Travelers Share Their Best Travel Romance Stories

Travelers Share Their Best Travel Romance Stories

There's something so magical about falling for someone on the road. Everything is heightened: the risks and the rewards.

On the one hand, you risk getting your heartbroken. Sometimes you fall in love with someone in paradise for a week or two, and it never goes beyond that.

On the other hand... if you hold back, you might miss meeting that special someone at that train station in Warsaw who was going to be the one.

Bittersweet or triumphant, fleeting or unforgettable, passionate or unconsummated -- these are the best travel romance stories as told by the travelers themselves.

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28. I would kill to have that much money to travel

I'm from Denmark, I met a Canadian girl while on vacation in the UK last summer. We spent 5 weeks together there. Initially, we agreed not to see each other again. But we kept in contact and agreed to go on vacation together again. We met up in Istanbul for 5 days in the fall, again 5 days in Copenhagen in December. And we have planned to travel 5 days to Dublin during the winter, and 5 days in Venice during spring. Then either I'll travel to Canada during Easter or she will come to Denmark. We are also planning to see each other during the summer for 2 weeks.

Luckily she earns a lot of money and has low living costs, so she can afford accommodations when we stay at hotels/Airbnbs. I have around $1000 per month to use for traveling, she has closer to $5000 per month. We also both have very flexible work schedules, where we can have extended weekends almost once per month, in addition to a whole weeks vacation multiple times per year

We are both a bit odd, and never really been in a serious relationship before (we are both in our early 30s). So we are both committed to make this work. We have no concrete plans to move in together, but it's something we have discussed. The most likely situation would be me moving to Canada, both because she has a better paying job and she has a closer relationship with her family.

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27. The funky monkeys

Back when I was traveling around the world I was roughly 6 weeks into a 10-month trip when I met this girl at the Funky Monkey Hostel in Bali. We enjoyed a few days together before my flight out to Thailand; lucky for me my flight was delayed a few days because of a volcano and I spent every moment with her before finally flying away.

She was traveling with a friend and they were going to meet up with me again a few days later. But as fate would have it his flight got canceled again but hers didn't. The girl and I spent the next 4 months traveling southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

She went home to America for a few weeks and then boarded a plane for my home country (Denmark) where she had found a family to work for as an au pair. She even met my family and signed papers for our apartment before I even got home from my travels.

This April we are going to America and when we come back to Denmark a month later she will be my wife.

artem-bali-584624-unsplash-300x200.jpgArtem Bali on Unsplash

26. "It seemed pointless not to try"

On my 8th day away from home on my first solo trip, I met him on a hotel balcony at 1am in Udaipur, India. Just wandered over and started chatting. We stayed up till 4am that night just talking random crap. (I'm a Brit, he is an Aussie.) I had to head out on a 7am train the next day, so we added each other on Facebook and agreed to meet in Goa for a night before he flew home.

We had one really great party night in Goa that was just awesome. The next day I packed my backpack thanked him for the awesome *ahem* partying and went on my merry way (first time I'd ever had a one night stand too).

Couple of days later he messages me asking how my travels were going. Over 6 months of me travelling through 5 countries, we never missed a day of messaging. After developing very real feelings for him over messenger and calls, I decided to extend my trip and do a working holiday in Australia.

We've been together over a year, lived together for 7 months and have submitted a partner visa application for me to stay with him in the country. He's been to England to meet my family too. He is the most amazing man I've ever met. Moving across the world for one person hasn't been easy, but it's completely worth it.

I have asked why he carried on talking to me, seeing as I was a backpacker and from the UK. He said it seemed pointless not to try.

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25. Even when it doesn't work, it works

I was 27, backpacking in Thailand when I met a girl from the Netherlands who had been travelling for 6 months and wasn't planning to stop. We both continued travelling together for 8 magical days, when the time came for me to go back to Buenos Aires.

After 2 months of a long distance relationship, she gave up travelling and crossed the world to come to me and live in Argentina. We had a wonderful relationship for 10 months and then we broke up. Now she is back in the Netherlands, but I treasure in my heart many of the best and intense moments of my life with her.

To this day, it never ceases to amaze me how many things you can learn in a relationship, even more when cultural backgrounds are extremely different.

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24. "The beauty of a moment is that it's fleeting."

When I was in Rome for the day, I met an American who was living in the city. He showed me around on his motorbike all day. We spent the night together, then I left Rome. It was a fun day.

Not everything is permanent of even semi-permanent when you're traveling. Some people may think that's sad, but for me... "The beauty of a moment is that it's fleeting."

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23. Spicy salsa

On a trip to Cuba, I met a local coffee farmer in the middle of a beautiful national park (I met him on a tour of the park that stopped at his farm). He invited me to go salsa dancing in town that night, and he rode his bike 5km through the park to meet me there. It wasn't too crazy; we danced, chatted, had a good time.

We emailed every day for almost two years. I had hoped to go back and visit him and travel the rest of the country with him, but life got in the way. It was really sweet. We joked that he was my "novio cubano" (Cuban boyfriend).

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22. One crazy night

We met at a park in Germany, played a drinking game called Funky Ball with a group of random teenagers, found a spot underneath a tree by the river, stole drinks from the teenagers and talked well into the night.

We made fun of each other’s names and accents. We talked about education, WWII, subjectivity, the meaning of the necklaces we each wore, our childhoods, and cried about losing our grandparents. Then we kissed, pressed up against the tree until the clock tower rang at midnight and he said he had to go home. He insisted on walking me home despite it being clear on the other side of town from where we were and where he was going.

We exchanged contact info but I’ll probably never see him again. It was the kind of deep, ephemeral connection that makes all the trying aspects of travel so worthwhile.

architecture-berlin-brandenburg-gate-1128419-300x242.jpgPexels/Niki Nagy

21. Under the warm Brazilian rain

I went to Carnaval in Salvador last year. Three of the four nights I went, me and a friend would meet up with a few of his other friends at a nearby apartment. Every time we went over there was this very handsome guy who was friends with the other group and he would wait outside as they got ready because he wasn't participating in the blocos (moving concerts that you can travel along side with a ticket) this year.

He, my friend and whoever was ready and waiting outside would just talk and laugh among themselves while I just hung back and tried to keep up with their Portuguese. When everyone was ready we would say our goodbyes and he would just hang back.

My last bloco just finished and I was looking for my friends when this guy came out of nowhere and kissed me. It was just magical feeling the spark between us under the warm Brazilian rain. After I snapped back to reality our friends were super close by so we all went to go get something to eat and see the free, sea-side show that closed out the days festivities.

The two of us were inseparable that night. We both just wanted to spend the night in each other's arms but our living arrangements didn't allow that. I got his number and ran back for one final kiss before getting some rest for the big day at the beach my friend had planned for us.

We are still texting and video calling after nearly a year. He has been a big help with my Portuguese and he is learning English as well. He's currently trying to get his American tourist visa and his plan is to visit in July while I'm trying to save up to visit him in Recife for New Year's hopefully.

agustin-diaz-7F65HDP0-E0-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Agustín Diaz on Unsplash Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

20. If you need to make it work, you will

The best decision I ever made was saying hi to the cute boy sitting by the pool! We've had our ups and downs. We did a total of 6 months long distance while he was finishing his world travels. But if you want it to work you'll make it work.

He took my old iPhone I had in Australia so we both could use iMessage and FaceTime or when he was able to connect to wifi we'd use Facebook messenger. Time zones were a tad tricky. When I was in Hawaii and he was in New Zealand, 11 hours apart, I would be waking up and he'd be headed to go out with friends or whatever.

We knew we had something special from the day we met and both wanted to make it work. We did it! I moved to Denmark in May, never thought twice about leaving all my friends and family behind. It was the best risk I've ever taken in life. Lived over here for 3 months while he was still gone, took the chance and it has all worked out!

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19. "Man is it a good feeling to be that loved"

My favorite fling was when I was 18. I met a girl while traveling through Scandinavia. We hit it off with such a strong intensity that she called out of work at the train station for the whole next week. We traveled the region, talked endlessly and were just full of that madly reckless love which disappears after you have your heart broken a few times. I ended up abandoning the rest of my planned trip to stay with her for a few weeks before tearfully heading south to catch my plane home.

Well, I missed my plane and decided to head back up north to surprise her.

When I got off the train I spotted her through the crowd standing with her back to me talking to a coworker. I was about 15 feet away when her coworker recognized me and she started to turn around.

I'm standing there about 4 days out from my last shower, dirty, exhausted and grinning like an idiot. She sees me, her eyes go wide and she drops like someone electric-shocked her. I've never had someone, before or since, sob uncontrollably out of pure happiness at seeing me, but man is it a good feeling to be that loved.

I picked her up, we held each other for a little while as commuters and tourists pushed passed then we caught the bus back to her little apartment on the outskirts of the city.



18. Claire without clarity

I met this amazing cute Aussie girl in Krakow. We both got wasted at our hostel's ridiculous unlimited bar before we began our pub crawl. Spent a long time talking that night. At the first bar she was being harassed by this dude and seemed like she wanted to get away. I found them outside and tried to steer them back towards the pub crawl. The 3 of us ended up lost. Eventually the dude disappeared.

Unfortunately we lost the pub crawl and she was upset about that. We wandered around and eventually I suggested going back to the hostel and maybe they could get us back on the crawl. The woman there was super helpful and gave us the crawl itinerary. We went back outside and eventually just fell into this very extended hug outside the hostel which cheered her up. I suggested we go back inside and cuddle.

So we did. When we laid down in bed she grabbed my hand super forcefully and held it next to her and Ill never forget how amazing that felt. I didn't make a move cause she wasn't in a right state of mind and neither was I. When I woke up she was gone and I never saw her again.

I know it sounds silly but like I had a real connection to this girl. Her name was Claire thats all I remember. And I wish I could've found her again.

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17. Mouths: for food and kissing

I traveled to Porto and had booked the cheapest hostel. It was so run down I didn't even find it and had to ask locals. When the receptionist opened the door i felt chemistry right away and he offered to cook for me. It was winter and they didn't have heaters so I threw a blanket around my shoulders and proceeded to go up the stairs to the kitchen when my blanket fell down.

He picked it up, walked in front of me and came so close my lips almost touched his when he put the blanket back around my shoulders and walked up the stairs. I felt butterflies and was so confused 0- why had he not kissed me?

We ate and flirted and I traveled to Lisbon soon but before I returned home I spent one last night at the hostel in Porto. This time I cooked for him and we kissed.

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16. We have to leave to know we want to stay

I met a girl on an island in Cambodia and we hit it off pretty quickly. First night together we hook up but I quickly find out she has no interest in sticking around as she isn't the type to have a boyfriend even if it's super temporary.

I convinced her to stay on the island and ultimately to come to the next town with me too. Things started getting rough because she wasn't comfortable being with me all the time and being coupley. We spent out last day together barely talking and me just being annoyed with her. She ended up apologizing and asked me to go to dinner with her that night and it was perfect. She was so sweet all through dinner.

A few months later we decided to meet up in Laos for two weeks. Those two weeks turned into 3 months. We just went out separate ways 2 days ago and it's been hard. We think we'll meet up again in a few months. I'm really glad she asked me to come to dinner with her that night.

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15. Met at a wedding

I met my wife at a destination wedding in Rio (I'm from USA).

When I left, we exchanged contact info but didn't talk much initially. About 6 months later we really started talking more and more and realized we had a lot in common and enjoyed talking together. This was when I decided to go back and visit (I had already wanted to visit but now I wanted to go to see her).

Basically, I really wanted to visit Brazil again to learn more and explore. But it was really more about spending time with her.

We've been married for 3 years and it's great. We both love to travel. Morocco was our big trip last year but we also hit up Las Vegas and Nantucket for shorter trips. We're going back to Rio next week for Carnaval!

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14. Matt from Australia

I was at a hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland and i met this really hot guy while sitting around the bonfire. We talked for hours about all kinds of stuff. he walked me back to my room and we made out in the hall for a while then said goodnight.

The next day we just hung out together off and on and that evening we snuck into an empty room and cuddled, kissed, and talked most of the night.

The next morning I had to be up at 6 am to go canyoning. We had said goodbye the night before because he had to leave while I was gone. But then he got up to see me off for a last goodbye.

It's been 15 years and I still remember this guy. It was just all very sweet. Matt from Australia, if you're out there, thanks for the great memories!

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13. Everything is impossible until it happens

I went on a short term trip to Thailand, 3 weeks in total. Spent the first few days in Bangkok, went to Koh Tao for a few days to get some diving in and ended up spending the rest of my time there.

Spent a lot of time with one of the instructors at the shop and we hit it off straight away. I didn't make a move because 1.) I'm a bi girl, she's straight and 2.) she was in a relationship.

I ended up moving back out there 3 months later because I fell in love with the island. She broke up with her boyfriend about 2 weeks into me being there. We became best friends and no topic was off limits, so I told her if she wanted to "experiment" I'd be happy to help. About a month later, she asked me to come in her room, locked the door and we slept together.

We've been together ever since, coming up on 3 years. I never thought the whole 'can't stop thinking about them, instantly happy when you see them' kind of love would come to me, but it did.

She's Dutch so she's taught me the language. I'm up to 4 now, which is pretty decent for someone from the UK.

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12. A bus ride that made all the difference

Met an absolutely gorgeous Mexican woman at a New Years Eve party in Vancouver. Talked for a few hours then I asked her to accompany me to the river to watch the midnight fireworks. I really liked her but got too nervous and just held her hand instead of kissing her at midnight.

Back at the hostel we did finally kiss, quite a lot. I was sad to find out she was leaving the following morning to spend a week in Seattle before heading back to Mexico City. I decided to buy a bus ticket to Seattle to follow her there. It's a fine line between stalking and romance, luckily I think it was okay!

Long story short, I lived in Mexico City for several months with her before heading back to the UK to work so I can save up for the visa to move her over here. We're getting married this December.

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11. Live in the moment, love in the moment

In my opinion, travel romance is about practicing impermanence and just appreciating the moment you have shared with that person.

I met a a guy that lives and works in Malaysia while I was volunteering at a hostel. I left and came back and we've been spending time together when we can for a little over two months now. My visa comes up on Monday and it's time to go.

Yeah, it's sad. But by allowing ourselves to feel the moment fully we get to experience more. It's okay to fear that our heart will get hurt but it's by allowing whatever is to happen that we can fully experience the moment. My time here has been raw and exciting all the while knowing that at the end of the day I'll have to go. It's hard on the heart but it makes my memories of such a beautiful city even greater. Obviously, we’ll keep in touch for a bit and whatever happens, happens.

I think sometimes while solo travelling we’ll get the opportunity of 24hr love and other times you'll get to explore that further for a few more days, weeks, or months. I'd just say be happy with the memories you've shared and proud that you are strong enough to let yourself feel.

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10. "I feel stupid now for ever thinking that it couldn't work"

This happened to me. It changed my life!

Melanie Williams

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9. "No one wins without playing"

In April 2014, I had just finished my master’s degree, broken up with my boyfriend, and I had no idea what the next step was. All I knew was that I needed to get away because I didn’t want to live in Paris anymore.

8. "She'll never be anything more than that day"

I met a wonderful woman in line at the Uffizi when she couldn't find the ticket counter. She was the most genuine, empathetic, and all around amazing person in my life, for the day that one could say that she was in my life.

We perused the whole museum; her describing the realism of the art, and me making dumb jokes - hoping I wasn't offending the locals. She laughed the whole way.

The evening was spent walking Florence in the rain. We traversed the city for several hours looking for a vegan restaurant that wasn't empty or closed. She wanted vegan, and I was dead set on finding it.

We parted ways and I made it onto the 5 am tram to the airport. Touched down in Sicily a few hours later. She'll never be anything more than that day, but she'll be the example I compare others to for the foreseeable future.

tolga-kilinc-fo1O6INiE2Y-unsplash-300x199.jpgPhoto by Tolga Kilinc on Unsplash

7. Love and diplomacy

In London, I met a high ranking-government officer from the Southeast Asian county of Timor-Leste through a diplomacy workshop we were both attending. We spent a week there together, met up again in Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin (my home at the time), Copenhagen again and The Hague. All of those were diplomatic missions she undertook; I was tagging along with my >60 days of saved-up leave days.

That went on for about a year (saw each other every 6-8 weeks on average for 4-7 days at a time). I was actually making plans to move to her country (crazy) when out of the blue she told me she got back with her ex out of pity (?).

Not sure if they were actually separated during the whole thing and I was merely an exciting affair. With 8 hours time difference we were mostly texting and only talking occasionally in her lunch breaks (my breakfast time), so it would have been easy enough to hide. I will never know.

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6. Mr. Hottie cop

I was in NYC for a long weekend. I ended up in some neighborhood bar and started talking to a bunch of locals. Two of the guys I was chatting with ended up being NYPD. As such, they know all the underground bars. So, I ended up basically going on a after hours bar crawl with Mr. Hottie cop and ended up making out with him for a few hours in his Jeep down the street from my hostel.

We were interrupted when a busload of tourists arriving at the hostel started cheering us on from the sidewalk. I definitely did the walk of shame back into the hostel through that crowd who were all waiting to check in.

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5. A long trip, but a happy ending

I was 4 months into a year-long round the world trip and had just arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. For the first couple of days I was sorting out paperwork for an Indian Visa, when I met a girl from Switzerland. We had a good chat at the backpacker bar and later ended up doing a Jo'burg/Soweto tour together.

We get back and she discovers the 2 month overland tour she scheduled through southern Africa was canceled. I had planned to go on a safari in Kruger and asked if she wanted to go along. We had a good time and decided to do the Garden Route together while my paperwork was being processed. We got as far as Stormsriver when I got the e-mail saying my Visa was denied, so the two of us really didn't have a destination at this point. We traveled together as friends for about 4 weeks total and finally hooked up in Cape Town.

Thinsg were going well and we were officially a couple. Both of us had put our jobs on hold and had money saved up, so we just kept going. We hitchhiked through Namibia, camped in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, waded across the Zambezi River to the Angel's Armchair at the Victoria Falls in Zambia, and swam in Lake Malawi.

My brother was living in Japan at the time and while in Malawi I found out I only had a short window to visit him. I asked if she wanted to take that jump and she said yes. Spent most of our time around Tokyo and after a few weeks there we did South East Asia starting in Bangkok.

We took off East to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, took a boat down the Mekong River from Phnom Penh into Vietnam, traveled from the delta to Ho Chi Minh City, traveled along the coast to Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sa Pa, took a weird bus route to Lao, and another weird bus experience into northern Thailand. We made our way south and finally parted ways in Malaysia after 7 months of traveling together.

It doesn't end there....

Before we went back to work, I went to Switzerland for a couple of weeks and she came to the US so that we could meet friends and family. This was 2 years ago. Since, we've been able to manage a long distance relationship and haven't allowed more than 3 months to pass without seeing each other.

We are getting married in 12 days.

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4. Locked in the bathroom

When I traveled to Krakow, pretty much all heck broke loose the minute I crossed the border. That in and of itself is a story, but the pertinent part of this story is that my friend left so I changed rooms in my hostel one day. It was mid-day so the hostel (university dorm) was empty at the time.

I went to the bathroom and when I tried to leave I discovered that the knob was broken. I was in there for hours pounding on the door and yelling before someone finally heard me. I ended up being rescued by 3 english guys who kept me company while we waited for the maintenance guy to come and get me out.

By the time i was finally out there were about 15 people hanging in the hall having drinks and enjoying the unexpected entertainment. I ended up spending the next few days with these guys but really clicked with one. We had a blast drinking, dancing at underground clubs, and staying out until dawn. The one guy and I ended up hooking up the last night they were in town and the whole weekend was a blast.

ostap-senyuk-7rCdqEuQ1rg-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Ostap Senyuk on Unsplash

3. The way travel affects relationships

I met a guy while traveling in Iceland. Turns out we lived ~4 hours apart (albeit in different countries) in real life. We dated for about a year. During that year I think we were for each other what the other one needed in some ways. But in reality we were very different people with not all that much in common going in very different directions in life. I do think that the travel element added more intrigue to the relationship than if we had been living in the same place and met organically.

Think about it. You're not working/putting in the daily grind. You're probably in a fricking awesome place spending all of your time doing amazing activities. You're eating/drinking/going out every night. You're out of your typical environment, and you can be whomever you want to be without anyone having preconceptions of you. You're running on adrenaline, and you might be traveling alone looking for people to connect with and travel around with. If the two of you are in a new place, you may bond very quickly over a shared experience.

In my own experience, it's easy to "fall" this way, but whether or not it makes sense in the long run comes down to the usual list of things: shared values, common interests, similar life goals.

lucas-davies-507228-unsplash-300x222.jpgPhoto by Lucas Davies on Unsplash Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Iceland.

2. Ships passing in the night

I was shopping in Florence with some friends and I stepped outside because the shop was like 9000 degrees inside. A few minutes later, this super hot guy on a motorcycle drove by and we made eye contact and there were sparks but he kept going.

My friends came out a few minutes later and we decided to go have a drink because the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. We found a bar close-by and went in and found a table. A few minutes later a round of shots (that we hadn't ordered) were delivered.

Turns out the hot guy on the motorcycle was the bartender and he sent them over. He came over and we chatted for a few minutes in broken Italian/English but then he got busy so he had to leave. On the way to the restaurant we walked past his bike so I decided on a whim to leave him a note with my email.

He emailed me 2 days later, but by that time I was back in Switzerland and though we exchanged a few emails, in the pre-Google translate days, the language barrier was an issue, and I didn't get back to Florence until a few years later.

mark-tegethoff-l-GmdF7Md0o-unsplash-300x225.jpgPhoto by Mark Tegethoff on Unsplash

1. I know you'll end up together again

Things got delayed and I had to stay an extra night in Sucre, Bolivia. When she walked in and I saw her eyes my heart skipped a beat. I pushed the backpack off the bed next to mine so she could stay there and promised myself I would take her dancing that night. She left to see something with friends and I didn't see her the rest of the day.

I had an early morning for work the next morning but stayed up and pretended it wasn't just to see her again. We talked all night but all I remember from that night was her eyes. They were hypnotic. We exchanged contact info before I left and said we would stay in touch, the kind of empty promise you make all the time when meeting so many new people.

We did keep in touch though. At first once a week (I didn't have internet during the week), but then more and more. I wasn't sure why she still talked to me because she was comically out of my league, but when I got online I usually had a new message from her. We traded pictures, told stories, and talked about the Copa America near her apartment in Chile coming up in April.

It was January, and I was in Turkey, and would soon be in Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. The plan was to work away through the Middle East and then up through Eastern Europe. I always thought about changing my plans to see her, but it would have been expensive and would have taken me away from a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

I moved to Chile in March and the eyes that greeted me at the airport were every bit as perfect as I remembered them. I followed through on my old promise to myself and took her salsa dancing that night. I stayed in Santiago and worked at restaurants and hostels for six months to be with her and we spent every free minute together, plus side trips to Temuco, Pucon, Montevideo & Punta Del Este & Colonia del Sacramento, Valparaiso, and Uyuni. They were the best seven months of my life and the first thing I think of when I think of traveling.

Eventually things didn't work out. We both wanted them to but realized it wouldn't last forever and decided to rip the bandaid off and break up now instead of waiting to bond more before ending it.

It's been 18 months but every three or four months we spend weeks planning on getting back together. There's always a hangup. It's usually me sabotaging it by saying that she needs to come to the U.S. this time so we'll be even or me saying that we are headed different directions in life or some other nonsense. So we stop talking for a while and get on with life.

Sometimes in that split second between when my my alarm clicks and starts buzzing, I see her eyes the night we met, and life is perfect.

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