Eight years ago today, in August 2005, Zab and I first met.
Well, it may have been eight years ago tomorrow, because neither of us remember if it was after midnight or not. It was in a club, OK? Judge us if you must.
So while we celebrate eight years being a couple, I thought we’d take a look back at our travel histroy up until we left for Buenos Aires on a one-way ticket almost seven months ago.
Having known each other for about four weeks, Zab invited me to go with him, his mother and youngest sister to Harrogate for an exhibition for their family business. From there, we drove up the coast of Cumberland to Scotland to visit another sister who was studying in Edinburgh. The main thing I remember doing is going out to a karaoke bar, but apparently we also went to Edinburgh Castle.
Just starting my second year of university, I bunked off a few classes to fly to Sweden with Zab for his birthday to visit his best friend in Uppsala. We spent Zab’s actual birthday in Stockholm, dancing the night away and slept in a hostel on a boat.
For Christmas, Zab accompanied me and my family to visit my grandparents in Wiltshire. Then for New Year, we flew to Munich, where Zab lived before we met, and stayed with another of his best friends.
For my 20th birthday, Zab organised a private party in the VIP room of the club in London where we met and invited all my friends. We stayed up all night, then had breakfast before going directly to the airport to catch a flight to a surprise destination. It turned out to be Prague!
For complicated reasons, Zab was unable to drive, and I, having just passed my driving test a few months earlier, offered to step up to the challenge of driving us around Ireland to visit customers for his family business. It was mostly work, but we had a few days off at the end in Dublin after about 10 days on the road.
We took a trip together to Gothenburg, west Sweden for a few days, then went out to the countryside in Småland to visit Zab’s best friend in his family home.
We travelled by Eurostar to Brussels for a long weekend and enjoyed the sights, food (mostly waffles, if memory serves) and culture.
For my brother’s birthday, he, my mother, Zab and I went to Center Parcs in Suffolk, England for a long weekend.
We took a week off and went by Eurostar to Paris, then an overnight train to Madrid to visit Zab’s sister who was studying there.
We started by flying to Oslo, Norway, staying in a hostel and enjoying the sights (while being gobsmacked at how expensive everything was!), then took a train down to Gothenburg, Sweden where a friend of mine flew in from London and we stayed with Zab’s best friend for a few days. We then hired a car and stayed out in a cottage in the middle of nowhere in Halland for a few days before taking the train down to Copenhagen, Denmark and staying with another friend of Zab’s before flying back to London.
For my first holiday since finishing university and getting a job, we travelled on Interrail passes to Berlin (via Eurostar to Paris), stayed with friends of mine and ate lots of vegan food, then went south to Munich and met up with friends of Zab’s, before going back west to Strasbourg and then Paris again before returning home.
Zab and I took the train over to southern Wales to stay with my aunt and her family for a few days before taking another train north to Liverpool and enjoying the city (and the beaches!) as it presented itself as European Capital of Culture that year.
For their 60th wedding anniversary, my grandparents invited our family to celebrate together at Center Parcs in Wiltshire, England. Zab came too.
We travelled by train (in one day!) from London on the Eurostar to Lille then by TGV to Marseille and stayed in a hostel for a few days before going round the coast to Carcasonne and meeting my mother to visit her holiday home in the area over Zab’s birthday. The three of us cycled along the Canal du Midi, and I almost fell in.
Zab accompanied my family in spending Christmas at my aunt’s place in southern Wales.
January – March 2009
I quit my first job and had an amazing time travelling alone in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, the Philippines and Russia. (It was in China I got the idea that I could teach English as a foreign language.)
Zab flew to Kiev, Ukraine to meet me (coming in by overnight train from Moscow), and then we spent just over two weeks Interrailing our way across Europe, passing through L’viv, Budapest, Siófok, Ljubljana, Bled, Munich, Paris and Lille (where we stayed with family friends of mine) before returning to London together.
I got my first teaching job in Austria and Zab came to meet me on a week off, during which we celebrated my birthday by travelling in Bratislava and Vienna together.
At the end of my first contract in Austria, Zab met me in Vienna and we travelled to Český Krumlov and Prague together.
We flew to Athens together and couchsurfed (which was Zab’s first time) for a few days before going to the island of Paros in the Cyclades for his birthday.
Zab flew in to Katowice, Poland and I took the train in from Vienna after finishing another contract in Austria. We spent a night there before going to Kraków for the rest of the week. Unfortunately, we had chosen the coldest week of the year to visit southern Poland and we both got ill!
From London, we flew to Valladolid, Spain and couchsurfed together, then visited Ávila and Salamanca. Zab then flew back to London and I continued travelling (and couchsurfing) on my own in León, Gijón, Picos de Europa National Park and Santander.
We flew to Stockholm together from London to attend Zab’s best friend’s wedding.
Zab and I met in Palma de Mallorca airport (me having flown in from working in Austria, and he from London), rented a car and toured the island for 5 days over his birthday.
For my birthday, Zab flew to Prague, then took a bus down to meet me in Český Krumlov, our favourite place in Czech Republic, where I’d travelled to from just across the boarder in Austria.
While I was working in Mérida, Spain, Zab flew in to Madrid then bused it to Mérida to stay with me for a long weekend.
I went with Zab, his mother and one of his sisters to visit a small part of their extensive family in the Netherlands for a few days, at the beginning of the year.
Then, on 16th January, Zab and I boarded our Alitalia flight from London via Rome to Buenos Aires, and thus began our indefinite adventure! This blog chronicles the rest.
To read even more than you could possible want to know about our daily lives of travel since then, check out our travel diaries.