Skip to main content

Meet Charity and Peta: Contiki soulmates and general icons

married couple in Australia

Why do we love social travel you ask? Because, beautiful and heart-warming stories like this one emerge from travelling together. Charity and Peta began their friendship on Contiki’s Grand Southern, where Charity was the Trip Manager from the US, and Peta was a traveller from Australia. 

Soon after, their friendship blossomed into something more, and together they took the world by storm, travelling to every corner they could get their hands on. But their relationship isn’t the only one that’s flourished as Charity and Peta have lasting friends all over the globe from the many Contiki trips they’ve been on.

Now married and settled in Australia, Charity and Peta continue to share their love of the world and travelling, while also bringing their home and LGBTQIA+ communities together under the rainbow coloured flag and their non-profit initiatives. If you ever needed to read a story about two power women in love, you’ve got it right here.

Two Contiki soulmates standing on top of a cliff with a rainbow flag.

Image source:Charity & Peta

Charity was a Contiki Trip Manager (Contiki Char for those that know) for 5 years. She joined the travel business because she wanted to do everything: try all the foods, experience each country’s little quirks, and be on a constant adventure. Peta was a traveller with lots of saved up annual leave days and a penchant for discovery. Neither of them expected to find love on their journey through the Southern United States. 

“It wasn’t like we knew straight away,” Charity says, “The group all introduced themselves on the first day and it was just as you’d expect.” The trip started in Las Vegas with a group of 50 people, so there were a lot of introductions to get through. “She introduced herself as Peter,” says Charity, “so, I kept calling her Peter for ages until I checked the daily sheet once and found a Peta instead…”

It wasn’t until the stop at a special Memphis bar that Charity and Peta actually started to talk. Or rather, Peta started to talk to Charity. She sat down in an empty chair beside her and promptly began to tell her future wife her entire life story. And Charity listened, and then shared hers. 

“Memphis, and this bar, is my favourite place to take Contiki groups. It’s a special place for me, I’d taken my dad there as well when he visited me, so it was quite cool that we had our first connection in such a meaningful place.”

Group of Contiki travellers on the Grand Southern

Image source:Charity & Peta

The week and a half that followed was filled with more chats, dances in bars, terrible photobooth photos, and ever-lasting memories. Charity and Peta’s friendship really bloomed (as well as their friendship with other travellers), but it was unfortunately time to say goodbye.

The next day Charity and Peta called each other, and the day after that, and the day after that…Until they met again three months later and made their relationship official. Charity flew from her home of San Francisco, USA to spend Christmas with Peta and her family in Sydney, Australia. The night before her trip she told her parents about Peta for the first time and her reasons for her trip and said: “The most beautiful person in the world thinks I’m the most beautiful person in the world, and I don’t know how to deal with that.” Neither do we, it’s so sweet!

“We were really fortunate because I had lots of annual leave saved up,” says Peta, “We’d meet up pretty much every two or three months, and mostly in Hawaii because that’s what was easiest for us both.” What. A. Dream! It made their long distance relationship a little easier. Together they travelled through Europe: Portugal, and Spain, and Greece with Contiki and friends; they travelled through the US with Peta hopping on Contiki tours led by Charity. 

In December 2018 Peta flew to meet Charity before departing on a year of travelling. “Peta landed in San Francisco, and I asked her to marry me right then and there at the airport.” Charity proposed with a set of matching necklaces in the shape of a compass along with an engraved compass that said: ‘Our greatest adventure begins today. Peta Jaye will you marry me?’ and Peta said yes. “Travel has been intertwined in everything, it goes hand in hand with our relationship.”

couple Charity and Peta after proposing in the airport

Image source:Charity & Peta

As a newly engaged couple, Charity and Peta hopped on lots of flights and tours: New York New Year, Boot Scoot N’ Blues, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, etc. before finally settling down in their home in Freshwater, Australia.

“We’ve made some amazing friends, at home and on Contiki. During our travels we stayed with a lot of people we met on various Contikis, and we’re still really good friends with lots of them. I think that’s the beautiful thing about it, that you make all these connections. You could be in any spot in the world and never be alone.”

Charity and Peta still travel around the globe, their Instagram says as much, but recently they’ve co-founded Fusion Pride, a non-for-profit organisation aiming to bring awareness to and connect the LGBTQIA+ community on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. “There’s very little visibility here,” explains Peta. “We get really excited when we see another same-sex couple holding hands and we want to show them that we’re like them as well! Fusion Pride was founded because of that lack of visibility.”

Charity and Peta at Fusion Pride event in Australia

Image source:Charity & Peta

Charity and Peta reached out to their local council to set up some activities along the beaches. “We started with an epic launch party at a local brewery to share our vision and goals to our rainbow community members and allies. We had entertainment from RuPaul Drag Race Down Under runner up Hannah Conda, TikTok legend Mitchell Coombs and even the local politicians and Mayor attended and spoke with love and support that extended beyond the night.

“From there we hosted a beachside Pride Picnic for local families to ring in Sydney WorldPride 2023, and have started weekly social events. Longterm, we are creating connections, visibility and inclusion through social, educational and advocacy support for the LGBTQIA+ community on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.”

During Sydney Pride, the couple made an appearance on Sydney Harbor Bridge in their best rainbow attire, and a Contiki alum rushed to them to say hi. She was on the same trip, the Grand Southern, where Charity and Peta made their first connection.

LGBTQIA+ pride celebration in Sydney, Australia

Image source:Charity & Peta

When I asked Charity what being a Trip Manager for Contiki was like, she said it really broadened her perspective of what community and togetherness is. “You get a mixed bag of people, and I wanted to be able to support them all, let them know that it’s okay to be themselves, whoever and wherever they are.” Peta, after observing her wife conduct these trips on many occasions, added: “She, and I, wanted people to know there’s no pressure to do anything they don’t want to or can’t. They’re still a part of this community that we have.”

For Charity and Peta, travelling is the perfect way to show love and experience love as well: sharing new cultures, new ideas, meeting new people, broadening your horizons. “Community is really important to have. It is where you can find people who may differ from you in many ways, but welcome you to be your true self. Once you find that, then you are free.”

Couple Charity and Peta in Croatia

Image source:Charity & Peta

Up next

Stop dreaming and make sh*t happen!