“We’re going traveling,” he says to me with a cheesy grin.
It was 6:30 a.m. on our last day in Malapascua, Philippines and our first day traveling together. Though I was feeling a bit rough from my snorkel test the night before, the final stage of any good divemaster course in which candidates funnel a concoction of booze, I couldn’t help but smile also.
Anyone whose followed my blog or even just looked at the about me page knows that solo travel was my thing. I’ve always prided myself on being able to go anywhere in the world alone. But something changed on this trip.
It all started about eight months ago in the tropical village of Port Douglas, Australia when I started waiting tables at a place called Mango Jam. I was a bit nervous to be doing a job I hadn’t in years, but my friendly co-workers made me welcome and at ease. I liked everyone that worked there, but one chef named Ric in particular stood out a bit more.
That first night we all went to Iron Bar for karaoke. Ric and I spoke a bit, but he seemed a bit shy or uninterested, so I left it at that. I asked another girl there about him and she just said,” He’s parsley!” which was a code word for hot one of her friends came up with when she first saw him.
If he was uninterested when we first spoke, then he would want nothing to do with me by the end of the night as I sang “Jessie’s girl.” I’m probably the worst karaoke singer, but I just love it too much to resist.
We stayed friendly with short conversation as I came in and out of the kitchen to pick up food, but that was it. Then one day he came into work on his day off, slightly pissed, and came out of his shell to me by means of licking my face and picking my nose.
I was in love.
He wasn’t uninterested, just shy. Since I was leaving about ten days after that I figured what the hell and went for him. We started a little work romance that we both knew was just a fling since I was going and he was staying. I felt more, but knew it didn’t matter. I was content with bouncing around the town with him and sneaking into his tent.
And I thought he was too.
Then came my last night. He stopped at my hostel to say hang out for a bit and say goodbye. In the middle of it, he got a call from a friend.
“Nah, I can’t make it. I’m doing something,” he said. “I know. I know. I’ll catch the end of it.”
When he hung up I said if he needed to go I would understand.
“Nah, it just the first Liverpool game of the season,” he said. “My mates were wondering where I was.”
That’s when I knew it was true love.
Living in England for six months, I know how important footie is to them. Knowing Ric for just two months, I knew how important Liverpool was to him.
I left Port Douglas for a month and we kept in touch. I came back and a week later we moved in together. He left before me and we met in Melbourne. We celebrated the holidays together. He met my dad. We were both upset to say goodbye when I had to leave Australia in January for the Philippines.
He stayed in Australia and saved up with plans of making it out in two months.
I couldn’t even get through a day without him.
We made it five weeks, then he made the ridiculous journey to meet me in Malapascua.
He was the last thing I expected in the travels and the best thing I found. While we’ve been living together for about four months, technically we still have not traveled together until now.
Our travels together officially started when we left Malapacua in route to Hong Kong. Since this site is about my travels, it only seems logical for him to join it. So as of now, Heels and Wheels is no longer about solo travel, but about traveling as couple.
Ric and I both know traveling together will not always be easy. All couples fight and travel can add extra stress. So to prepare for this big change in my travels I went to traveling couples Amy and Kieron of Don’t Ever Look Back, Laura and Roberto of Travel for Love and Mike and Luci of 1000 Fights for tips and advice. Read what they had to say here.
Welcome Ric to Heels and Wheels and the wonderful world of travel blogging. Be kind to him-he’s still writing with the outdated form of English.