Three years ago yesterday, on a pretty average day at the end of January I woke up on Great Keppel Island, a tropical island off the coast of Queensland where I had been living for three months. When I woke I assumed that I would have two more days to get ready, to prepare myself to leave after a cyclone had made ground on the island, leaving behind a path of destruction. Having breakfast in the communal kitchen my boss (at the time) rushed in:
“Thank God I found you, the ferry is only heading back today and then it’s grounded for a week. You have to leave today!”
Let me just say that I do not move quickly. But, with just 40 minutes until the ferry was due to leave I packed up my belongings and high-tailed it out of there. I was not waiting in the land of no electricity and cold saltwater showers a second longer!
When we finally made it to the mainland, after a very rough ferry journey, I ended up at a local backpackers hostel. It was in the middle of nowhere really, a tiny village of Emu Park just outside of Rockhampton, where I was due to fly out in the morning.
That’s where I met Dean.
We met, we laughed, we joked, we played pool, we talked all night long, we foolishly swam in the ocean and we woke up to watch the stars fall and the sun rise. It was like I’d always known him.
Three years down the line it’s hard to imagine what our lives would have been like if that cyclone hadn’t ruined our best laid plans. I would have arrived in Rockhampton a day later, skipping over Emu Park altogether. Dean would have continued on the bus from Cairns to Brisbane, not even knowing that he passed a little coastal town in the middle of the night. But three years down the line we’re still together, still going strong, and still grateful everyday for that little bit of fate, and meteorological mayhem, that brought us together.
It’s been one hell of a ride too, taking us to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Australia. We’ve lived on opposites sides of the globe, walked hundreds of miles, driven thousands of kilometres, parented an energetic dog, tackled an international visa process and emerged triumphant, if not a little beaten up, on the other side.
Three years down the line I’ve never been happier, more satisfied or more in love than I am now, and I’m not afraid to say it. Thanks for being there for me baby, through it all. Here’s to all the years that are coming next.
This post originally appeared on BarefootBeachBlonde.com, the pre-evolved version of Maps And Mandalas. I’ve republished it here with its original date because I love it that much.