Don’t give up hope — one American couple gave me renewed faith that the love you want is out there… somewhere

When I set off on a tour of the Yarra Valley’s wineries this morning, I wasn’t expecting much. Seven hours and 64 Australian wines later, I had renewed faith that the relationship I’m seeking exists…and no, those two elements are not related. Take one American couple, a mutual love of travel and a desire to keep growing as a twosome, and you’ve got the sum of one hell of a great marriage. Intrigued? You should be.

It sounds like something out of a really bad Chevy Chase comedy (Australian vacation, anyone?) but when I boarded the Australian Wine Tour Company‘s silver bullet bus this morning in Melbourne with a family of four French people, a Swedish father and daughter duo, two Tasmanian post-collegiate girls, a photo-happy couple from Hong Kong and an American couple from South Dakota, I was expecting the worst. Add in one boisterous Aussie tour guide, and I was certain the plethora of wine promised was going to be necessary for my sanity.

It wasn’t. In fact, I barely felt tipsy during the course of the day. What I did find, quite unexpectedly, were two unusual allies in the form of a 50-something couple from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I’m not sure they’d want themselves mentioned by name, so let’s call this husband and wife team Sue and Fred. Hearing that they were from a state I had a) never visited b) never desired to visit c) houses a meager 812,000 people didn’t make me rush to make besties. Oh, how ignorant I am sometimes.

S&F are one of the most interesting couples I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life. In Australia to prematurely celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary (which happens to be in June), they decided to take a month off of work and explore the wineries of Australia and New Zealand. On their own. With backpacks.

Mind you, back in the States they both have proper careers; she’s even had the same job in investments for 29 years. They have a 21-year-old son.

What they also still have is a romantic love for one another, an insatiable desire to travel, learn new things and explore the world.

For their 25th wedding anniversary, they backpacked through Europe. They share common interests, and rarely argue. They hold hands. They speak knowledgeably and matter-of-factly about the places they’ve been, the people they’ve met and make the most of their life at home by hosting fun dinner parties for their friends, where they learn to cook, hire private chefs and essentially enjoy themselves. They aren’t rich, but they do know there’s a price for not enjoying every moment that life has to offer.

“Why wait?” Fred pondered aloud at the Domaine Chandon winery over a glass of bubbly. “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Agreed Sue, “We didn’t want to wait to travel until we retired. The point of traveling is to be good at traveling when you retire.”

Earlier in the day, over lunch (and more wine) at Rochford Wines, Sue had proudly showed off photos of her hubby climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge — a 3 hour feat that required a harness, fearlessness and a lot of skill.

Why not be proud of him? She should be. Sue loves that she and her husband share a mutual love of travel, that they can leave the life they know behind and be perfectly content with their own company for a month at a time, that they don’t have to worry about their 21-year-old son.

“I didn’t want kids; he wanted four,” she told me. “We compromised.”

When you love someone as much as they clearly love each other, you make those concessions. And as it turns out, her husband was right — at the end of the day, she cherishes her child more than anyone (save her other half) on the planet.

“My son just got out of  a relationship,” she said. “He’s in his final year of college. I told him, ‘Wanderlust is in your blood. Don’t settle down until you’re ready, and then you better find someone who loves to travel as much as you do.’”

Sage advice from my new relationship idol — which will be advice I, too, follow…as should you. If the fundamentals of what you deem to be important aren’t there in a relationship, don’t force it to work. When something is right, you’ll know.

“Wow,” I said wistfully. “You have the perfect life.”

Sue just smiled beatifically, with the satisfied smile of a woman who doesn’t have to keep searching to realize she has it all. “You know,” she said. “You’re right.”

Don’t give up, LoveTrekkers. Keep on searching. You will find the love you deserve one day. So have faith. I do…

Laura xo

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21 Responses
  1. Paula says:

    What a beautiful love story– Laura you have absolutely personified the perfect relationship! Thanks for the “other” angle about looking for love (and finding it forever).

    • Sue and Fred says:


      We returned from our 30 day trip in Aust/NZ and were pleasantly surprised to find that you wrote an article about us!! We enjoyed meeting you. We didn’t realize we were being interviewed, and enjoyed the story very much!! We are still holding hands after our wonderful trip!! We’ll share the story with our 21 year old son and friends.

      Thanks for the tip on the Queen’s Market. We went to meet you there and got your tour with Geraldine and all the food samples that went with it. Sorry you couldn’t make it, it was GREAT!! A real nice addition to our time in Melbourne.

      Look forward to hearing back from you soon.

      S and F in South Dakota

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