 3 hour train and a 1 hour bus. We went on foot, which is a major mistake because Taroko is huge. After hours getting nowhere on the road stretching through the National Park’s belly with tour buses and scooters speeding by, we finally turned around and saw the Eternal Spring Shrine behind us. We followed the path uphill, eventually reaching the Bell Tower, looking over the edge and seeing the expanse of Taroko gorge below.
Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam
Kayaking leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m not talking about the salt water. The first time Luke and I got in a kayak together in the Philippines, we had a massive fight, the biggest fight we’ve ever had. Unable to work together, we ended it by telling each other to “fuck off,” and staring dumbly at the water whilst we bobbed together in the boat. When we were told we were off kayaking in Halong Bay I was horrified. In the face of a re-emerging challenge, we refused to allow a kayak to come between us and skimmed romantically through the limestone karsts of the bay.
Embarking on what I thought was an hour-long afternoon amble, 4 hours later I had my new boots covered in mud, was dying of thirst and felt dizzy having skipped lunch. Incredulous as to why Luke would let us come out on a hike with no water or lunch, I was stomping along appreciating very little of the beautiful surroundings. When the sun began to set at the end of the walk, it was too picture perfect for me to stay mad.
Trekking to a waterfall in Palawan, the Philippines
A half hour drive in a tricylce emblazoned with the lyrics “No Woman, No Cry” and we were at the start of a trek to a waterfall and plunge pool. Only, none of us had realised this trek involved wading through a series of rivers. Fortunately for me, chivalrous Luke piggy-backed me across so that I wouldn’t get my shoes wet.
Getting sweaty and stinky whilst hiking isn’t exactly romantic, but there’s something about the acheivement of making it to the top of a mountain together that is. Here we are, sweaty backed on a birthday weekend away sitting at the top of a teapot shaped rock on a mountain tip in Jiufen.
Have you had any unexpectedly romantic moments while travelling? I’d love to hear your stories.