There are few seemingly random choices in life that change the course of one’s future quite dramatically. I made one of those choices at the beginning of this year at a cool backpacker’s hostel in La Paz, Bolivia, while playing a cards game with a fellow travelers. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a warm smiling face at the far end of the table. I could easily ignore it but instead I made my choice to extend an invitation to join us.
A Few months ago I got down on one knee at a small French Restaurant in Montreal and asked my beautiful Kyle, who was wearing that warm grinning smile to marry me.
Getting engaged was not on my to-do list when I left for my round the world trip (well, at least not consciously) but I do remember promising myself I would remain open to whatever the universe sends my way. I guess this is the beauty of a long trip. You always know how it starts but never how it will end.
After our meeting in Bolivia, Kyle and I kept in touch. She traveled east to help Bolivian children and I went west to lend a hand in the aftermath of recent mudslides in Peru. We made no plans but I knew I wanted to see her again so when she decided to leave Bolivia, I embracedthe opportunity with both hands and invited Kyle to join me, first helping in Peru and then trekking together to Machu Picchu. We’ve been together ever since.
The place and manner of our meeting meant that we didn’t go through the traditional dating process where couples see each other for several hours each week. We spent the entire day and night in each other’s company, traveling and living together. After our Peruvian mountains adventure, Kyle and I headed north to the peaceful surfing beach of Mancora. We found a quite little place on the beach, with the Pacific Ocean at our doorstep. sliding of the big glass doors, and then nothing but golden sand and blue Ocean as far as the eye can see. We surfed, played and shared dreams, a time that felt more like a honeymoon than a budding relationship.
The universe had conspired for us to meet again in the US. Long before I met Kyle, I registered with a volunteering program in the beautiful Berkshires, which miraculously turned to be a short drive from Kyle’s place in Rhode Island. Those magical weekends together, then moving in with her in Providence, allowed us to draw closer and closer to each other, so that when the time came for me to leave to Canada, I already knew I want to spend the rest of my life with this special woman.
I remember calling my mom the night before our trip to Montreal, supposedly our last weekend together, before taking off on my own again, asking mom about marriage proposals and engagement rings. I didn’t know much about this stuff and I have to admit I still do’nt (or, if I may be so bold, choose not to) so I decided to just go where the moment may take me.
It was a beautiful warm night in Montreal and Kyle was murmuring in French, as we walked hand in hand through the city. It was a perfect setup and the French just set a romantic tone for the night. We both had no idea where we were walking, nor did we feel the need to know. The night flowed naturally, one moment followed the other. We stopped at a little restaurant for dinner and I went to buy us wine. I borrowed a pen from the cashier and wrote on both sides of a little napkin, “will you marry me honeychuk?”. An hour later our waiter arrived with a chocolate desert and my small napkin in his hands. He laid them both on the table – and the rest is history.
Live your dreams!