When it’s meant to be it’s meant to be, what this story proofs. Thank you so much, Jul’ from Les Petits Pas De Juls, for sharing your beautiful story. Your not only a great photographer but also a great writer and I am so glad you obviously found your missing half. If you all would like to read more amazing love stories, head over to ‘Your Stories’ and check out what other bloggers had to say. And if you have a wonderful story too I would feel honored if you would share it with me for my feature ‘Couples’.
By the end of 2009, I booked a plane ticket, sold the little I had, worked a lot and flew away for a 10-month-trip around the world. I needed the time off so I could find myself again. I would travel using the Couchsurfing page – a website allowing hosts and travelers to meet, travelers being welcome inside the host’s home for free, in order to share a moment of hospitality and friendship over good times and local discoveries. I had already made very good friends over the past year, while hosting at home and wanted more! (After getting a divorce earlier that year, I needed to keep faith in people’s goodness and beauty).
First stop: Mexico. I wanted to discover the “Mysterious Golden Cities,” memory of a manga of my youth. Going from one city to the next after finding new hosts over the Couchsufring website, I slowly made my way south to Merida, capital of the Yucatan Peninsula. There, I was to meet with Raul, my next host. He didn’t speak French, only a little English and obviously perfect Spanish. Mine was rusted but, that was also why I had decided to spend 5 months in Latin America, to practice. When he arrived on the Main Plaza that morning to take me to his place and show me around a little before he headed back to work, I immediately found him very handsome, with his kind of dark, typical Mexican looks. Yep, that was my first thought, although, really, I was far from being in the mood for romantic encounters; but, sometimes, the heart speaks before the mind. (I later learned that he had the same thought when he saw me 😉 except for the Mexican looks, obviously!).
After only a few days in Merida, I quickly realized how very thoughtful, friendly and easy-going Raul was; he took me salsa dancing, showed me where to eat the best tacos and his favorite spot on the nearby beach. He was a perfect gentleman, very generous, genuinely interested in other people’s cultures, and he made sure I could enjoy everything around town; with friends, we went to the famous Mayan ruins, shared diners and went swimming in the cenotes – natural caves of fresh water. Slowly but surely, we had grown very fond of each other and fallen for each other. How could I not succumb to so much charm?!? By the end of the day in the cenotes, we had had our first kiss, hidden in the dark.
The only problem was, I couldn’t stop traveling after only 10 days on the road, could I?!? Not for a man! At least now, I knew there was one good man in my life; one great man who, in the span of only those few days, had restored my faith in love and the possibility of it.
I needed to keep on traveling, though. Very gallantly, he said: “I let you go, because that’s what you need to do. Maybe you’ll come back, and if you do, I won’t let you go again.” We stayed friends and kept contact, wrote to each other from time to time.
It took me 1 and ½ years to come back. I had to finish what I had started and felt so much better after that first trip, that I kept on going! When I came back to Merida, I was on my way to my friend’s wedding in northern Mexico; I was seeing someone by then and Raul was seeing someone too. But, when we found ourselves in each other’s company again, we felt like something clicked into place and it was hard not to be together. We split up from our respective engagements and I unpacked my backpack in his home. Because it just felt right. Because it fit.
I’ve come and gone for different trips afterward, but I now call Mexico my home, because that’s where my heart is, with Raul. We’ve been together for a little bit over 3 and ½ years now; it sometimes feels like it’s been forever and other times like it started only yesterday. It leaves us in awe and more certain every time, that we made the right decision. We got married last December in southern France, with just a couple of friends and family members; and we had an exciting honeymoon-like trip all year long, last year in South America.
Even when we’re apart for work commitments – as we are now –, even when we don’t understand each other – culture shock oblige –, even when the path is unclear, we we know it’s forever. Because it feels right. Because it fits.