I’m the journalist who broke the story of a bride-to-be who was dumped three weeks before her wedding and dealt with it by traveling the world. One year later, I married her.
The truth is I already knew who Katy was before our lives took the crazy turns that led to us smashing directly into each other. We actually attended university together and were even on the same course. We occasionally said hello in passing, but never in what you might call a “flirty” manner. I wouldn’t even say we were friends. I mostly remember thinking she was way out of my league.
Fast forward a decade. Katy was engaged – until she very suddenly wasn’t. Just a few weeks before her wedding, her fiancé called things off rather suddenly, saying he just couldn’t go through with it. Katy was devastated, but this incredible woman decided she wasn’t going to sit around the house crying into a tub of ice cream.
When her groom ran away from their relationship, I guess Katy just had to run away, too – away from everything she thought she knew, and into the unknown. So she backpacked through East Asia, climbed an active volcano, slept in a Thai jungle, and skydived in France. She visited Machu Picchu and got dusted with Holi powder in India. Somewhere in all this craziness, she wrote about her experiences in a blog, which I followed with some degree of envy. Eventually, she turned that blog into a novel.
I’m so thankful for Katy’s book deal, because that’s where I came in. I was a writer for a reputable newspaper in England when Katy reached out to me hoping to get a bit of publicity for her novel. I was happy to help a former friend from university, not to mention she had a great story – everyone can relate to a bad breakup. It seemed like a good opportunity to write something inspirational, as well as promote her book.
Then her story (told in my words) – “Jilted Bride Swaps Weddings for Wanderlust” – went viral. Very viral. Headlines about her story were on newspapers and websites internationally, including across the UK, USA, Europe, and Australia. It’s still something I cannot wrap my head around. She was dubbed ‘The Backpacking Bridget Jones,’ famous around the world.
It turned out that Katy’s love for travel and my love for vicariously living through the blogged accounts of her adventures was a perfect match. She wanted to keep traveling, and I was more than happy to step in and be her partner in crime. Just a few months after I broke Katy’s story, I proposed to her in a villa in Bali over champagne. Without a ring. Because of course the engagement ring was in my bag, which went missing somewhere between the UK and Bali (Don’t worry, it eventually turned up!). Katy didn’t mind, though. She said ‘yes’ before we located the diamonds!
We had a small wedding with the reception in a local pub. It wasn’t flashy or decadent like the first wedding she’d planned for herself, but it was perfect for both of us. In attendance were our closest friends and family, and the most important guest of all: our (surprise!) little baby daughter, in her mum’s belly at the time. Baby Everleigh was one of the most incredible shocks of my life – the other one being that Katy and I somehow managed to find each other and fall in love.
Our story proves that the love of your life can drop into your lap at any time, under any circumstances, and we should always be open to it. It’s also a living example of how heartbreak can end in happiness, as long as you keep pushing forward and following your heart. If Katy had holed up in her house feeling sorry for herself after her wedding was called off , we might have gone our whole lives never speaking another word to each other.
Take it from us – follow your sense of adventure, even if you have to sell all your stuff, live out of a backpack, and travel around the world to do it. And if you don’t happen to find that special someone before returning home? Well, at least you will have seen the Taj Mahal.