I Moved 17,000 Miles to Be With A Man I Had Known For Four Days....

riverflows @riverflowsNovember 2018 ยท 8 min read ยท #ecotrain

"I love you, I love you, I love you"

"Maybe we should get married and move to country England?"

These probably sound like the sentiments of people who've known each other for a while, right? Figured out a little bit about each other. Got to know each other pretty well and worked out that hanging out together in a marriage might be a good option.



As crazy as it may sound, we'd only spent four days when we made these declarations to each other.

A series of events had pulled us together - strange events that I could track back in time about 6 years when I'd met an English guy travelling round Australia and reconnected to him - it was this friend's girlfriend who'd invited me down to Somerset when I'd ended up in London for the second time. She'd organised tickets to see a band at Glastonbury, and we were having drinks at her girlfriend's place. Turns out this girlfriend was J's sister. In a million years, Claire says, I would never had thought you and him would be married. Not in a million years.

The 'I love yous' were whispered on a cold morning at Claire's by the sea in Dorset, after hangover drinks and a day on the coast with about ten of us having a solstice dinner. We'd snuggled up under the covers on this new morning, the second night after this after our chance meeting (please don't moralise). We looked at each other and it was okay. Crazy, but okay. The 'I love yous' were rattling around in our heads so loudly they were going to make each other explode if we didn't say them.

The hesistant yet daring 'maybe we should...' came on the third day, which was a fortnight later. I'd gone up to Scotland, promised I'd be back, but somehow he'd given me the wrong number, and all he had to go on was the fact I'd mentioned I'd be in Brighton on New Year's Day on the 5 pm train come hell or high water. Turns out high water was what we got - floods in the north made the train four hours late and I didn't even know he'd be there. Nor did he - without a car, he had to convince friends to pub crawl until my train came in. He'd checked everyone from 5 pm and mine was the last he was gonna wait for. It was silly - we both dropped our bags and flew into each other's arms like some black and white war movie. Against the odds, we'd found each other.

On January 2nd, drinking whiskey macs in a Surrey pub after walking his dog, we made plans for our future together. I still remember the light catching the shards of ice as we skimmed them across the cold fields and Rosie skidding happily to catch them. They say the clearest memories are the ones you are emotionally impacted by, and my heart was about fit to burst as I held my lover's warm hand and the close pale sky spoke of soft dreams and love. To this day we're not sure who proposed the marriage idea - it was out of sync for both of us, given I had vowed never to get married and both of us had many affairs that either ended badly or were merely bright sparks in haloed days where connections to others via flesh and hearts were just par for the course.

Yet here we were.

I guess impulsiveness is okay when we look back on the years and think that had you not made that giant leap, we would not have ended up where we are, happily in love after seventeen years of togetherness. How many lives have been made in snap decisions? In taking a chance? When your heart says leap, you either do it or you rationalise it for far too long and regret the missed opportunity. Both of our hearts leapt.

In this photo, J. is grinning because he'd made a promise he'd make it snow for me before I went back to Australia. I woke up in the truck in the morning to him shaking me. I told you I'd make it snow, he said.

Yet in that moment, in that part of the world, my home was thousands of kilometres and a whole lotta ocean away from this man I'd fallen in love with from the first moment he walked into the room. I also had a 4 year old kid who was with his father in London for the weekend. The fact I had a child didn't seem to bother him at all - he was far too besotted with me, so any child of mine was bound to be amazing too. Walking back from that cozy pub, he picked me up a piece of dark stone, flint like, and full of tiny white flecks like stars. Here, he said. I give you the universe. And I was gone.

He left me at the train station in Brighton and hugged me and said he'd see me in 6 months. I had some miles to go before we could enact this plan, but it seemed do-able - I mean, distance means nothing when you have a universe in your pocket. I travelled with my little boy across Asia, drank beer listening to roots reggae on my discman and dreamt of my lovers arms around me. We are in the same infinite space, he said, and I felt this intently.

Back in Australia, I told everyone my plans as I saved another plane ticket and sold what little I had to get back to the man I thought was the love of my life. Most people thought I was crazy, irresponsible. How could I take my boy to the other side of the world, away from his family and everyone he knew? My beautiful parents were supportive. We just want you to be happy, they said, and he seems like a good man and you seem pretty passionate about him. When I left that town in which I grew up, I lost contact with most people that just couldn't fathom the journey I was on and where my life would take me. It seems odd in retrospect.

But damn, the sparks. You can't ignore sparks.

This photo to me is the marker between the me I used to be and the me I became, half way between two worlds, dreaming of a man I hardly knew.

It took me four months to get back to England - months of texts and quite a few freak outs and an 800 dollar phone bill. I had 3000 Australian dollars in my pocket, two suitcases and my little one when I arrived, and J. had a truck (in which he lived) and 90 pounds. None of these details were important in the face of us wanting to be together. I remember sitting in his truck reading the Friday Ads looking for a car on the first day of our reunion and feeling incredibly nervous. We didn't leave the truck in the end for a week (luckily my boy was at his Dad's in London - a blessing the way things turned out when I look at it now).

Within six months, we were standing on the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol freaking out. We'd gone looking for an engagement ring and had found one in an antique shop. We were doing this thing and were suddenly terrifed. I was looking at him wondering whether I loved him at all - what the hell was I doing, marrying a man I'd only known for six months? Was this real? A bottle of wine and some Spanish tapas and a lot of conversation about the fact we could walk away at any moment made things okay, and there it was - the ring on my finger, the prospect of married life. The girl who swore she'd never tie herself to any man was suddenly bound.

Six months after than, we were married.

We've been together 16 years.

We still look at each other in wonder and think: how did we know? How on earth did we know?

What is the most impulsive thing you've done?

Did it turn out for the best?

This reflection is in response to the @ecotrain question of the week, which is less of a question and more of a 'finish this sentence'. @eco-alex's sentence began....


Read the post guidelines here, and have some fun! It's certainly an open 'question' and you're free to take it in any direction you want. I'd love to read your stories too, so feel free to tag me, otherwise, use the tage #ecotrain and I'll try to hunt them down.




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eco-alex @eco-alexNovember 2018

wow what a story.. so beautiful and well written.. i have been to several of your special places.. i used to live in Brighton, and i also visited clifton bridge Many years ago. So i could picture much of your story..

if the feeling is right, go for it! im pretty sure i had moved in and married my first wife before we even dated! <3

Ah its amazing how love can just grab you and spin you round!!!\n\nWe were up at Storrington on a travellers site on that Jan 1. Gosh it was lovely. Got picked up from Brighton station by the most rag clad bunch of travellers you have ever seen. It was hilarious.. all crammed into a crappy escort being total social reprobates lol and me fresh from Australia. Crazy time. I truly was so far from home...!! I.didnt mention any of that crazy anarchic stuff to my parents that's for sure.\n\nGosh I am thinking of all those places now and feeling homesick.

Sally @namastethisNovember 2018

I LOVE your story @riverflows... love is love... is love! When you know, you know... with every fibre of your being. Five years ago, after having left my 15 year marriage and then had a disastrous relationship... I'd sworn that was it and I was going to be forever single and live happily on a mountain with a dog.... but 6 months later in walks a friend I'd known for over 30 years and he suddenly turns into the love of my life. We are now living in the Spanish mountains with our dog... it's amazing the journey that love takes us on! Thank you for sharing :) xx

Aw thats lovely! It can come when you least expect it and be the most PERFECT thing ever. Your life spunds just divine... ain't it grand to.share it with someone you love? ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

I met my husband in 1974 thro mutual friends. We dated a couple times and ended up moving in together on Labor Day weekend. That was 44 years ago. We never married until 1983, another story of impulse....

That's so gorgeous. You guys were.definitely a soul match. I can just picture you in your floral shirt and jeans!!

The blouse I made photo, right? Sure wish I looked something like that these days....Sigh...

Hash-tag @hash-tagNovember 2018

Love stories are always my favourite and when it involves our commitment to stay together forever, it becomes beautiful.
Such a lovely story you have lived๐Ÿ˜

Lots of love

Aw thats so sweet!! I held off on the live story as I didn't want to make people gag haha... but the sentence HAD to be finished with this story!

Fascinating story river. I am glad you finally met the love of your life and now you are together for strong 16 years. It all sounded crazy but a happy ending is a happy ending. :'))

Indeed!! Nice to see you HH. Are you back from Dubai?

Yes, River. I am back in business. :-D

Love this and I got little shivers and smiles throughout. A testament to your love and ๐Ÿ”ฎknowing๐Ÿ”ฎ like you said, the sparks were there. Iโ€™m so glad you and J found each other. 16 years later... did you ever imagine the life you live now? ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

You know we sat in his truck on Jan 2 after quite a night, and we were looking thru his photos of where he had done a stint in Sierra Leone on a friend's farm/charity project, and he showed me this book he had about self sufficiency and wildcrafting (his truck was small of course so we ran out of things to look at) and we both started talking about how we both had always had a dream to own land and have vegies and chooks etc since we were teenagers. So the 'let's get married and move to country England' came.that afternoon, out of that passion..so that said maybe not so suprised.. we were on a love mission!! Gosh I fell so hard and fast!

AWww river! What a perfectly charming and romantic story! I am a firm believer in following ones dreams so smiled reading this - bless you and yours and all thatโ€™s yet to come ๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ๐Ÿ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿฆ‹๐ŸŒด

Aw thanks!! It really was a passionate leap but it turned out perfectly. ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

Oh wow River! Happy for you both, so how did you know?

Sparks!!!! And we just DID!! I know it sounds crazy...

No its not crazy at all. I just want to know howโ˜บ

oh ...my heart is filled reading this. I really adore your love story. That deep connection, the spark, fire and the knowing, it is such good stuff. It is so beautiful that your parents were supportive as well. xx

Oh they are such open minded folk who never sought to impose themselves on me. Consequently, after over 5 years in the UK, we moved back here just coz I wanted my son to see them more. They are such great people. \n\nIt's making me rather nostalgic thinking of this! A special time.

Oh I love how you and Jaime met, and how your love for one another just blasted the two of you. You really met your soul-mate, such a beautiful story, it must have been really nice to remember those times together! Much love lovely and thank you for sharing this, you had me smiling the whole way through, especially when against all the odds you met on new years day xxxx I really could picture the two of you embracingxxx

Oh gosh it was so crazy. I had no idea whether he would be there or not and the last time I had spoken to him was Christmas day when he had called me. I was so hungover as well because of course I had had the Scottish New Years Eve. And I had to change Kings Cross and make a decision of whether to keep going to Brighton or to just go back to Richmond. And he was trying to herd a whole heap of traveller Folk from pub to pub haha just so he could have the car to pick me up. When I got off the train I actually couldn't see him and thought oh well I will find a phone box and ring or someone I know in Brighton to see if I can stay there. And there he was all of a sudden. My heart just lept out of my chest.

oh stop it, it doesn't get more romantic than that! xxxx

Hahaha I have got a lot of romance from that week to be honest and the months to follow but I don't want to make everybody sick. He totally swept me off my feet.

Hahaha I have got a lot of romance from that week to be honest and the months to follow but I don't want to make everybody sick. He totally swept me off my feet.