Hi, I’m Mike. And I’m Lauren. We’re the “two” behind ‘TWO JOURNEY’.
Here is our story.
Lauren is a Kiwi (I love her none-the-less; although rugby is a sore point in our relationship) and Mike is a barefooted Safa (aka South African).
We’re a young couple who have just recently tied the knot after a four and half year long distance relationship. So I guess that is the best place to begin, nearly five years long distance! If anyone ever tells you that long distance doesn’t work, well we are living proof that it does. In fact some might say that we are even advocates for a little distance in relationships, I emphasize little, five years is not little.
Anyway’s I met Lauren on a Christian missions course with an orginization called Youth with a Mission (Ywam). I still vivedly remember the first time I saw her walk through the doors. Immediately thinking to myself, “she is way outta my league, but hey lets give it a shot.” Well… that was soon snuffed out when our leaders introduced the “no dating rule” at Ywam. “Okay, so that was just one small barrier in the way, I could overcome that I’m sure, they’ll never know,” I thought to myself. The five months we spent together at Ywam were incredible to say the least. It was a rollercoster of physical, spiritual and emotional ups and downs, not to mention how close and intimately you get to know your fellow ywamers. To this day I think for both Lauren and I, it was the best experience of our lives! Regardless of the numerous instances we got into trouble for “spending too much time with each other” and a small “hiccup” in Brazil where we did our missions practical. Ywam was a time for us to draw extremely close to each other on every level except for the physical, looking back and reflecting on our relationship we couldn’t ask for a better platform. One we firmly believe is placed in God.
NOTE: If you are someone that values your spirituality like Lauren and I do and have a heart and passion to serve God through mission. The first hand experience from us dictates that Ywam is an amazing platform to begin your plunge into the mission field. The people you meet, the cultures you are exposed to and the connection you establish with God is indescribable with words. We went through Ywam at Worcestor in Cape Town, South Africa. Here is the link to their website if you are interested.
Following on from Ywam, it was time for us to go our seperate ways. We decided to attempt long distance although I think both of us had our doubts. After a surprise visit in Cape Town where Lauren was visiting family, we embarked on our longest stretch of distance, eighteen months with Lauren in New Zealand and myself in South Africa. We both decided to pursue our degress in our respective countries. After eighteen months I had the opportunity to visit Lauren for two months of backpacking in and around New Zealand. Another amazing experience for us as a couple.
“Love knows no distance”
NOTE: Distance is extremely difficult, even with modern technology such as Skype etc. However one valuable lesson it teaches you is never take your time together for granted. You also find you develop a deep sense of appreciation for each other and the time spent together.
A common saying that kept rining loudly in my mind after my time in New Zealand was that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” boy how you have to force yourself to believe in that. Lauren and I continued with long distance on and off for the next three years. We had the opportunity to meet up occasionally within that time, I visited Zimbabwe (where Lauren is originally from) with Lauren and her family for Christmas and New years in Cape Town with our families together. Lauren also visited South Africa on a few surprise occassions. One surprise where it took me about 10 minutes to register it was actually her sitting in front of me! A story i’m sure she’ll be thrilled to share with you….
NOTE: Someone once told me that the key to a great and successfull relationship is to “never break up” and I know that sounds plain and perhaps has many implications. But if in your mind you have made the decision that you love this person, then in fact it can be that simple!
Lauren and I had an extremely rocky final year of distance. She had decided to stay behind and study her teaching qualification through Graduate School and I had decided to take a position at my church as the Youth Pastor. One final year of us pursuing our individual interests. It was difficult and we found ourselves at breaking point on many ocassions. Lauren had suffered through numerous massive earthquakes in Christchurch, her family had to leave Libya when the revolt broke out and she also had to go through losing an extremely close friend of hers. We struggled through these things together but combined with my stressful job and her stressful time in life and studies, it was tough.
Only God really knows how, but we made it through. Lauren wrapped up her studies and headed over to South Africa. Not soon after she arrived we left on memorable trip to Cape Town. Why memoorable you might ask? Because it was here that I popped the question and asked the love of my life to marry me. She said yes, after a long but calm pause.
The next year and a half was busy and stressfull. Lauren and I were both working full time jobs, both heavily involved in youth ministry which is a full time full time job. To top it all of we had to plan a wedding and I still had studies to complete in Theology. After a year and a half of waiting, stress and hard work we tied the knot. So, the Junior Collins we became.
Shorlty after we got married and an amazing honeymoon at The Gorge hotel and Spa, we moved into our first place. Shortly after our first grocery shop and three weeks of doing the “married thing” and “playing house” we decidied it was time to leave and experience adventure!
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal”
NOTE: Our Honeymoon at The Gorge Hotel and Spa was absolutely incredible! The staff are extremely friendly and well mannered as well as pleasant and the owner is a fantastic guy. He always greeted us and chatted with us and made us feel right at home. It is a very secluded and private place but the scenary is immaculate and the hotel itself is amazing and really fancy! Definitely worth a 5 star rating! Check it out at this address as well as comments on Tripadvisor about people’s experience,
Myself and Lauren both share a passion and heart to travel the world and experience life. Since we have been married, in the short space of time we have found routine in married life to be somewhat “boring” and “mundane”. We decided that we would not get caught in this trap of living a life of routine and take the chance to get on the road.
Lauren has always had a passion to travel, she often tells of how she use to just glance out of the windows at school longing to be boarding a plane that would in turn take her all over the world. I on the other hand have been a “late bloomer” so too speak in terms of coming to maturity about travel. It was through my encounters in Brazil and Mozambique and a few other places that I learnt the value in coming into contact with different cultures, traditions and ways of life and it was through this that my passion and desire to travel and journey the world was born.
This blog will hopefully be filled with all our experiences and adventures as we go as well some tips and things we have learnt along the way that will help you plan a backpacking trip of your own. We hope you enjoy reading about our journey’s and experiences as we venture out into the world, living life out on the road. This quote got us thinking and ultimately pushed us in the direction to up and leave and begin our journey together:
“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel, read only one page”