16 Jun 2015

Tuesday Travel: Tourists In Love - International Love Story

This is the first post starts a summer series, sharing travel stories on Tuesdays {Tuesday Travels, if you would like to be feature please email me msbabyplan @ gmail.com}. 

Today's guest post story reminds me of my love story with AMI so much, we had to live a part for four years and I had to travel on a tourist visa for so long and sometimes I was worried I wouldn't get in time, but everything was fine in end.


Planning a trip abroad can be exciting especially if you’re traveling with a tourist visa. The possibilities for what you’ll see and whom you’ll meet are absolutely endless. It is more common than you would think to travel as a tourist and end up finding love Internationally. Of course the long distance aspect after your tourist visa expires may make things complicated, but for those who are able to overcome the odds, it is a beautiful beginning for any love story.

Four years ago I was working at a summer camp in the States where I met a Northern Irish boy who came to work through Camp America. We grew close that summer and became close friends. At the end of the summer, he returned home to Belfast and I returned to my college life in Pittsburgh. A year passed and before I knew it, I was back working at that same camp the following summer. I was reunited with the boy from Belfast, and our friendship evolved into a whirlwind romance that summer. We bonded over travel stories, music, our passions and what our plans were for the future.

As that second summer came to an end, we began to panic. His visa would allow him to stay in the States for a few weeks after camp ended, but after that, he would have to return home. We made a plan that I would fly out to Belfast in November to visit him and see where things could go. His last weeks in the states were tough, as we knew that we’d have to do at least three months of long distance before I made the trip to the UK to see him again.

After we said our goodbyes and he headed back to his life abroad, we began to think of ways to possibly make the relationship last. I found out that my college in Pittsburgh had a semester abroad program with his University in Belfast and so the obvious choice to me was to apply to move abroad for six months and be with him. I completed the study abroad application and a few weeks later, found out that I was accepted to study in Belfast. We were both ecstatic at first! We went from zero to sixty with our relationship and it caught a lot of our friends and family off guard. The trip in November to Belfast was time spent checking out the university, getting to know my way around the city, meeting his family and his friends.

In January when I went back to Belfast to study, I got a tourist visa stamp in my passport at the airport and I thought that the six months that I had in the UK would drag on. However, six months I learned, is a very short amount of time. I was living with my then boyfriend and although things started off beautifully, they quickly became rocky. There were three main things I learned during that six-month period abroad; I may not have been in love with the person, just in love with the idea of a new, exciting relationship which kept me so attached, the two of us never fully understood each other due to cultural differences and finally, the set end date to our romance based on my tourist visa put a lot of pressure on our already fragile relationship.

In the end, ours was not an everlasting story of love, but it was a great learning experience for the both of us. I experienced life in a new country, I learned about a culture very different from my own, and I used the time left on my visa wisely by traveling as much as possible.

Specific to the UK, the tourist or visitor visa is valid for up to a six-month period and should be applied for at least three months prior to the intended dates of travel. While holding a tourist visa, it is important to remember that there are some restrictions surrounding what you can and cannot do. Many travelers who meet their significant other abroad figure that they can get married to their partner while on their tourist visa in the hopes of being able to stay together permanently. Unfortunately, the UK government does not allow for tourist visa holders to get engaged, marry, or enter in a civil partnership while having a visitor visa. By taking some of these drastic routes, this may prevent you from future travel in the country you hold your visa in.

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