On a recent trip to Australia I partook in a sky dive at the top of the East Coast, Cairns. In anticipation of jumping 14,000ft from a small plane over the Great Barrier Reef, the very last thing on my mind was love. Yet as I threw on the oh so flattering bright blue sky dive pants complimented by a fresh makeup free face, it happened…
After sharing the adrenaline experience together and bonding over my somewhat terrifying skydiving pictures, we went onto spend the next few weeks together. A few months on, and despite currently being on polar-opposite sides of the world, we’re still going strong on the daily face-times.
My own unexpected encounter got me to thinking about other love stories that have had similarly unusual beginnings. And where better to look, than our very own community of Contiki travellers. We asked, and you guys delivered. These are some of our fave Contiki trip love stories:
Condoms, Strippers & eventually love: Kylie & Max's story
“Myself and two friends had been sat in a pub window, hassled by Frenchmen and handed condoms as gifts. He and his two mates had been sucked into forking out a small fortune at an unexpected stripper pub…”
I said ‘yes’ to a Contiki’s European Contrasts tour in May 2010. Three months ago I said ‘yes’ to my Contiki lover, and will finally say ‘I do’ in 3 months time. Who would have ever thought I’d end up marrying someone I met gallivanting around Europe?
We met on the second day of tour, out the front of the Moulin Rouge, waiting for our group to come through and pick us up. Myself and two friends had been sat in a pub window, hassled by Frenchmen and handed condoms as gifts. He and his two mates had been sucked into forking out a small fortune at an unexpected stripper pub. While waiting for the group, we embraced the comfort of familiar strangers and exchanged stories. When it became apparent our group had forgotten us, we embarked on a journey to find them. We eventually did, and the six of us sat together at the last available table. The rest is history. After a month of travelling and enjoying the shenanigans that are Contiki, we parted ways for several months…then found our way back. The last thing our Trip Manager said to me as we said goodbye in London, was “don’t forget to invite me to your wedding”.
Max and Kylie got married in October 2014, celebrating their marriage with plenty of fellow Contiki traveller wedding guests.
A few too many Jungle juices on the Mekong Delta: Nikki & Ryan's story
“After an amazing trek down the Mekong delta, and perhaps a few too many cups of our Trip Managers famous jungle juice, we shared our first kiss”
As fate would have it, the original dates I had chosen for my Vietnam Experience with Contiki were already booked off by a colleague and I couldn’t take my annual leave then. So I chose to take the next available tour instead, and it turned out to be the best decision of my life. Not only did I meet amazing people who I’m still in touch with today, I also met the love of my life on my first night in Vietnam. I’ll never forget sitting at Allez Boo in Ho Chi Minh City, with brand new friends the night before our Contiki took off. A guy on our tour from Melbourne rocked up. All of a sudden my outgoing personality was gone and I turned into a shy girl that could barely string a sentence together. Queue the awkward exchanges over the next few days. It finally came to a head in the Vietnamese jungle after an amazing trek down the Mekong Delta (and perhaps a few too many cups of our Trip Managers famous jungle juice), and we had our first kiss at the Homestay. From then on we’ve been inseparable, and two years later we’re living together in Sydney, completely in love and planning our next Contiki adventure!
Pub Crawls, Sambuca & filthy looks: Rebecca & Nick's story
“Alright, gals. Got a bottle of Sambuca in my bag if you fancy some later?” I must have given him such a filthy look that the follow-up was “sorry, are you tee-total?”
We met on The Canada and Rockies tour that departed on 16th June 2013, from Vancouver. Nick was part of the group that had already explored the East Coast, and almost missed the flight from Toronto having been out on a pub crawl the night before. Fortunately, Sophie pulled him out of bed and he made the flight across the country to Vancouver. I was travelling with my friend Lynsey, and we first met Nick when we arrived at Whistler. He had the South London walk and his opening gambit was “Alright, gals. Got a bottle of Sambuca in my bag if you fancy some later?” I must have given him such a filthy look that the follow-up was “sorry, are you tee-total?”. Things got better from then on. I sat back a bit on that first night and what I noticed about Nick was that he made an effort with EVERYBODY. He did his best to get around the whole group and talk to everyone. The trip progressed and so did our friendship. I’m not really sure how, Nick just happened to be around more and Lynsey commented that he had a soft spot for me. I couldn’t see it myself. Our trip was the one the never made it to Lake Louise due to the flash flooding. We travelled back to Vancouver via Kamloops. As we had missed the planned karaoke session Nick and I went looking for a karaoke bar. That’s when he made his move!
I wouldn’t say the rest was history, but we spent more time together over those last couple of days. We’d exchanged numbers and he said he’d call me when I got home. No offence to Nick, but I didn’t expect him to call. He proved me wrong, and we embarked on a long distance relationship, which wasn’t easy, especially in the early days. Things progressed and by Christmas 2013 we had ‘the chat’ about where things were going. We agreed that if the relationship was to continue one of us would need to move. A year ago this coming Sunday, Nick asked me to marry him. I couldn’t believe that I had travelled all the way to Canada to meet my soul mate. I said yes to his proposal and we married on 27th September 2015.
Late for the bus & a lack of seats: Britt & Jono's story
“With the bus full and only two seats left at the front, we were forced to sit together and had a laugh about running late”
In August 2012, I went on a Contiki trip to Scandinavia. I was running late for the first bus departure as was another guy, Jono. With the bus full and only two seats left at the front, we were forced to sit together and had a laugh about running late. We ended up talking the whole first bus ride, about 5 hours, and were inseparable from then on. The entire trip our Contiki Trip Manager, Jen, would give us benefits that other couples were getting. Double beds in single bunk dorms, etc. On the last day of Contiki, after only knowing each other for 16 days, we told each other we were in love and wanted to continue being together back home. I continued traveling and Jono went back to work. Jono is from Darwin but works in WA, and I live in Sydney. At our first opportunity after I arrived home from traveling, Jono flew to Sydney and we spent a week together, he met my family etc. We decided then that we would continue doing that and for a year he flew back to Sydney to see me every 3 weeks. Finally, we got a place together and moved in August 2013. In 2014, on my birthday (Boxing Day) Jono got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife in front of both of our families. It was a perfect birthday and end to 2014, and another stepping stone in our love story.
What to do in Vegas at 11am: Matt & Jess' story
“I hadn’t believed in love until I watched Jess drop it low on a glass floor fifty-five stories above the Vegas strip”
I fell in love with a lot of beautiful things on my Contiki trip, but none more beautiful than Jess. Vegas, 10:30am, and I find myself in the lobby of Harrah’s. The friends I’ve come with have abandoned me for a nap. Who in their right mind naps when they’re in Vegas? Not me, That’s for sure. So, there I am, alone in the craziest city to ever exist, and no one to enjoy it with. Luckily, fate was watching over me and five chicks were also milling about the marble lobby. Bound by circumstance (and desperation on my part), we decided to walk the strip together. From here on in, shit gets crazy. What to do in Las Vegas at 11 am? Why, drink margaritas from yard glasses of course. And so we set on a path of drunken friendship. We stumbled from one end of the strip to the other, past Planet Hollywood, M&M world, Little Paris, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island. It was all a rose-tinted dream. I knew deep down that we were destined for disaster, as this was too good to be true.
We went to a club that first night, and that’s really when you get to know someone – when you see how they dance. Now I don’t mind telling you my own dancing style is something to behold. It takes me only a split second to go from classy debutant to Christina Aguilera in Dirty. I hadn’t believed in love until I watched Jess drop it low on a glass floor fifty-five stories above the Vegas strip. In that moment, I knew she was perfect. Sure she was Australian (to my Kiwi), but if Beyoncé could love Jay Z, I could love an Australian. Over the next two weeks we took a Gondola ride through the Venetian together, zip lined 60 stories up, watched the sun rise, and set, over the Grand Canyon, shared endless bus naps dribbling on each other shoulders, brought cowboy hats in Texas, lap danced in Amarillo to Pony by Genuine, spent Thanksgiving thanking each other, yelling at the Cowboys game even though we had no idea what was going on, sharing a romantic carriage ride through Memphis, and drinking Hurricanes in New Orleans. Here we were, on the final day of the tour. She pulled me aside in the French Quarter and said. “All I really need, is a man who’s beefy, loving, and treats me like a goddess.”