Meet Ben. He is the love of my life, and makes frequent appearances on my site.
Ben and I met 10 years ago, stayed friends for 8 of those years, and dated internationally for one; with him in Australia and me in America. We are finally put the distance to rest in March 2014 when we moved in together in Newcastle, Australia.
But the real question here is: How the heck did you two meet?
That’s actually something we are asked a lot, and is so fun to talk about. I’ll try to keep it short.
My dad and I had the opportunity to take a trip to the South Pacific; we spent three weeks traveling Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Each country was more beautiful than the last.
Our final stop of the trip was one relaxing week in Fiji. We stayed at the gorgeous Warwick Resort for four days, unknown to us, it was the same hotel a group of Australian rugby players were staying. One of those players happened to be Ben.
According to the story Ben tells, he saw “the girl of his dreams struggling to open a door, so he had to go help her.”
I honestly, didn’t believe that until I went to his parents’ house for the first time and couldn’t get out of the bedroom in the morning, and then accidently locked myself in the bathroom. Yep, struggling to open in a door in Fiji sounds believable now.
Getting back to the story…
Later that night I had an accidental run-in again with Ben while I was looking for a friend. Ben assured me that my friend would be back soon, and I could hang out with him until then.
The friend never showed and instead I spent the next 10 hours talking to Ben. I had never had a connection with someone like that in my life. We finally parted ways around 4:00am so we could get some sleep.
I woke up early the next morning as it was Ben’s last day in Fiji, and I couldn’t imagine returning to the USA without knowing how to contact him. So I walked down to his room knocked on the door and asked for his information. What I left with was his name, a phone number, and this photo.
The only picture Ben and I took when we met in Fiji in July of 2005.
So that’s how we met… but if you want to know what happened after Fiji, keep reading.
I got back to America and did not know what I was going to do with a name and a phone number, we are talking pre-social media, even email addresses weren’t very common. I kept that little piece of paper in a special place for over a month, until I finally got up the courage to find a calling card and contact Ben.
Lucky for me he remembered who I was! I was a little worried he wouldn’t, after all I thought we had a connection but he might not have felt the same way. We kept in touch through phone calls and email (he created one just for me) and we talked for about three months until we completely lost contact. The calls and emails stopped and Ben became a memory.
Five years after my trip I did a search on Facebook for Ben, and found him! I sent him a friend request which was rejected, twice! I started thinking that maybe there was a reason we had lost touch. I tried one last time. The third time was a charm, not only was my request accepted, but I was greeted with an overwhelming, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you found me! How are you? It is so good to hear from you!” To this day Ben doesn’t recall rejecting those two requests; he swears it didn’t happen.
Over the next three years we kept in touch through Facebook messages every few months just checking in and sending thoughtful messages on birthdays.
I was living in Philadelphia at the time of Hurricane Sandy which devastated the New Jersey coast. Because of the storm, all of Philly was shut down. With a couple days stuck in the house, Ben and I started talking through Facebook messages and then downloaded apps to text. From that point on, we never stopped.
Ben decided to take the biggest leap of faith and travel to Orlando, Florida to visit me. We spent two weeks together exploring Tampa and Orlando, as well as meeting friends and family. We had fallen in love from a distance and were finally able to be together to see if it was real.
Visiting the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in May 2013.
By the end of the trip he went back to Australia and I began planning a December trip to visit him Down Under.
Two months passed when I realized I was a crazy person. Being separated for seven months would absolutely put a strain on our relationship and it wasn’t something I was prepared to let happen. I got the time off from work and booked a 10-day trip for late August.
Ben showed me around Sydney and the Blue Mountains, took me to the café I remember going to in the small vacation town of Leura, and showed me the Three Sisters Mountains that I hadn’t been able to see due to rain and fog when I was visiting 8 years prior. He took me to the farm his parents own and I got to meet his family and close friends.
After taking that trip I couldn’t imagine being away from him any longer, and the decision to move to Australia was made, a scary one nonetheless, but if you can read more about that here.
The Three Sisters, a part of The Blue Mountains in New South Wales, August, 2013.
That leads me to where we are today – we’ve lived in Newcastle for a year and a half together, have our own place right in the heart of the city, and have now traveled the world – together!