The girl who travels spent her teenage years plotting her escape; knowing that the simple life of 9-5 would leave her unfulfilled. Geography lessons excited her; she dreamt that one day she might climb that volcano, see the Great Barrier Reef for herself or step foot on the recently created lava islands that form the Galapagos. She used her mathematical skills to calculate how long it would take her to travel to the places she longed to see and she took GCSE's in French, Italian AND Spanish to help best prepare for her wanderlust-inspired endeavors.
She was learning.
Dreaming of warmer climates, and under pressure to demonstrate career aspirations in college and university, she explored her opportunities: Travel writer? Holiday rep? Cabin Crew? Entrepreneur? Maybe it was just a pipe dream, or perhaps she dipped her ink in all four. But that wasn't enough. From the extended girls' holiday in Malia, 21st birthday celebrations in Vegas and celebrating New Year in Kerala, to doing volunteer work in the Vishas of Buenos Aires, she always searched for more. More culture. More adventure. More excitement. Her experiences helped form her, and she moved further and further away from the child that she was, and closer and closer towards the woman that she is destined to become.
She was on a journey.
The pages of her passport were gradually filled. She is eternally proud of every stamp; from the illegitimate entry to Egypt, to the Russian visa that took months to obtain, each one represents a unique and special journey. She has learnt from her travels; on an intellectual level, on a cultural level and on a spiritual or emotional level. She may not entirely understand the reason behind the Indian head wobble or the Greek's obsession with Ouzo, but she gets it. People come and go, some she stays in touch with, others she doesn't. You're not the first man she's ever met, nor will you be the last. But if she has chosen you, know that you are special.
She loves you.
The girl who travels always has itchy feet. From a weekend break in Pompeii, to a week in Jordan, or a month backpacking across China, she is always planning the next adventure. She has trouble finding the correct coins in her purse because there are so many different currencies in there and she sacrifices her evenings to Trip Advisor, Google Maps and her Lonely Planet guides. But don't begrudge her, because she is now planning adventures for the two of you. She wants to travel, but she wants you to be there with her, exploiting every moment together, as if it were your last. However, don't leave her hanging- after all, as you can see she is a planner, and she likes to know that before long, she will be going somewhere!
She's ecstatic, but not about the big white dress or the engagement party; within hours of getting engaged she's already planning the ultimate honeymoon. If there's one time in your life to plan a special holiday, this is it. She dreams of sari shopping in Sri Lanka, donning her flower garland in Hawaii or gorilla trekking in Uganda. The girl who travels isn't your typical fiancé- unlike most bride-to-be's, she isn't excited by 'Don't tell the Bride' or 'Say yes to the Dress', she's excited by the prospect of sharing the rest of her life, and her adventures, with you.
The girl who travels is inquisitive, curious, and intelligent; after all travel is the best form of education. Evening conversations will never cease to interest you, her worldly perspective, passion and enthusiasm putting new light on even the most mundane every day topics. Her culinary skills are second-to-none, from pad thai, to falafel, to home made Cajun chicken burgers and chips, she brings the world's best cuisine to your plate every night. She series links every travel show there is, introducing you to the hilarious 'Travel Man' or Levison Wood's dramatic 'Waking the Himilayas'. But don't worry, she is also happy to hand the remote over to you, because from researching prospective trips, to writing her travel blog, she always has a long list of things to do.
What does 'settling down' mean to her? Not what it means to most people. Just because she has a ring on her finger, doesn't mean that she wants to live that 9-5 life that she spent her adolescent years planning to escape. She wants to get a mortgage and buy a house, but then rent it out so that you can both pursue job opportunities in Dubai, the USA or Australia. She wants to look after her body, but not by joining a gym. She wants to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, trek the Andes and go mountain biking through Yosemite. She doesn't want to buy new carpets, candlesticks or car stereos. Instead she saves for the next adventure, re-naming your joint savings account 'the travel fund'.
Never be bored.
With the girl who travels, you will live a life full of adventures, but also know that you are in safe hands. From the time that she lost all of her money to a rogue taxi driver in Vietnam, to writing, marketing and eventually making money from the travel book she has published, you can be assured that your finances will always be looked after. Having slept in a wide range of accommodations, from caravans, to jungle huts to the back row of economy on a 'no-frills' flight, she knows the meaning of a good night's sleep, and will ensure that your home, wherever it may be, is warm and welcoming. Travel is not always easy and her experiences have taught her to deal with difficult situations and the meaning of perseverance, so she can put up with you when you are late home, you don't do the washing up or stink out the toilet! Throughout her travels she has been a nurse, a teacher and a mother. And one day, she will inspire your children in the way that has inspired you.
Live happily never after.
Hayley started the blog lifeasabutterfly as a 24 year old single traveller embarking on her first escapades, five years later she has not only maintained her love of travelling, but now also has a companion to share her most precious moments with. For more on her travel tales follow her via the blog/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. Happy travels!