From Solo Traveler to Sharing Life’s Journey

At 24, I dined alone on a rooftop above Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and felt content on my own. While hiking the Costa Rican rainforests or volunteering in Guatemala, I didn’t think about finding a life partner. Having a husband was not a reality I imagined when cruising the Galapagos Islands a few years later. The idea of getting married — a concept I had abandoned after a few failed relationships — came when I least expected it, as I approached 35.

One thing traveling has taught me is that anything can happen, so you have to be prepared. The best things often occur when you leave your comfort zone and take risks. Love, for me, was the ultimate risk. However, when I met Scott on a chilly evening in December 2013, his love of books and travel drew me in. At the time, he had visited 47 States and planned to make it to the remaining three. I was a couple of weeks away from a solo trip to Australia. He told me that his favorite book was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. We hit it off immediately.

“I will miss you, but I understand that you have to go,” Scott said when I mentioned my upcoming adventure. His encouragement as I pursued my dream made me like him even more.

As my trip approached, I worried if we would overcome the distance so early in our relationship. During my three weeks abroad, we found a way to communicate thanks to FaceTime Audio. He was always on the other end of the line, keeping me company on long train rides, calming my anxiety over red-bellied black snakes, and coming up with activities for me. He sent me a welcome email as soon as my plane landed (he tracked the flights online). That’s when I knew I had someone special.

Upon my return, we became constants in each other’s lives. We saw movies, visited museums, dined out, caught Broadway shows, went on hiking trips, and attended writing events. We traveled far and near, made some amazing new friends, and connected with old ones. We overcame obstacles together and learned more about one another. We became a team, giving each other space while cherishing our time together. My dog, Indu, was smitten the moment he rubbed her belly. Scott remained the charming, caring, and compassionate man with whom I fell in love. The best part — being with a friend to whom I never get tired of talking. “The conversation still continues…,” he wrote on our 1st Anniversary card.

On one of our road trips, he brought up the idea of getting married. It was surprising and, for the first time in my life, I forgot my past defeats. I felt elated to be in the company of this beautiful man who had shown me nothing but warmth and love.

“Think about all the fun we’ll have together,” he said, as we made plans for the future. It wasn’t hard because our relationship had been exciting from day one. I also knew that even during the tough times, Scott would make me laugh and be there for me, which he proved over the past fifteen months.

While marriage wasn’t at the top of my agenda, I realized that finding someone worthy of sharing my life makes a world of difference. As we celebrate our engagement, I would like to offer a valuable lesson: the best thing you can do is to go after what you want; if someone special crosses your path, take a chance and hope for the best. The rest will take care of itself. If it doesn’t, there’s always that passport.

Published by Lavanya

Lavanya Sunkara is a writer, animal lover, and globetrotter based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Forbes, USA Today and many more in a career spanning ten years. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, culture, pets, and wildlife conservation.

17 thoughts on “From Solo Traveler to Sharing Life’s Journey

  1. Congratulations Lavanya … I always knew you’d find a good guy out there [somewhere] due to your frequent traveling =) Best of luck to you both!

  2. What a beautiful love story and a beautiful message – taking risks amidst fear is what brought you two together, and now here you are on the other side spreading the message of hope and courage, in only the way that your wonderful writing can. Thank you for that. To a gorgeous life together, Scott & Lavanya! 🙂

  3. When you least expect it – there’s ScottyJ! Congrats to both of you, look forward to meeting you when he drags you out to AZ!

  4. Such a sincere and personal piece … I love it! It never ceases to amaze me, the windy path of life, with its unexpected turns. It’s so beautiful that your lives led to each other, and it’s so inspiring that you stayed open to possibility. Congratulations on your engagement!

  5. BPF – best partners forever
    Life is like a roller coaster, sometimes the low points can be painful and sticking through them and having a partner who supports you is incredible. Journey of life so many more things to experience, this was a great story, waiting for your first book. you are such an awesome writer.

    your little bro

  6. Such a beautiful story! Just think, your adventure with Scott has just begun! Imagine your wonderful future together!

  7. Thank you for this. As someone who never thought of marriage as a possibility, I feel truly lucky that we met at the perfect moment in our lives. We had to travel the world to find one another — in New York City, two Long Islanders — and now our real journey continues with each other.

  8. Congratulations to both of you on your engagement! It was fun to read more about how your relationship started and has progressed to the point of wanting to share the rest of your lives together. I hope to meet Scott one day, as he must be a very special man. Wishing you many years of happy travels as you journey through life together.

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