Back in June 2009, I decided to go travelling the world. I was a bit of a late starter in this sense as I was nearly 40, but I thought “what the hell you only live once”. I gave up my job as an architectural photographer, booked my plane ticket to visit 25 countries in one year and headed off on my big adventure.
I organised that the halfway mark of my journey should be Brisbane as my best friend lived here and I planned a lengthy visit to recharge my batteries to continue with the second half of my trip. While I was staying with my friend, I was invited to attend the 60th birthday party of a relative at the Breakfast Creek Hotel at Newstead. Before I proceed with my story, I wish to point out that I was backpacking around the world and therefore did not have a lots of clothes, and some of the smarter options I had packed had unfortunately been lost while travelling through Asia. So as it turns out, on the night in question I was forced to borrow a t-shirt from my friend which had “Natural Born Hustler” emblazoned across the front. I’d like to stress that this is not my usual choice of attire but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures! Little did I know I would meet the love of my life that night – thank goodness Diane never took that shirt too seriously or the fact I was only wearing one sock at the time – that is a whole other story! From the very first meeting we got on famously, helped by the fact that we were both of similar age, shared the same outlook and views on most things and both shared a somewhat warped sense of humor. So, that was the end of my round the world adventure as I remained in Brisbane until Christmas 2009.
By this time we both could not picture a future without the other in it and were dreading the fact that we would have to separated while I went back to England to apply for a Visa to come back and live in Australia. Before I left, I told Diane how much I loved her and that I wanted to marry her and she responded that she felt the same way. I knew going back to the UK would be tough, especially as we didn’t know how long the Visa application process would take and therefore how long we might be apart, however we both realised that this time apart would be a great test to the strength of our relationship. Our partnership continued to bloom across the distance and Diane proceeded to book a two month holiday to visit me and meet my family and arrived in the UK in May 2010. We had been consistently working on my Visa application since I had left Australia and were happy to finally lodge this a week after Diane arrived. During Diane’s visit, we headed to Paris for a romantic break and I officially proposed to Diane and to my great joy, she accepted my proposal. During Diane’s visit I did however make the mistake of researching online blogs in trying to determine the average processing time for a Visa as most posts stated that this may take around year. At the time we were both devastated that we would have to spend so much time apart with only Skype to keep in touch and parting at Heathrow Airport at the end of the two months was agony. However, to my great surprise and joy, at the end of September, just four months after we lodged my application, I received a letter from immigration saying my Visa was approved and I was free to travel to Australia any time after the 13th of October 2010. Of course I couldn’t wait a day more than I had to and I arrived to live in Australia on the 14th of October.
While all of this waiting had been taking place, we were busy planning the details of our wedding and once my Visa was approved and I had a firm date of travel, we went into full production mode booking this. We decided early on that neither of us wanted a big wedding, so we decided to not tell anyone and that we would instead elope with our two best friends to Magnetic Island located off the coast of Townsville. On the 6th of November 2010, we had the perfect beach wedding at sunset with lots of champagne to follow!! I can honestly say that this was the best day of my life and I’ve never looked back…