“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.” - EAT PRAY LOVE
I did travel around the world but I wasn’t looking for it.
This is my story…
A friend’s wedding in Italy in 2013 brought me back to Europe after a long hiatus. The last time I was in the continent was when I was on a scholarship in the south of France. As a tribute to the return, I coined my month-long Italian rendezvous as the Eat, Pray, Love trip. I wanted to EAT my way through every city, I was determined to LOVE every minute of traveling alone and with friends, and PRAY…I have yet to discover what this meant during my trip.
While planning my itinerary, a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in years was living in Nîmes, France. I had no plans of going to France, but we wanted to meet up, so we struck a compromise to meet each other geographically halfway. We ended up in Barcelona. My friend, taking the opportunity of being in the area, wanted to reconnect with a friend with whom she went to university with in Madrid. He met us in the enchanting Gothic Quarter and ended up spending several days touring us around the city. He was fun to be around with, but there were no sparks, no magic, and no “he’s the one” lightbulb that went off. I was just thrilled to meet someone new who shared a passion for food, travel, and culture.
Who knew this introduction was the beginning of an evolving love story.
As I was looking out from my train seat somewhere in northern Italy, I had a eureka moment. I knew what my PRAY meant on this trip, I jokingly told myself, it’s meeting Jesus! Not the Biblical Jesus. Everyone seems to be named Jesus in Spain.
I wanted to EAT my way through every city, I was determined to LOVE every minute of traveling alone and with friends, and PRAY…I have yet to discover what this meant during my trip.
Since that fateful day, there was not one day did we not speak to each other. We got to know each other through our daily long phone conversations and became good friends.
Living in separate countries, our phone conversations evolved into air miles. We both decided that we will find time to be together. We did, and it resulted in a lot of traveling for the next 5 years. We built incredible memorial stones. From food poisoning in Morocco; island-hopping in Greece; snorkeling, and diving in Palawan--every time eating our way through every city.
All the travel and time apart wasn’t easy and took its toll. We had to fight for it, strive for it, and insist upon it. Until we decided, we didn’t want to be apart any longer. So in 2018 we became husband and wife and started our life together in the south of Spain, along with our black labrador whom I fondly call my “unico hijo.”
This story is about two people who were chasing their own happiness. Two different lives, cultures, backgrounds, and personal experiences brought together through a serendipitous moment, which I suppose is how destiny first reveals itself. We’re each other’s best friends and as he would say, “forever rocking chair partners.” Six years later, we continue to eat, pray, and most certainly, love.
As I was looking out from my train seat somewhere in northern Italy, I had a eureka moment. I knew what my PRAY meant on this trip, I jokingly told myself, it’s meeting Jesus!