Supreet and Gaurav's love story is the stuff of Hollywood movies. In more ways than one
Some stories inspire us to be better. Supreet and Gaurav's will do no such thing. But it surely will make you believe in destiny. For, at the risk of sounding cheesy, that's what brought these two together. That, and their insatiable passion for travelling the world. And the rest is not history, but a travelogue worth recounting. This is their story, as told by Supreet.
"It’s 2014, a bunch of my girlfriends and I are at a friend’s birthday party, and she makes this compelling case for Tinder. She introduces us to it with barely containable enthusiasm and gently coaxes (read: forces) all of us girls to download it. Gaurav, at almost the same time, had just moved to Delhi from Manipal after a year in Chile and was looking to meet new people.
In my opinion, Delhi as a city isn’t very approachable. The irony is everyone I could potentially swipe right on is probably going to the same places as me in the city, but it’s unfathomable, as a woman, to be able to go up to someone and strike up a conversation. Tinder was great, it allowed me to approach people when I did not have the courage to talk to someone in person. Tinder gives you the chance for equal action when you swipe. You’re not just sitting demurely waiting for someone to ask you out.
As women, we’ve been taught to tread with caution, but I find the experience of discovery on Tinder to be different for both men and women. In my first week on Tinder, I matched with almost 20 people, including Gaurav. Before I matched with Gaurav, I had spoken to one other person, but I felt no chemistry. So, when I hit it off with Gaurav, I decided to meet him in person. We matched on a Monday, and Saturday saw us sitting across from each other at a local haunt.
Gaurav did not pretend to be someone he wasn’t and he had a huge interest in travel. He was very relaxed and it was easy for me to be myself around him. He also got along great with my friends and family, which was important to me. And then one thing led to another and we were married two years later.
Not that I went in with the intention of getting hitched. I had come back from a trip to Thailand and life right after a great vacation seemed strangely dull. I wanted to meet someone new, find some interesting company, someone to travel with or maybe just hang out with.
And then came the epic travel plan — 47 cities, 12 countries, three continents and six months. We both happen to work as freelance digital marketing consultants, and thanks to work and his quest for adventure, we ended up on long bouts of travel across the world when we were seeing each other. One day, Gaurav suggested this wild idea of a six-month trip around the world. I countered with a wild idea of my own — let’s make it a honeymoon. He said cool, and without a proposal, the decision was made. A court wedding, reception and two days of celebrating with friends later, we were looking at our six months of travel directly in the eye.
The plus side? We didn’t even have a toaster to our name. We mutually decided to use all our money and ability to earn on-the-go to travel, before we found a house and invested in joint assets. Luckily, we were smack in the middle of two work contracts that allowed us to work remotely. A lot of remote jobs are available now, so, really a bit of planning is all it takes. I don't think I could have done six months just vacationing. I felt working kept us sane and balanced.
We rented an Airbnb in Delhi for two months, did all our paperwork and bought a one-way ticket to Morocco. We needed three main visas: One for the US, a Schengen, and another for Morocco. Nothing after the Morocco-leg was planned, and we decided to take it as it comes. (PS: My family thought it was impossible to travel for so long.)
After soaking in Morocco for a month, we flew out to Spain, from there we went to Sweden, Croatia. Then I took a break for a week while he did Greece with his friends and I came home to attend to a family matter. Followed by Budapest, Germany, Amsterdam, the US, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico and South Korea in the next month.
Gaurav can speak Spanish, so that was a helpful hack for the following South American leg. We celebrated his 30th birthday in Vegas, my 29th birthday in Budapest, spent a night in the Erg Chigaga in the Sahara Desert, swam in an Apoyo lagoon — a volcanic crater lake in Nicaragua, visited Ait-Ben-Haddou, a Game of Thrones filming site, and Teotihuacan, an ancient city in Mexico.
We were pretty efficient with our finances and didn’t hesitate in splurging on occasional meals and experiences, but predominantly set our money aside for unique experiences. Our main rule was never to scrimp — no dorms, no supermarket meals and hailing taxis if the situation demanded it.
Our main saviour was Gaurav's (mostly) successful airline ticket hacks, which helped save us a lot of money. Apart from that, we mostly stayed at moderately-priced places and made calculated decisions such as trying the top-rated TripAdvisor restaurant if the price point was decent and stretching our budget for an apartment if it meant prime location.
Our few splurges were well worth it — a two-day and one-night trip to the Sahara Desert, Gaurav’s 30th birthday in a suite at the Venetian in Vegas, white water rafting and zip lining in Costa Rica and tickets for our first Broadway Musical in New York City.
We didn’t pre-book any tickets and each time our next destination was solely decided by airfares. Whatever was cheapest became our next stop. Also, we packed seriously light. We had one suitcase, one backpack and two personal laptop bags between us.
47 cities (which means packing and unpacking 47 times) later, I was exhausted, but his energy was intact. After the last two weeks in South Korea, the energy dissipated and he was also ready to go home; so, after six months, three continents and enough stories to last a lifetime, we finally went home.
I think travelling in the time of technology made me realise how today we have the luxury of choice and freedom like never before to get for ourselves exactly what’s right for us. Or in the case of dating, find exactly who is right for us. Gaurav and I are perfect for each other, and I would never have found him had I not decided to take the chance and swiped right on his Tinder profile.