Finding Christmas

Finding Christmas

A Story by Mike Messenger

This is a 100% true story about how i met my current girlfriend in Indonesia earlier this year. The story is incomplete and starts abruptly due to it being a continuation of the blog I was also writin


June 4th 2016.


I find myself in a sales office in the town of Senggigi, Indonesia to continue my search for a reasonably priced tour up Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok. I’d already ducked in and out of two empty sales offices after briefly chatting to the person inside and discovering their price is way too high for what I expect to pay. Inside the 3rd travel agents I find two fellow foreigners who I presume to be a couple, already being given the sales pitch by the man inside. I sit and wait patiently for my turn to be fed the sales spiel but as I listen, I notice the girl sat directly in my line of sight. I can tell she’s clearly a traveller from the way she’s dressed, not scruffy but practical. Clearly not just on holiday like so many others I’ve seen here. I catch only brief eye contact with her as she glances over to the route map on the wall behind me, but it’s long enough to notice how blue and stunning her eyes are; the inside is an aqua blue colour with dark speckles and a dark thick rim around the outside to hold everything together. Almost as if they’d been drawn by an artist or designed for a robot, flawless.

She’s pale in complexion with long, thick brown hair and blonde tips that weave down her back. Her nose is unusual but cute, her lips are thin but perfectly shaped, and her chin is strong and defined. Clearly some features are borrowed from her father. I try not to stare but I like the way she looks. I look around the room then always back to her eyes in hope that she turns to me so I can steal another look.

The man finishes explaining the details of the trek to the couple then they both contemplate silently on their phones focusing mainly on the price (I assume). I explain to the man what I am looking for;

“Just one night, just to the rim.” (the rim being just past the halfway point and the iconic view that everyone climbs Rinjani for).

“why not to the top?” He asks in his slow broken English.

I jokingly say “Wouldn’t make it” but I know if I really wanted to then I probably could, as climbing is a hobby of mine. He attempts to sell me two nights on the mountain with an option to go to the top if I fancy it using the two-people sitting before me as bait. Unsure of what to do now I also get my phone out and pretend to be indecisive. In my head, I have already decided that going to my already booked hotel is the best option because a quick decision made now could be a bad one. My focus turns to the guy next to the girl, he’s not the best-looking man if I’m honest but if he’s managed to attract such a beautiful girl then he must be a nice guy. He doesn’t look like a traveller, if I had to guess I’d say he’s on a two-week holiday and it’s his first time in Asia. He doesn’t look like the sort who’s cut out for backpacking based on his age, posture and the way he’s dressed. He has a good head of hair, rimless glasses and a weak chin. 

During quiet conversation between them I pick up two very distinct yet very different accents. One Irish, from the guy, and one American. I figure it’s possible for an American and Irish person to be going out but I’m looking at this guy thinking, how did you manage that?

Eventually I make conversation.

“What do you guys think?” I ask, now undecided of what I’m going to do myself.

The price on the table is a reasonable one and there’s now two people that could be forced to make friends with me over the next few days if we agree to go together.

I get mumbles from them both which is expected as I’m a stranger, but the response suggests they like the price and they want to book, they’re just hesitating to see what I do.

“Maybe I have spent too much time in Asia because I’m sceptical. That price seems a little too good to be true,” I say, fast enough so that they understand me but the man trying to sell the tour won’t be able to follow. His English is sufficient to sell tours to tourists but it’s still slow and broken suggesting he’s out of practice. They agree, and after several more minutes of price checking on our phones we all agree to book the same tour together. The girl clarifies that she would like her own room at the overnight hotel tonight, a clue to my new puzzle. They’re either not together, or things aren’t going smoothly at the minute. I assume the worst but selfishly hope for the best.

Neither of them have enough money to pay the full amount right now so they both get up to find an ATM together. I keep my head down so neither of them catch me trying to sus them out. The guy pauses before he passes me to leave.

“What’s your name?” He asks.

Obviously, we’re going to spend the next few days together we so might as well do introductions now. Normally I’m first in with an introduction as it shows confidence but he beat me to it.

I introduce myself as “Mike.”

He responds with “Tom,” and then “Tori,” from the girl.

We shake. Tom asks where I am from.

“England.” I know he’s already figured that out just as I know he is Irish but it’s my generic response after 4.5 months of travelling.

Tom tells me he’s from Dublin and Tori says “USA.”

“It’s a big place,” I say confidently hinting that she should narrow it down and suggesting that I know my states.

“Washington state,” she replies with hesitance as if to suggest no one has ever heard of it. I acknowledge that I’m aware of it then they leave to get cash out and collect their backpacks from their hotel. I sit and wait in the office as everything I have is in my backpack beside me. I make sure I remember Tom’s name and I know I won’t forget Tori’s.

They return separately, another clue. We pay and set off together to our overnight stay in the mountains with a driver from the office. I start up a conversation with Tom who’s sat in the front seat of the car as he’s the tallest. I purposely focus my questions towards him because I get the impression he doesn’t like me much and to sit in the back and just talk to Tori seems rude and a little too obvious that she’s caught my eye. If I find a question of real interest though I look towards Tori for an answer.

The story goes that Tom is travelling solo for 4 months and Tori is on a 1-month trip just around Indonesia. They met a few weeks ago on another short trek up another mountain and have met again here today to climb Rinjani. Unfamiliar of the pervious trek, I assume they’ve spent some time together and already know plenty about each other. I figure there must have been a connection between them to have met up again and trek together. Not many questions are aimed towards me and the conversation dries up when I stop asking questions. I tend to stop talking after a while due to fear of what’s normal and my lack of social skills. At this point I have assumed Tori is alone and single simply because she’s travelling solo and has met Tom again which must not be upsetting anyone back home. I learn that Tori is 22-years-old and Tom 30.

We arrive at the tour office in the mountains just after lunch where a man explains that the hotel we’re booked into doesn’t have enough rooms for the night so Tom and I have to share. I glance at Tori thinking I’d rather share with her but my thoughts are kept hidden. As Tom had warmed to me slightly in the car we both agreed it’s okay to share for the cost of a free meal on the company. They accept.

After checking into our hotel room, we change clothing then head to a waterfall we’ve been told about nearby.

Along the route I start up a conversation with “Do you have any unusual fears?” Aimed at them both but only really wanting to hear from Tori. I find her attractive but intimidating because she’s so strong and independent.

After several minutes of thinking Tori says “I don’t like feet much,” followed up by supportive laughter from myself and Tom.

I answer next because Tom is still thinking “ET, you know? That evil little alien.”

They both find it hilarious but Tori understands. Tom eventually finds an answer for us but warns that it’s a recent new developing fear of his.

“Blowing up balloons,” said quietly and seriously.

It gets the biggest laugh yet and for good reason. I’ve never heard of a 30-year-old man who is afraid of blowing up balloons before. He cannot really explain his answer, just that it’s recent and unusual.

The conversation develops into a positive one and we get to know each other better through simple and meaningless questions. Tori has a rare, brilliant and sarcastic sense of humour. I’ve never met an American with a sense of humour before. We cannot swim at the first waterfall because there’s no river and it’s crowded with locals so we move onto the next fall. The questioning continues until the path becomes more of a river and the focus has to be on not dying. Tori is prone to falling and of course I’m supportive by laughing.

I stand and admire the next fall’s beauty; it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Several individual falls cling to the rock face, then plummet into an icy pool. In the middle of it all, one raging fall arches metres off the cliff as if to create a shower for giants. As I turn around to ask Tori if she’s going in I find her already undressing down to her swimming costume. I smile in shock but admire the adventurousness she has about her. I nervously join despite not wanting to take my shirt off in front of her because she’s got the sort of body I am naturally attracted to. I steal a quick and sneaky glimpse ensuring not to get caught. We head in together and swim. I stick at the back with Tom so that no one can see me.

We head back. Tori walks on ahead, I stick to the middle, and Tom far behind because he’s struggling with his shoes. I wasn’t sure if Tori wanted some space to herself or we were simply too slow to keep up. When we do catch up there isn’t much of a conversation except for Tom instructing me to save my ice breaking questions for the group tomorrow. We have been told in the office that there will be 8 to 10 of us on the tour.

Back at the hotel we change clothes again and go out for our free meal at the tour office. It feels like we’ve bonded enough to call ourselves friends. I sit opposite Tori which gives me a chance to take in how beautiful she actually is. Her teeth are perfect and white making for an amazing smile. It’s taken me a while to notice because I have been so fixed on her eyes and hair. A local man who works at the company sits with us to practice his English which frankly isn’t great but I can make out every 4th word. His name is Jeegan; a young looking skinny man with dark hair and darker eyes. He compliments me on my size, questioning if I was a military man. I’m not, and never have been, I don’t actually see myself as a big guy but I am hoping his observations will pass onto Tori so she notices I’m in reasonable shape. Tom looks slightly insulted because Jeegan says nothing to him and I feel bad but cannot help but being flattered at the same time.

We depart back towards the hotel but stop off in a bar over the road to play cards and chat some more. During a conversation about Tom’s favourite animal I make Tori a rose from a tissue napkin on the table; a trick I’d learned from a barkeep in Krabi, Thailand earlier in the year. She seems impressed and accepted it gladly. Feeling tired we head to bed separately. I want to ask Tom questions about Tori but I am too afraid of making things awkward so soon and showing my hand to Tom just in case he is holding similar cards. Instead we talked about the task ahead and plan for tomorrow. Tom had already been vocal about the fact he isn’t exactly an outdoors or adventurous man, he’s quite the pessimist.


June 5th 2016


I find Tori sat outside her room ready to go in the morning. She’s writing in a diary which sparks a conversation as I write also. I join her to write my blog on my phone and ask about what she writes. It’s a diary in note form to trigger memories of her travels. I like talking to people about how they remember important times in their lives because I know from experience that memories fade. I had started writing a blog of my travels on the day I left England back in January and haven’t missed a day since.

We head to the office to start our trek. Just several minutes later the truck drops us off at the start point. It’s the wrong end of the trail from what we’ve booked but there’s nothing we can do about it now. The porters have already left and to transfer to the other side would take 1.5 hours. Tom argues with the company but Tori instantly let it go and I soon after. We’d chosen to start at the other end of the trail because the route is said to be slightly easier leaving more energy and chance of reaching the summit.

The trek begins. There’s a group of 8 other people who join us. Most are Dutch, two are Canadian, and then there’s us three. After quick introductions, we break off into small groups, decided by our pace. Tom confidently goes off ahead with two Dutch guy’s despite being very negative about actually reaching the top. I stick with Tori of course. We can hear Tom deep in conversation with the guys from way back in the group. He’s Irish and therefore, loud.

I give us enough time to both break a sweat then continue with my questioning from the day before to distract from the hike. We learn more trivia about each other like our favourite movie and day of the year. The joking never stops and by this point we have a few ‘in’ jokes between us, such as the location of Washington state and the Great Lakes. I always walk in front but wait every time Tori drops back. I cannot help but watch as she climbs up to where I’m standing then greet her with a smile. She isn’t struggling but setting her own steady pace which I am keen to match. We’re both carrying the smallest bags out of everyone. There’s fewer things more attractive than an adventurous girl and this one has the personality and sense of humour to scare me into thoughts of something serious developing.

Several hours later we reach the lunch stop. The clouds surround us and after just 15-minutes of standing still the cold sets in. Everyone adds layers to keep warm but I have nothing more than what I’m already wearing; black shorts, a Craighoppers hiking shirt, a green bandana from Myanmar, several cheap bracelets as tokens from multiple countries and £4 walking shoes from Taiwan. I’ve never felt the cold and hoped that it wouldn’t get much colder than I feel at this moment but inside I am nervous of freezing to death. The Dutch guys spot my tiny shoulder bag and ask me “What’s inside?”

“Oreos, water, crisps, playing cards, underwear and socks... you know, the important stuff.” As funny as I am trying to be it is no lie, this is all I brought. I give Tori some space as we’ve spent all morning together and I still cannot tell if she likes me as anything more than a walking partner.

We do stand together for a moment and I remove a fallen eyelash from her cheek.

“Make a wish then blow,” I say.

She does.

“What did you wish?” I ask.

“‘I can’t tell you otherwise it won’t come true.”

I hope in my head it’s something to do with me but I’ll never find out.

The guide arrives with a Dutch girl who is struggling with the pace just as we start a fire for warmth. He passes me a coat which I’d requested at the start of the trek. The slow Dutch girl spots it and asks for the same but he’s only brought one for me and one for another guy. I immediately give mine away. She’s accepts without hesitation.

I get a compliment from Tom.

“You’re a true gentleman Mike.” I think he likes me now. 

The trek continues after lunch; I walk with Tori and Tim, one of the Dutch men on the tour. Tim is just slightly older than me at 27, on holiday but an experienced traveller and single. He looks a bit like Joey from the TV show Friends, so not a bad looking guy. His pace matches ours and he is up for getting involved in my questioning. I didn’t mind the extra company so that Tori wouldn’t notice I’m only walking with her.

We reach camp before sundown and enjoy the view over the volcano crater. It’s the iconic view I’ve come for. A crater of colossal size, enough to engulf an entire lake and volcano inside. I feel a sense of accomplishment already because this was my goal, to reach this view and I’ve done it in just one day. If I had booked a one-night tour this would be my highest point and tomorrow I would be heading back down. All the memories I’d created with Tori wouldn’t exist and any hope of establishing more than a one-day friend would be lost.

Tori mentions signs of a headache which concerns me as it could be altitude sickness but she explains it’s quite normal and takes some tablets to counter it. I keep an eye on her anyway as altitude sickness can be deadly and I am familiar with the signs from a trek I did to Machu Picchu in Peru several years ago.

We’d spoken with Tom throughout the day at the rest stops when he’d caught up with us, it had become clear to me that he isn’t interested in Tori and he was fine with us going off together without him. I like Tom by this point for his negative outlook on everything and good sense of humour. I wasn’t sure about him at first because negative people can be draining on even the most optimistic people but after getting to know him better I can tell it is all an act to get people laughing. I bet Tori he doesn’t make it to the top. Tori put money on Tim which I think is foolish because Tim is in better shape than me. 

As night falls so does the temperature making the fire essential for warmth. Everyone layers up and huddles around the flames but I have nothing more to wear so I just keep moving and stay close to the fire, pretending to keep it alive.

I notice Tori shivering which genuinely concerns me so I offer her to join me and Tim in our tent tonight for the extra warmth. She gladly accepts. I want to put my arms around her to share my body heat but I thought after just two days of knowing each other it might be an odd thing to do.

We head to bed. I lay in the middle of them both, not because I want to but to keep Tim from slipping his arm around Tori in the middle of the night " not that it would happen. I hadn’t detected anything between them earlier in the day but he had let slip that he’s a cheat and a player to us during conversation. I still like him despite this.


June 6th 2016


I didn’t sleep much. Being in the middle didn’t give me much room to stretch or turn in the night so I just lay still and awake with my thoughts of what the hell I’m doing here. I’m always the last person asleep when it’s not just me in the room. I think my “dad mode” kicks in and I have to ensure everyone else is okay before it’s safe for me to sleep. The others seemed to sleep just fine. I foolishly take a look at myself using my front facing camera on my phone in the morning. It’s not a good look. I look tired and old and I know my hair will be an awful greasy mess so I keep my bandana on at all times. 

The trek starts early down into the crater to the lake. Tori and I walk ahead of the group together and I turn the conversation to deeper more meaningful subjects like home and love.

I know it will be a rare opportunity to get to know each other properly so I am eager to take advantage. After several questions of home and a conversation about my visit to Washington state next year I work the conversation to “Have you ever been in love?”

“No.” An unexpected reply.

For someone so young yet so experienced in the world I thought it would have happened at least once in her life. But no, she’s had her priorities elsewhere and the right person hasn’t yet come along. It’s a rare response to that question but it shows someone is in touch with their feelings. Most people just say yes and think back to their school days when it wasn’t love but lust at best. As the conversation grows deeper I am able to build up the confidence to compliment Tori on her new way of life as well as her beautiful robot eyes and perfect smile. She also compliments my eyes in return calling them “my best feature.” I’m not sure if it is just a safe generic response or if she does actually mean it.

Down at the lake we realise just how far ahead of everyone else we are. The walk down passed us by as quickly as yesterday. It was the first step towards opening up to each other I thought. I find Tori easy to talk to and very engaging in conversation.

We both want to cool off and rather than wait for everyone else to arrive we disappear separately into the bushes to change into our swimming costumes then jump in. Another opportunity for me to check out Tori at her best. I get the impression that she is confident in the way she looks now but perhaps that wasn’t always the case. I think she looks amazing but I’m not ready to tell her that yet. Sharing the lake privately is an experience I won’t forget. We continue talking and laughing until the others arrive then we join them at some hot springs just around the corner.

Tori walks in her bikini which doesn’t seem to bother her but I am more shy about walking with my shirt off. It’s a personality trait I just can’t shake.

At the hot spring I have a quick swim in the largest pool whilst everyone else just dips their legs in and chats. I notice Tori sat covering her waist with her arms. I know she has nothing to be ashamed of but I like that she does it. Shyness is an attractive quality; anyone who is too confident in the way they look either becomes vain or un-shamefully inappropriate.

We continue upwards after lunch by the lake with Tim. It’s several more difficult hours up but knowing that tomorrow will be the hardest day makes today slightly easier somehow.

At camp I find Tori staring at the summit which we’ll be attempting tomorrow morning.

I feel we know each other well enough for me to ask “What are you thinking about?”

I think the answer is made up because I suspect her thoughts are scrambled or she was singing a catchy tune from a TV advert. It didn’t matter what she was thinking about though, I just wanted to talk to her more. I expected the conversation just to stay between us but everyone gathers around and we end up in a debate about the hike tomorrow morning.

Tim suggests we share one tent again which is a relief after my imposing offer of the two of us joining him without me actually asking first the night before. The night ends early again after a stunning sunset behind a neighbouring mountain.

After saying goodnight, I ask “Have you taken your contacts out?” To Tori as the previous night she had slept in them which I know is bad for your eyes. She had so I can sleep soundly.


June 7th 2016


At 2 am we wake together and start the hike. Tim and I don’t have our own torch so Tori becomes our guide in the darkness. I walk ahead at times after my eyes have adjusted to the darkness but we stick together as a team. The hike is tough because of the loose sand-like ash which swallows my entire foot with every step. We are all too tired to get into any kind of conversation except for discussing how difficult the walk is. In the final stretch we all rely on each other for motivation and together we push to the top. It’s a team effort that makes the accomplishment even more rewarding. I want to give Tori a hug in congratulations but I settle on a high five to play it cool.

We sit together and wait for the sun to rise. The view slowly goes from darkness to silhouettes of distant mountains. It looks as though this is the highest point on earth and given how I feel it might as well be. Tori and I go cold so we sit close but I’m still not brave enough to put my arm around her. I know I might regret this later in life but I don’t want her memory of this achievement to be tainted by a creepy stranger trying to grope her. It is a beautiful moment I was happy to share with two new friends.

Tom joins us on the top around 20-minutes after the sun is up. His best comment of the whole trip comes at the top.

“It’s not even worth it, the view is the same from down there.” Said whilst still trying to catch his breath.

Although I feel proud of myself for achieving such a difficult climb I have this sense of pride for Tori because I know at that point she’s been through a lot from the stories she’s shared with me but has come out on top, literally. 

Tim, Tori and I head down together counting the number of times each of us fall. Tori is a clear winner with over 16 falls along the entire trek. I like that she can laugh it off and laugh at herself when something embarrassing happens. I stopped asking if she’s okay after the first day we walked together because it was obvious that she always will be. She’s a strong girl and doesn’t need anyone to take care of her.

Back at camp I take the mobile numbers of those I plan to keep in contact with. I turn to Tori first and get her number and email just in case. I don’t want to risk losing contact over something silly like a typo. She takes mine as security which I like. It feels like our time together is quickly coming to an end because people have started saying goodbye even though we have a 7-hour hike down ahead of us.

We all head down in a group but again Tori and I end up alone and ahead.

“If I was to visit Washing state what is the main thing I should see?” " my conversation starter which I feel is my biggest hint yet that I want to see her again.

Tori’s voice changes when she answers a serious question with a serious answer, it softens and becomes more feminine. She tells me her favourite things to do which mainly involve camping in spots that aren’t known to outsiders " my idea of fun.

“I’m serious about visiting you know?” I maintain eye contact as I say it.

“You mean it?” She says in her soft voice. I’m not usually keen on American accents but for some reason I like hers very much.

“I do.”

We talk about meeting in Banff, Canada to go snowboarding in January, then in June I’d visit Washington to see the Great Lakes and go camping. Tori would visit me in September or as soon as she could for a UK tour with me. They are perfect summer plans which for me were more than just a dream. I think Tori feels the same way too. I know she is serious despite us still not talking about being anything more than friends.

There was one last lunch stop half way down the trail for our final vegetarian noodles and rice. I show Tori my bucket list as we’d talked about it earlier. I point out one which might surprise her that I haven’t done yet " skinny dipping. She seems surprised but I explain that it’s not a British thing to do. Tom joins us which changes the tone of the conversation slightly but that perhaps isn’t a bad thing.

Finally, the trek is complete. After a long drive back and a few goodbyes to the group we found ourselves the same 3 we started out as. Tom, Tori and I in Senggigi. Still unsure of what any of us will do next we all book into the same hotel. Tom has booked online so his room is sorted. Upon check-in, they informed me that they either have a double room or a twin available. I look to Tori for confirmation of what she’d prefer (her own double bed and I’ll find another hotel or to share a room with me) but she dismisses the decision back to me so I opt for the twin. We say goodnight to Tom then go upstairs to the room. We both feel so dirty in a room that is so clean. Laughter fills the silence caused by relief that it is over. The room is basic but large enough for two people and has a good size wet room complete with waterfall shower. The walls and bedsheets are so white it almost hurts my eyes. Minutes after we closed the door a member of staff knocks to provide us with two freshly made watermelon juice drinks. It feels like a 5-star hotel compared to our last 2 nights.

I sort out my bag whilst Tori showers. I have a flight already booked out of Indonesia to Bangkok at midday tomorrow. I wasn’t sure at this point if I’d make the flight because it would involve getting up around 5am to catch a boat to the island of Bali then a bus to the airport. Being the sensible character I am I have decided I should try despite wanting to stay in Indonesia for longer and more importantly, with Tori.

We discuss it briefly but settle on “I’d lose too much money if I miss it so I will go.”

We lay on our separate beds with the lights still on to use the Wi-Fi on our phones as we’ve both been “missing” for the past 4 days. No one seemed to care or even notice that I was gone. Eventually we both put our phones away and make small talk about the people on the trek. The conversation grows as it had before.

It starts to get late when Tori asks me more personal questions. We’d joked earlier that day about what percentage we probably know about each other after just 3 days. Tori said around 75% and I said nearer 90%.

“What do I need to ask to get the last 10%?” She asks.

I quickly object as my 10% is filled with the stories that very few people know.

We continue to talk normally but eventually make a deal to share something from our 10%. Unsure of what to tell me Tori lets me ask a question. I instantly know what I am curious about but don’t know if I can or should ask. I make sure it’s clear that she doesn’t have to answer if she’d prefer not to.

“What made you give up drinking?” My heart races as I ask. It’s such a personal question and one that could spark a whole array of emotions. During our trek down to the lake yesterday there was a hint of a drinking problem that not many people knew about. I didn’t want to ask about it then because the time wasn’t right. But now I’ve asked and there is no turning back.

Tori tells me the shortened but full story of how it started and why it ended. It’s the kind of story that you expect to hear from a 45-year-old man who’s recently divorced due to a drinking problem and had gone through a rough time in his life. Unsure of what to say or do now I fight the urge to climb onto the next bed and give a heart filled hug.

“That’s amazing,” I say.

I am genuinely stunned by the story and the willpower shown to have a better life. The girl I see laying across from me doesn’t look like the sort to have such a dynamic back story.

The girl I see would never break any laws or disrespect anyone. She has full control over her mind and life in my opinion. I tell her just how impressive I think she is.

It becomes my turn to share a story or secret. I offer up two because of how open the conversation has become.

“My best friend Jess used to be my girlfriend.” I had talked about Jess a lot during the trip because she’s such a good friend to me. It’s caused me so many issues in past relationships despite the girlfriend saying “oh that’s in the past I don’t mind you still being friends at all”. If only that were true. It’s a lame secret to the point it’s not a secret at all. Everyone in my life knows how Jess and I met. It’s become easier to tell people we’ve always just been friends.

My other story is about my last girlfriend; the only girl I have ever loved along with the real reason why I have come travelling.

“I don’t want to tell you this next story because I don’t want you to change your opinion of me.” I say with a broken voice because my mouth’s gone dry.

Something Tori won’t understand unless I admit I like her. I tell my story starting with the real reason why I took this trip.

“It’s not to see the world or find myself or my place. It’s not because my parents did it when they were younger or because I don’t like living in England. I did it because the relationship with a girl I was in love with was never going to work in the lives we were living at the time. But we both had travel dreams and I thought if I come here we would find each other again and our lives would work this time.” I explain.

My motto is “It’s a risk worth taking to have a life worth living.” I say with rhythm as it’s a lyric from a song I like.

“My risk was giving up on someone I loved to hopefully find them again and be happy.”

There’s a pause as Tori processes the story. I was scrambled to say the least because I’ve never told anyone before. Not even Jess who I tell everything to, knows that I’m out here hoping to find Bee again. I fill the silences with more information as it comes into my head but I know that any hopes of Tori and I becoming anything more than friends have just been dashed. I’m no expert but I don’t think girls like it when guys are pining after another girl. I then realise something which I have to share. Normally I think about Bee every day without fail if only for a few seconds. But since meeting Tori I hadn’t thought about her once until this moment. It clicks in my head that I do really like Tori a lot. I turn over several times throughout our conversation, not because I’m uncomfortable but because I am hoping my body will have the confidence to do what my mind cannot. Move to the other bed.  

The subject changes constantly as the night grows later. The conversation becomes more positive and upbeat again through silly questions. To fill a silence, I start speaking without thinking of the consequences.

“I’ve become terrible at reading signs; you know? Life would be so much easier if everyone had a bubble above their head that said what they’re really thinking.”

I thought it would be a hint that I am still unclear of what signs I should be reading.

Tori agrees then asks “What would yours say right now?”

At this point I’m thinking damn, is this it? Is this how I admit I like her because I know mine would say “I like you”.

I don’t answer.

Tori says hers is “I’m happy,” a very sweet response I thought.

Eventually I make something up to satisfy closure of the question. It’s a small white lie but after just a few hours’ sleep we will be saying goodbye so to start anything now wouldn’t make any sense.


June 8th 2016


I wake with my alarm to catch my boat to the airport. Tori remains in bed but watches as I gather my things together. After washing my face in the bathroom, I walk back in the room to find Tori very alert. She looks even more beautiful in the morning light.

“Are you going to catch your flight?” She asks. There’s a disappointed tone I’d detect from a mile off. I stop packing, stare directly at her and say the truth.

“I don’t want to but I probably should. What do you think I should do?”

“Stay.” Her immediate response.

The decision is made. Tori wants me to stay, so I stay.

I climb back into my own bed and we lay awake looking at each other but nothing is awkward. It’s a clue that Tori likes me more than I thought. There’s a sense of relief. Not only do I not have to risk rushing across islands to potentially miss a flight I didn’t want to catch. But now I know Tori wants to spend more time with me and staying has bought us 3 more nights together.

I go and order breakfast to the room so we can create a plan for the coming days.

Tom hears us talking and comes up to say hello. He’s established that I’ve purposefully missed my flight and I think he suspects something has happened between Tori and I last night, but it hadn’t. We decide an island is what we both want to let our bodies recover and to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Indonesia. Both of us had already visited Gili T (a party island) and Gili Air (a quieter but still popular island) but not Meno as that’s considered the honeymoon island. It was Tori’s original plan to head there for a few days and first off it was our best option.

We head down to reception to check out and find Tom having his breakfast. He mentions an island called Gili Nanggu that isn’t well known by tourists but is meant to be paradise. He’d heard about it during a snorkelling tour he did from Gili T last week.

“I don’t even know if there’s places to stay there,” he tells us.

All we know now is that there’s a boat from a port 1-hour away on mainland Lombok to the island that takes around 15-minutes. Tom has already decided to stay in Senggigi for one more night but comments that he “wishes he could join us.”

I don’t take it as a hint for an invite but maybe I miss it. We say our goodbyes then walk to the port in town. As we approach a man tells us that the next boat leaving from here isn’t until 3pm and it only goes to Bali. We both believe him and explain where we’re trying to get to. He offers us a car to the south port which we accept for a good enough price. Along the drive he makes a few calls to find us a boat to the island. At first the price is far too high so he plays the Too Expensive Card with his contact at the port which works in our favour. They call him back and agree to take us on the slow boat for 100 IDR each. The port we get dropped off at isn’t anything like what I expected. There’s no sales offices or tourist boats, in fact no one is around. We walk along the harbour to meet a man who’s going to take us in his boat. It’s a tiny wooden blue and white boat that looks barely seaworthy but it is floating for now. We board and begin to cross the ocean at a gentle pace. I asked Tori if we should create an alternative persona so we can sell a different story of lies to everyone we meet on the island.



She likes the idea very much and tells me her usual alter ego is “Anastasia Beaverhousen.”

“I’ll be Rodger Beaverhousen” I say, thinking of James Bond and trying to avoid the name of one her ex boyfriends. It’s an unofficial conversation about being a couple on this island without having to say it. At least, it is for me.

The man points out the island we are heading to as it appears into view. Just a few huts line the beachfront with its golden white sand, clear waters and no tourists in sight.

“Do you have a room booked?” He asks.

We don’t, but we agree that if there’s no rooms available we’re going to sleep on the beach. The boat lands right onto the beach as there’s no port. At the wood built lodge reception, the man confirms they do have a room available. We pay a small amount extra for a beachfront cabin with balcony. It is paradise after all. The room is a double which I point out to Tori as the man unlocks the door, she says nothing. The view and the room is stunning; a first-floor bungalow with woven bamboo leaf roof and bamboo furniture. The windows and doors aren’t sealed so the temperature inside will match that of outside and there’s no air-conditioning, just a fan. The view from the balcony stretches out over the beach and endless ocean. It is a paradise view and a perfect location. Tori seems just as happy as I am with the setting. I say nothing about the bed but it’s on my mind what Tori is thinking about it.

On the way to the islands only restaurant in the compounds of the islands only resort where we’re staying a member of staff tells me there’s a turtle sanctuary. We stop off to take a look. There’s four pools of baby turtle all smaller than 6-inches-long and full of life. We want to play with them all and release them into the ocean but I do understand why they’re trying to protect them; to increase the numbers in the wild.

The restaurant is basic but quaint and the staff lovely. We are the only people in the place and I get the impression we’re the only tourists on the whole island. We have lunch and chat some more about all sorts of things. The conversations between us haven’t really stopped since we first met. I feel like I’ve known Tori for a very long time but in reality, it’s been 4 days. We eat then walk as far around the island as we can get with a new companion called Snowy, a beautiful stray white dog.

The beach we’re staying on has been dubbed “Beaverhousen Beach” because it’s ours. The whole island seems to be ours. It is the start of our own country as the stories spark from the imagination of two young idealists. The staff here assume we are together which is made obvious by the surprise in their voice when they ask “Where are you from?” and we answer with two different countries.

It’s time to cool off with a swim on our own beach. I foolishly leave my snorkel and mask too close to the water before I run in, that when I look back it has been washed away. We both spend 10-minutes searching but I know it is lost. Ensuring not to let it bother me we hold a funeral in the water and I say a few words about my late friend. Just minutes later though I managed to find it.

We spend hours in the water, swimming and chatting until the sun sinks behind the bungalow turning the water instantly colder. I jump in the shower located under our room. Tori waits outside but I know she must be shivering.

I stick my head out the door to her “You coming in?”

It’s forward of me to invite a girl into my shower but we are both covered up still. She joins me and we wash the sand off but I’m too shy and decide this isn’t the moment to attempt a first kiss.

There’s nothing to do on the island at night so I suggest we watch a movie on my laptop. I put Men in Black 3 on and we lay pretty close but I’m still too shy to make a move. It doesn’t take long for us both to drift in and out of sleep and we get closer until we’re almost cuddling but not quite.

Scared that I might miss my first and possibly only opportunity to skinny dip, I tell Tori “We should go down to the beach now before we both fall asleep.”

She follows gladly. The beach is unlit which is lucky but we’re sure the island is empty anyway. I’m nervous. I’ve never done this before and now I’m supposed to take all of my clothes off in front of a girl I really like. We scan the darkness around the beach for signs of life but it’s quiet. Tori starts to undress and I follow. She’s naked before I am and runs to the water without me. I chase once everything is off. I catch just a quick glimpse of her body but it’s enough to admire just how perfect she is.

I run in until the water covers me above the waist despite it being slightly cold. I stay close to Tori. I don’t really know what to do now, I’ve never done this before. I know that I want to kiss her but I’m still scared and unsure if it’s what she wants too. I’ve become terrible at reading the signs it seems. Whilst moving around in the water Tori notices tiny lights under the surface. There’s glowing fluorescent plankton all around us. Lighting up when disturbed they became a sea of stars as we wave our fingers and arms through the water. It comes and goes as we find shoals of them but the feeling creates endless laughter as if we both have a magic power to create glitter that dances around us to light up the night. Overhead is endless bright stars in every direction competing for our attention with the plankton. I feel like a child on Christmas morning; it’s the most amazing thing I have ever seen or experienced and I have Tori stood right in front of me to share and remember it with.

We continue to laugh every time we find a large group of them. I’ve become vocal about my feelings since being away, something I was never good at before.

“This is amazing,” I exclaim.

“Yeah it’ll do I guess,” Tori jokes back.

I take one step towards her so I’m stood directly in front of her as she admires the stars above. Her gaze lowers to me as I say “What about me?”

“I guess you’ll do too.” She says with a cheeky smile.

Finally, I work up the courage and pick the perfect moment for our first kiss. There is still a small risk that I could ruin everything but I’d read it right. We wrap our arms around each other and make out in the water, still surrounded by plankton which occasionally come in for a nibble.

Lit up by the stars above and the plankton below we get closer until I’m holding her body in my arms with her legs wrapped around me. I cannot control my excitement; it won’t take long before she feels it. I’m not sure of what to do except continue and go with it. If she wants me to stop I know she will stop me. There’s nothing that life could offer to make this moment any better. We’re two young people that have found each other under the smallest of possibilities. Walking into that office at the right moment, building a strong bond from nothing in just a few days, taking a chance by missing my flight and coming to this island together. We deserve this happiness for all that we’ve done.

We run from the beach to the shower which we share and pick up where we left off in the ocean. I get to see her body properly for the first time even though we leave the light off through shyness. Eventually we move upstairs to the bedroom.


June 9th 2016


I’m woken by a bright yellow sky over the ocean but I don’t climb out of bed to take a photo. I have Tori laying right next to me. Nothing could be more beautiful to me right now. I cuddle up to her so she wakes and I point out the sun rise but she doesn’t move either. We fall back to sleep in each other’s arms to dream about the perfect day we had yesterday.

We start our day with endless smiles. Unsure if last night was just a perfect dream because it’s Hollywood movie magic or if life had, for the first time been better than any fantasy possibly could. It’s all so unexpected and unplanned that my mind is scrambled. This sort of thing has never happened to me before. Tori admits she thought this was all one big plan I had to get her into bed. It really wasn’t. Finally, the truth comes out from both of us; how much we like each other, our thoughts, feelings, a relieving truth from Tori. Both in nirvana that I stayed when instructed. 

We hire kayaks from the resort and float out to sea for a relaxing paddle and chat. A neighbouring island becomes our destination but as we get close to shore the waves build and staying straight becomes a priority so’s not to capsize. Tori is ahead because she has a double ended paddle. Mine is broken but I’d managed to keep up thus far. Just before landing a wave turns her kayak sideways then flips it over. There’s nothing I can do but watch and try to get in to help. She stands and she’s fine. Just a few grazes along the ribs but she’s tough.

I land safely. We walk along the beach but the tide is too strong to swim from here or even just sit and relax so we head back out. I carry all our things and walk Tori out to safety then follow as best I can. We let the current gently carry us away then head back like champion kayakers just before our time is up.

Time to go snorkelling. Just off Beaverhousen Beach is a healthy reef abundant with fish. Tori is also a diver so being in the water is second nature to her. We spend about 40-minutes watching the colourful fish swim around us. I have to admit that my attention is mostly spent on Tori as she swims around me. She dives down to pick up a plastic bottle resting on the bottom. My heart melts.

We head in, shower, change and have dinner at our usual table where we’ve sat for every meal. A few other people have arrived to our island but we let them stay. In the room, we play cards on the balcony and watch as a storm brews out at sea. It would have been incredible to see a tropical storm and we’ve both agreed to dance in the rain if it arrives, but it never does.

It’s our last night on the island. Over dinner we both run out of energy but cannot understand why. As we head back to the room I suggest we go for a dance on the beach. Tori agrees. I grab my speaker and play songs through my phone. Trying to keep a certain mood I put my favourites playlist on then lead the dancing with a Ballroom class. It creates laughter as we’re both terrible then as the music changes Tori introduces me to her way of dancing. Feet still, arms limp and shake from the shoulders. It’s the future of dancing if you ask me. The music, warm sea air and amazing company sends me back into childhood again as I become more alive than I’ve ever felt. We run around like fools then sit and star gaze under a shadow from the trees. Several shooting star pass overhead, I always make a wish but I don’t tell Tori that.

During our attempts at philosophical conversation Tori learns that I’ve never been buried in the sand. Now seems like a good a time as any so we pick our spot and start digging. I’m wearing my cream coloured jeans as it’s the only clothing I have clean but in that moment but I don’t care. I can’t take my eyes off of Tori as she moves around my legs to build a tail. She’s beautiful in every light and all times of day. There hasn’t been once that I’ve looked at her and thought “no”. I’d fallen hard. In my head, I am thinking nothing could ever top last night’s perfection but tonight is its own bliss. The night ends as passionately as the previous.


June 10th 2016


It’s time to leave but neither of us want to go. It feels like a second goodbye even though we’re going together for one more night on Bali. The mood at breakfast is glum. We say our goodbyes to the staff and the island. The memory is immortalised in photographs taken like a true couple on our beach. Thoughts of the last two nights’ race through my head as we enjoy the sand under our feet for the final time. This will forever be our spot and I hope that we will one-day return to re-live it all again.

The same fisherman’s boat slowly carries us back to the mainland then we board the first ferry we find that’s crossing to Bali. Expecting a 1-to-2-hour journey as the distance isn’t that great, we soon realise this could take considerably longer due to the speed the ferry is now moving. Several hours later we’re no further from shore than when we started. We try to stay positive because we’re still together but I just want to be cuddled up with Tori in a nice hotel room on Bali. So many emotions have surfaced over the last two days that the thought of saying goodbye is really bringing me down.

The sky changes colour as the sun starts to set.

“Shall we Titanic?” I ask.

There’s a smile and a nod.

I lead to the front right side of the ferry for the view of the sun sitting low in the sky. We admire the view of the distant mountains of Bali then I stand behind and wrap my arms around her waist.

“Do you trust me?” I whisper in her ear.

I get a nod.

“Close your eyes.” I whisper again.

I raise her arms up like wings and run my fingers through hers. It’s the most I can remember from the movie but it’s enough to create another amazing memory.

We look to the left to find the Captain and co-pilot watching us. I hope they thought it is as romantic as I did. We are an unofficial couple like no-other. Together we feel invincible and our happiness cannot be rivalled even by those who have been happily married for years.

Eventually, we land on Bali but it’s already early evening. We find a nearby restaurant for some western food then walk until we find a nice-looking homestay with air-conditioning and a hot shower.

A nice lady checks us in. My thoughts focus on what is going to happen now. I have a flight to Bangkok booked for tomorrow but I don’t want to leave. If it was possible to continue travelling with Tori or fly home with her I would, but it isn’t. I make sure she knows how I feel. We both shower then climb into bed.

“I want to give you something,” I say, followed by a gentle kiss.

I love the way we kiss, its soft, hard, passionate and emotion-filled. I reach over the bed to get something off the side table. A miniature Lego version of myself that I’ve been carrying since departing England.

“I want you to have this so I will always be with you.” It’s a cheesy line but I wanted to leave something of myself behind to be remembered by. The reaction is as hoped, she loves it.

“I want to give you something else,” I say again with a kiss.

“My favourite bracelet,” removed just minutes ago from my collection.

I put it on her wrist, it’s a little big but the thought is there.

“I’m coming back for this,” I say, trying to prove to her that this isn’t goodbye.

She’s smitten.

“I want to give you something now,” she says.

We cuddle then after a few minutes she removes her ring and passes it to me. I’m reluctant to accept because it’s a beautiful ring that I know she treasures. I accept it with a completely melted heart. It’s the sweetest gesture I’ve ever received.

Neither of us want to fall asleep. We talk into the early hours about the last few days and the future. I’m in love with the sound of “You promise” every time she says it. So beautifully innocent as if she’s in love with me, but she’s not. I try to find the words that explain how I feel but it seems almost impossible. In fear of scaring her away by coming on too strong we turn to a physically loving night as our last exchange of emotions.


June 11th 2016


The day arrives despite my wishes to make it wait. We have to say goodbye in just an hour. I wake early to ensure a long cuddle before we leave. Over breakfast I’m told my driver has arrived. I run upstairs to collect my bags and Tori follows. We cuddle outside the room but I can feel her heart falling in my arms. I pull her inside for privacy and she lets me see that those perfect robot eyes are actually human. I repeat the things I’d been saying all night; that this isn’t goodbye and I will see her as soon as I can. It wasn’t the end of an adventure but the beginning. Our lives have a whole new meaning; filled with excitement, curiosity, fear, love and for the immediate future, distance. Tori pulls her emotions together, holds out her hand for a shake which I love then says goodbye. I have to walk away, if I don’t I will never leave. I am positive I will see this girl again. If my mother wasn’t arriving into Bangkok today things would have been different. We have to be strong until we can be together again.




























Chapter Two


22nd August 2016


My flight lands in Washington earlier than scheduled but only by 15-minutes. The last communication I had with Tori is 11 hours out of date, from a different time zone and another country. I have no doubt she’ll be at the airport waiting for me but what I don’t know is how she’ll feel when she sees me or vice versa. The last time we saw each other was June 11th, 72 days ago. We have spoken almost every day as much as possible - the exceptions being when I haven’t had WI-FI or Tori has been busy. The friendship we made in Indonesia was strong and the relationship we’ve built through technology means that both of us will be approaching today with nothing held back. I’ve come to America to visit Tori, nothing else. We’ve been open about feelings for the last few months and we probably know more about each other than most couples living together. There is a risk that this digital relationship could fail in reality because we simply don’t work well together. But that’s what I’m here to find out.

I connect to the airport WI-FI to let Tori know I’ve arrived. She replies to say she’s just parking. I’ve been travelling for over 20-hours and having crossed the International Date Line I’m now back to 13:00 despite having left South Korea at 18:30 the same day. I want to make the best possible impression on Tori by wearing clothes that I feel I look good in; I’ve gone for brown tailor made chinos, a maroon/red long sleeve top and red knock-off Converse. I hope with my backpack on one shoulder I’ll look exactly like the man she remembers as I appear through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ door.

As I wait for my bag Tori messages me to say she’s waiting at carousal 13. I’m waiting for my bag at 32 but start to panic because I haven’t had time to compose myself yet. My bag arrives and I follow the signs for the exit which leads me onto a train. I figure it’s not possible for Tori to be in this part of the airport without a ticket so I decide my best chance of finding her is to head toward the exit.

The train causes me to disconnect from the WI-FI and as I arrive in the main airport I cannot get reconnected. Tori is nowhere to be seen. I quickly check how bad I look in the bathroom mirror then walk up and down looking for Tori but we don’t find each other. In the lost baggage office I ask a member of staff to put out an announcement for Tori Wood to come to their office. Just 30-seconds later she appears. 

Wearing her best smile, she skips towards me holding a handwritten sign saying “Mr. Beaverhousen”, a lovely touch. We hug for shorter than I expected but both of us are conscious about public affection. Our eyes lock as we release; I get to see those big blue robot eyes again for the first time in a long time. The look upon her face tells me that she’s missed me, then a long-awaited kiss acts as acknowledgment that we’re more than just friends now but again is short due to our surroundings.

As we walk towards the carpark I pull a silk made red rose from my back pocket and give it to Tori with a smile. She’s surprised and accepts it with warm appreciation.

The conversation between us starts off slow due to my zombie-like state of mind and Tori being aware that I must be tired.

Whilst talking about my flight I focus on the clothes she’s wearing; blue denim jeans (something I have never seen Tori wear in person) and a grey t-shirt. I like how casual it is. I never expected a dress or anything fancy because it’s Tori so the outfit suits her personality perfectly. She’s sensibly dressed but it still gives me the chance to admire her curves.

She looks different to how I remember, maybe because I’m under tired eyes. It’s definitely no bad thing because I cannot seem to take my eyes off of her. She’s gorgeous and sexy without even trying. Her hair falls perfectly down her back and catches the light in such a way that make it appear shining.

We get outside into the carpark; the bright light is harsh to my eyes as I’ve been indoors and under artificial light and darkness for what feels like an eternity. I have to squint but I still struggle to look beyond the ground in front of me. I meet Steve Tori’s’ car, it’s a Subaru Outback; a car we do not have in England so I’m not familiar with it. It’s maroon red with grey bumpers and a little beaten up. 

As we drive towards our overnight Motel I start to feel more awake but the best conversation I can muster is about the differences between American cars and roads compared to the UK. The pickup trucks here are considerably bigger than home as are most of the cars and lorries.

We also talk about some differences in the names of things like “trucks and lorries”.

It’s an odd starting conversation considering how long it’s been since we last met but I just cannot come up with anything better.

We pull into the Motel Tori has pre-booked for us. It’s basic and a little way out of the city but we both agreed some private time is what we want.

An overly friendly American man checks us in. The room is on the second floor and is heavily outdated. It has a large double bed and hot shower which is all we really need though.

It doesn’t take us long to become reacquainted again. Every kiss comes with a powerful feeling as if it could move mountains. The sex feels different to when we were together in Indonesia. I think we are both more confident and slightly eager to make up for lost time so nothing is held back. Needless to say, it is amazing. 

We shower together which brings back memories of Gili Nanggu for me. I haven’t stopped thinking about the first time we showered together after swimming in the sea.

I unpack my bag because Tori has brought me a box which I sent to her from Asia. It’s filled with some clothes which I wasn’t using anymore and some gifts for her. I organise my things then start to hand Tori her presents.

I start with a blue T-shirt with a picture of a funny dog that says “Whatever. Feed me”. I picked it up in Thailand because it’s very Tori.

I also give her a red Batman T-shirt for her to wear in the bedroom as a “I want you now” sign, and a black T-shirt with a boy pouring water onto the ground that makes up a picture of the world. I liked it a lot and wanted to get one for myself but I didn’t get a chance to buy a second one.

Finally, I give her 3 wooden dinosaurs which are 3D puzzles; they’re not difficult puzzles but I wanted to give her something dinosaur related because I know she likes dinosaur things.

She’s more than happy with all of the gifts and tells me I’ve given her way too much.

I have very little US dollar in cash so we drive to the 7/11 down the road before heading out for dinner. The ATM gives me a message that suggests there’s a problem with my bank and I will be unable to withdraw any cash until I contact them. I am aware of a restriction on my card currently but up to this point I have always been able to withdraw cash out of ATMs.

Dinner comes from a Mexican restaurant not too far away. It’s been a few years since I was in the states, I had forgotten how big the portion sizes are. My plate arrives, it’s big enough to fill my half of the table. I’m hungry so I’m happy but in the back of my mind I’m thinking about regaining the 7kg I’ve lost this year.  I like the way I look now, thinner and more lean so if I can avoid putting it all back on in 4 weeks I will.

We both feel full and tired after the meal; I finish all but one bite of my enchiladas but Tori struggles to make a dent in her plate. We pay and walk back. I give Tori another present; a miniature silver spoon because she’s my little spoon. It’s a pendant for a necklace but I didn’t bring any chains because the quality of chains in Asia was very poor. We improvise by using a spare black rope chain I have. I also give her some earrings in the shape of doughnuts and dogs heads. I thought they were cute and Tori seems to love them. It’s still early, around 8:30pm but both of us are tired enough to fall asleep in each other’s arms.






23rd August 2016

We wake with the morning light. Neither of us want to rise but Tori is keen to show me around her state and I am interested to see it.

The drive into Seattle City centre takes around 40-minutes. The conversation still hasn’t grown beyond differences between the US and UK. I try not to focus on it but I start to worry that maybe we talked too much over text and now we have less to say. I hope that it’s just because we’re both tired still. Tori parks and guides me to a famous Market in town along the estuary. We head down a side road before going indoors.

“Hold on.” Tori stops me half way down the street to find something in her small handmade handbag.

She hands me some red chewing gum. I don’t ask why. We continue to walk down the sloped road whilst chewing until the reason for the gum becomes obvious.

What can only be described as an attempt at modern art appears into view. A narrow alleyway separating two red brick built buildings coated in peoples chewing gum from ground to overhead height. Every inch of wall has been covered with multi-coloured gum. In places, people have attempted to write their name or have stuck polaroid’s of themselves up with their gum. As disgusting as it is I think it’s nice for a city to have an unusual unique feature. Paris has the lovers bridge where couples lock away secret and throw away the key, Seattle has a chewing gum wall. We choose an empty spot to place our gum. It’s far from a romantic moment but it’s different and has become a tourist attraction so obviously, we had to do it. I did find it odd that people wanted a photo of themselves in front of the wall.

The market is busier than expected and there appears to be more tourists than local people buying from the merchants inside. I didn’t expect Seattle to be a popular place for tourists but it’s good that the American people are travelling their own country too.

We slowly walk through admiring the handmade crafts. I buy myself a patch of Seattle to add to the collection. Towards the end of the market we walk out to a viewpoint overlooking the bay. It’s a pretty city from what I’ve seen of it so far.

We head towards the Space Needle; an iconic landmark for the Seattle skyline.

Tori confirms the round building on top of the tower isn’t a landed alien spaceship. We’d already decided it’s too expensive to go up the Needle and that another tall building would make for a better viewpoint because then the photos will have the tower in them. Instead we walk into a park behind the Needle and quickly find the Science Museum. A poster advertising a Lego art exhibition catches my eye. I’m fascinated by what people can create with Lego so we decide to go in despite the ticket being more expensive than we thought because you have to pay entry into the Museum also. I figure we can see what other exhibits they have.

We head straight for the Lego art hall. Inside we find a collection of sculptures all based off of real life artwork or statues. Some of them work really well but others don’t look too great. We were told as we entered not to touch any of the pieces but Tori tells me she’s already touched one. She dares me to touch a dinosaur skeleton which I do after a little hesitation and joking. It lightens the mood and starts us off joking around more. We also walk around a space and dinosaur exhibition but get hungry before long.

We walk towards the water expecting to find places to eat along the front but end up walking for around 20-minutes before deciding the pier would be our best chance of finding food. I order an unhealthy burger and chips and we sit outside as it’s a beautiful day. Tori’s plan for the city didn’t stretch much beyond ‘Visit Seattle’ so we Google a few attractions nearby and settle on a park with a large lake just outside of town.

We arrive at the lake which is surprisingly busy with walkers, runners, cyclists and children. However, it’s a quiet escape from the city after being surrounded by concrete all morning. Tori introduces me to a game she plays where you say “your team” when you see a “respectable” man or woman. It’s not a game I’ve come across but I enjoy the concept. I have already decided Tori is getting all the fatties. We slowly stroll around the lake nominating members of the public to be on each other’s imaginary team.

I choose a spot to sit down as I know we have time to kill before heading back to the city for sunset. I don’t tell Tori but my feet are hurting for some reason. We lay under a tree for the shade and talk a little until the time comes to start heading back.

Back in the city we park in a public carpark near the tower with the viewpoint. The sun has started to set already but we arrive in plenty of time to catch it. The view from the observation deck is stunning. From here we can see all of Seattle in one direction and almost every peak of Washington’s mountainous landscape in the other. Mount Rainier really stands out as it’s the nearest and highest peak in the state. We admire the views together and learn a little about Washington from the information boards. Just before the sun sets we have our first photo together as a couple. Both of us pull the usual miserable face to send to loved ones back home.

Finally, the sunsets leaving the sky a multitude of colours over the bay and Mount Rainier glowing in pink. It’s a special moment to remember already and for me the highlight of our day in Seattle.

Whilst walking back to the carpark we realise neither of us paid attention to where we actually parked. I thought it was only two blocks over but Tori thinks it’s further out. We zig-zag up and down the streets but only find a closed carpark. Eventually we realise that the closed carpark is ours and had closed roughly 10-minutes after we parked there. Tori calls the number on the noticeboard and the man at the hotels security desk shows us the way in and lets us out. It was a silly mistake to make and one that leaves us feeling very hungry.

We head back to the motel keeping an eye out for somewhere to eat. My throat is feeling sore but I think it might be the lack of liquids we’ve had today. It gets worse as the journey goes on so we decided to call into a supermarket to buy tablets and ice cream for dinner. I pick my flavour and some tablets and Tori grabs some fruit.

Back at the motel we sit on the bed and both judge me for having a whole tub of ice cream for my tea. My throat really does hurt though.

We end the night with a little exercise before going to sleep. I don’t tell Tori because nothing will take away from Gili Nanggu but the sex is so much better than I remember. I think we were both shy and nervous back then but now it feels different and amazing. She puts in as much effort as I do and despite not loving her body she lets me see everything which adds to the satisfaction because her body is perfect.


24th August 2016


I wake up with a sore throat and stuffy head. It’s the early signs of a cold which I really hoped to avoid until I got home to England. I figured my body might adjust after leaving Asia as it’s been good to me for 8 months by keeping me healthy. I have to ignore the symptoms so they don’t take away from my time with Tori. We check out and buy more drugs at a local supermarket then head to an outdoor clothing store to buy me a coat and some new shoes. I wasn’t prepared for cold temperatures or hiking which are both on the agenda for the coming weeks. I end up spending a large amount of money in the store but Tori pays whilst I’m in the bathroom. My card still isn’t working so now I’m in debt.

We arrive at Tori’s parents’ house in the town of Spanaway. It’s a beautiful old house with plenty of land along a lake. The house is the end property in a small community and has a lot of character because of its layout. There’s a living room with balcony and kitchen on the ground floor, 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms just 5 steps upstairs, a living room and garage 5 steps downstairs with access to the garden then a basement room which is being converted into a man cave. Almost all of the house requires modernising but I love it for its charm and layout. The view from the balcony stretches out over the lake almost beyond the limits of my eyes. It’s a stunning spot that I could only dream of as my future home.

I meet Trudy, Tori’s mother. She’s a bubbly lady who provides me with a warm welcome. Tori had said several times that people think she looks like her mother but I disagree. Although I can see some similarities I wouldn’t have been able to identify Trudy as Tori’s mother in a line up. She’s short with shoulder length blonde hair and a round friendly face.

I also meet the two dogs I’ve heard so much about, Conner and Bentley. Conner is a young lively pup who’s overly excited to see anyone he meets and Bentley is so old he’s not sure who anyone is anymore.

We chat briefly about our trip to Seattle then I drop my bag in my room which is next door to Tori’s. Neither of us like the idea of not sharing a bed but it’s Tori’s parents’ house and therefore their rules.

Despite not feeling great I agree to a walk along the lake. I don’t want to sleep or sit around because I know I’ll just end up feeling worse. I’m not full of conversation at the moment because of my bad throat and I don’t want that to give Trudy the wrong impression of me. We head to a short trail through some trees then along the lake. It’s a gentle and quiet walk as I’m too tired to start a conversation but every time Tori asks me if we should go back I say no. I really don’t want to be inside when it’s so nice out.

Back at the house I unpack my bag and sort some washing out. Tori’s grandparents arrive unexpectedly. I greet them at the door with a handshake. Bob and Murlene both carry a southern accent which I pay close attention to as I hope to make Tori laugh later by mimicking her grandad. Murlene looks like the older version of Trudy only with white hair and Bob looks like he’s had a colourful life. He’s a skinny man who appears young at heart and is mobile for his age. They’re lovely people but I struggle to keep up with the conversation as it turns to people I don’t know and the accents are so strong that every 3rd word sounds like a drunken slur to me. I manage to slip in that I have flown in from Vietnam which sparks Bobs attention as he served there during the American Vietnam war. He’s an interesting chap. Murlene reminds me of my grandma because of the way she looks and her mannerisms; her subject of conversation can change in a second leaving us all lost but somehow Trudy seems to follow.

They depart just before dinner which is ready as Tori’s farther Tim arrives home from work. Tim is a tall friendly faced and softly spoken man with reasonably long hair and a well-established moustache. Tori had previously warned me that her dad would be quiet and might not like any man she brings home but I receive a friendly welcome and we establish some conversation over dinner.

It starts to get dark and cold out as we’ve eaten on the balcony so we disperse indoors. Tori and I say goodnight to her parents then I introduce her to my favourite TV show Top Gear. We watch the US road trip special as I want Tori to see how us Brits view the Americans.

Despite being at the parents’ house and having different bedrooms I still cannot keep my hands off of Tori and we break all the rules before dispensing to our own beds for the night. We have to keep quiet but given her parents remained downstairs with the TV on I think they were none the wiser.


25th August 2016


I wake just moments before Tori joins me in my bed. We’d agreed the night before to cuddle before getting up from the moment both parents leave for work. Tori was like clockwork with her arrival which I like. I probably could lay here with her all day but after saying good morning in the best possible way we then share our shower and make plans for the day.

Tori makes me breakfast which is American cereals then we head to the store to buy more orange juice as that has been helping my throat recover. Tori lets me drive despite not being insured. The car is an automatic so I don’t have to worry about changing gear with the wrong hand. The roads are wide enough that crashing seems like an impossibility but I’m extra careful anyway.

Back at the house Tori tells me to sit down because she wants to give me something.

I wait patiently in the living room whilst she goes back into the kitchen. Just minutes later she walks back in holding a plate filled with various unhealthy and unusual American foods. The first one I try looks like squirty cheese on a cracker. I put the whole thing in.

“mmm that’s good,” said whilst still chewing.

“Oh my god as if you like that! You’re disgusting!”

Tori hadn’t counted on me actually liking the artificial cheese that comes out of a can but I do. It tastes like fake plastic cheese we put on cheeseburgers in England.

She brings me the can to inspect.

“We need to get some of these for me to take home!”

She’s disgusted but agrees.

“No one I know likes squirty cheese,” she tells me.

I move on, the plate also contains a Snowball and Twinkie " two things I had requested to try before arriving. I enjoy them both. Tori also eats a Snowball but refuses to eat a Twinkie because she thinks they’re disgusting. I really enjoy the taste.

It’s another beautiful day so the plan is to enjoy the lake and its surroundings. We both change and head out onto the dock. I’m not looking forward to the cold water as I’ve been used to warm ocean and humid temperatures for the last 8 months.

“Are you ready to jump?” Tori asks me as we reach the dock.

It’s a 10-metre run to the end then a safe drop off point. I agree without hesitance and we run and jump together. Tori dives but I go feet first as I don’t know how to dive. The cold water is a shock to my body but I’m instantly cooled from the suns heat. I swim straight to the ladder and follow Tori out. She gets ready to dive in again and asks me if I’ll dive with her. I have to admit that I cannot dive because I never learned. It’s an embarrassing fact I’ve carried with me since I learnt to swim and I’d go as far as saying it’s an irrational fear.

Tori shows me the technique several times by diving in as I watch. I keep going to dive but hesitate and back away every time. Every time Tori starts counting down for me to jump I say wait. 40-minutes pass. All dignity and respect is lost. I want to jump but my body won’t let me. Finally though, I dive. It’s a successful dive that feels comfortable for me and Tori says it was fine. I go again immediately after.

Tori suggests we play chicken on one of the inflatable floats; it’s a double seated float probably designed to be pulled behind a boat. We get in together and float out away from the dock but Tori tied us on with rope. She attacks me to initiate the game. It doesn’t take too much strength to fight her off but I enjoy having my hands on her body. We reach a stalemate but with a distraction from myself I manage to surprise tip her in. She screams as she falls but that is the game after all. The fight continues back on the inflatable but neither of us surrender. Eventually we settle and end up talking as the current drags us around.

We pull ourselves in but it’s still too hot to go inside so Tori finds out some water bombs. They have a system that inflates around 50 balloons at the same time which I find amazing because we don’t have these in England. We fill an empty cooler with balloons and place it at the end of the dock. Both of us grab two handfuls of balloons and run away like children. Most of the bombs bounce off as we throw them but we laugh in pursuit of each other. I enjoy chasing Tori around and watching her dance across the lawn full of laughter.

Conner is barking continuously at us from the living room window so Tori lets him out to shut him up. He’s been annoying us all day but that didn’t stop when he got outside. I fill more balloons with water as Tori entertains Conner. I was hoping for a surprise attack but she catches me. We have another water fight with the assistance of Conner barking at me every time I attack Tori. Once all the balloons are gone we both dive into the water again along with Conner. Every time he gets out he barks at us in the water until we get out. There’s a reason I don’t have a dog.

Tori puts him back inside because he’s too annoying then we go back out on the inflatable chair. It’s just after midday so time for lunch. Tori makes us both a sandwich then we go for a longer walk from the house. It’s a pretty walk through a local forest.

After the energetic morning and walk around the area we both need to sit down for a while. We sit and enjoy the view from the house until Tori gets bored. I suggest we take the kayaks out on the lake. Tori mentioned previously that we will be able to see Mount Rainier from the middle of the lake and since I love mountains I am keen to see it. 

We launch from the garden as the banks of the lake wrap all the way around the house. Tori heads off with a pace I have to match. I struggle to keep up but don’t say anything. We slow as the mountain comes into view. It’s over to the left side of the lake when looking out from the house so unfortunately hidden away. It’s a stunning mountain because it stands tall and alone, what more it’s an active volcano. I wish I’d brought my camera out with me. We slowly paddle on as Tori wants to point out her favourite house on the lake. It’s a small cute place which does have a different character to the ones that have been heavily modified already. We head back to find Tim has returned home.

Back inside I shower and pack my bag as my clothes are everywhere. Tim cooks us all dinner once Trudy gets home from work. He BBQs us some steaks which is more meat on one plate than I’ve ever seen.

Dinner finishes as the sun starts to set. Tim offers us a ride out on his speedboat which feels very alien to me. Back home no one in my family owns a boat, or jet ski or any of the things this family has. I’m quietly jealous of the upbringing Tori must have had but I do wonder if she appreciates it as much as someone who had nothing would.

The boat is parked on the dock. We board and set off slowly until we pass the slow speed markers. I sit up front with Tori. The wind rushes passed as the boat gets up to speed. I expected a slow sail around to admire the houses and mountain but I guess it’s not called a speedboat for nothing. I focus on the mountain as it comes into view. I’ve brought my camera out to take a picture of the snow covered peak as it appears pink from the suns reflection but we’re going too fast for me to catch a shot. We loop around the lake slowing occasionally to point at certain houses. Trudy is particularly nosy and judgemental of other people’s home improvements but in a funny way. The sky to the west remains lit up with colour as the set sun hits the clouds.

Back at the house Tori and I say our goodnights to her parents and head to my room to watch a film. We watch Into The Wild on my laptop and cuddle up. The film keeps stopping every 15-minutes or more because of a bad internet connection which unfortunately takes away from the story a little. I catch Tori drifting off to sleep a few times so we head to bed. She doesn’t want to move and I don’t want her to leave but I jump out of bed and pick her up like a baby and carry her to her own room. She laughs in fear of being dropped and as we open my bedroom door I see Trudy sitting in her office across from me so she catches us fooling around. We say our goodnights and go to sleep separately.


26th August 2016


The morning begins with cuddles in my bed as Tori joins me the minute her parents leave for work. We sleep in until past 10am and wake each other up with naked cuddles. We shower together again then have breakfast in the kitchen. There’s no real plan today except enjoy the house and lake. After a little indecision on what to do I suggest we have a drawing competition as the view is worth some appreciation. We both sit in two big leather chairs and draw our own take on the landscape. I try to be detailed and capture the surrounding trees exactly as I see them. After around 30-minutes Tori announces she’s finished. I reveal mine first. Tori is impress despite it being incomplete. I want to finish it but Tori makes an offer to the bedroom that I cannot refuse. I pull Tori’s clothes off before we reach the bed. Neither of us hold back. As always the sex is incredible.

Unsure of what to do now we head outside to enjoy the hot weather and swim again. I find two water guns in the boat which can be filled by sucking water out of the lake. One gun is considerably bigger and more powerful than the other. I start off with the larger gun but swap when Tori is sufficiently wet. We chase each other around for what feels like hours. We both play as if the hit would kill us. Both of us enjoy feeling like children again as we chase each other around the garden and dock. Conner like before is constantly barking from the window.

Feeling slightly exhausted we jump into the blow-up chair and float on the water to enjoy the sun. I admire Tori in her Bikini some more. Tim gets home from work earlier than expected and joins us for a swim. Trudy arrives home shortly after and sits in the inflatable with Tim whilst Tori and I chase each other around with the water guns again. I’m conscious about running around in just my shorts in front of Tori’s parents but to go inside now is not an option. Tori tells her mum about the activities of the day.

“Who won?” Trudy asks.

“I did,” Tori jokingly responds.

Keen to prove myself as the man of the relationship I ruthlessly soak Tori repeatedly until she’s drowned on the dock. I give her my gun to show remorse and allow revenge. The grown-ups find us entertaining between their conversations.

Once the battle is over I point to the jet ski as Tori hinted about going out on it once Tim got home as I’ve never been on one before. Tori grabs us two lifejackets and Tim pushes us off after he goes out for a quick run too warm it up. I grip on tight to Tori not really knowing what to expect. She sets off at pace and completes two loops around the lake. I enjoy the rush of air. It feels like being on a snowmobile combined with a small CC motorcycle. Tori aims for the small waves other boat create to get some air which is less than comfortable for me.

When we get back to the house Tim asks if I want to drive. I’m glad he asked because I do want to. I was expecting Tori to join me on the back but Tim suggests I go solo to enjoy the speed more. He gives me basic instructions and I set off cautiously at first then at full throttle around the lake twice. I slow at times to see what other boats are doing then fly passed as fast as the motor will go. I can tell Tori didn’t go flat out with me on the back because it really can fly when you give it full revs. I love the rush from the speed and probably would have gone around again but I take it in instead. I park up without crashing.

Inside I take a shower then write my story on my laptop whilst Tori helps her mum with dinner. They make chicken kebabs. Conscious that we’ve disappeared to the room early evening every night I make conversation with Tori’s parents in the living room. We talk a little about my trip and what I plan to do back home. Tori joins us after cleaning up and we head to the room to watch a movie. Once again both of us are exhausted so we head to sleep early.


August 27th 2016


I wake up with a horrible sore dry throat. I was hoping to have recovered by now so any hikes we are about to go on don’t become more of a struggle. I have some leftover anti-biotics that I didn’t finish earlier in the year so I start those. Tori joins me as always and we lay together until mid-morning.

I have ice cream for breakfast which helps numb my throat. Tori finds a spider in her room which I catch using her bin and some paper. I’m not keen on spiders myself but I had to show that I can be the man.

Today Tim has offered to take us both shooting at a range using his two pistols. He’s got a 9mm and a 357 magnum. It was Tori’s idea to have me shoot a gun whilst I’m in American as it’s all they seem to do here and I’ve never even held one before. Tim joins us in the living room carrying two cases containing his guns. Up until this point I hadn’t considered that he has guns in the house. I don’t point out the ludicrosity of it all but I suspect Tori knows how I feel given the several conversations about guns we’ve had already. Tim casually gets both guns out and explains how they both work repeating “Don’t point at anything you’re not willing to shoot,” throughout the introduction. Tori then repeats some of the things he’s said whilst holding the gun and I do the same after. It spikes my heart rate a little just holding it. I don’t know if at this point it is loaded but ultimately I could now point this gun at these two people and take away their lives. It’s as simple as that and America trusts it’s population to carry these things. Crazy.

Tim drives us to the shooting range in his truck. It’s not too far away. Inside I’m greeted with an array of guns and other weapons decorating the walls. I’ve never been in a gun store before now so the concept is alien to me. It’s busy with customers all inspecting the goods. Tim explains that it’s our first time to a member of staff who takes us into a room for a briefing. The lady explains the rules and also repeats “Do not point the gun at anything you’re not willing to shoot.” I actually think that’s a stupid expression for a safety briefing because I could be willing to shoot everything or nothing. We sign the waivers and head into the shooting range with Tim.

We’re wearing ear protection but it’s still loud from the other customers firing their guns. We occupy two booths both with a target of a man Tim has purchased for us. He loads the 9mm and Tori shoots first. Tim and I stand back to watch. A few of the shots are off target but I can see that Tori is nervous despite having fired a shotgun before. Tori empties the clip then Tim reloads and gives me the gun in the other booth. I follow his instructions carefully and count as I fire. The trigger is stiffer than I expected and the gun harder to aim then video games would have you believe. I can feel my hands shaking more than normal as I aim for his head. I empty the clip and place the gun down for Tim to reload. We check my aim, it’s pretty good considering it’s my first time.

We continue until all of the bullets have gone then switch to the magnum. It’s a heavier more powerful handgun with a revolving clip. The recoil is enough to hit yourself in the face if you aren’t gripping tight enough. Again, my hands shake as I aim. For my first 6 shots, I just pull the trigger which is stiff to say the least. Tim tells us both that pulling back the firing pin will make it much easier to shoot for the next time.

Tori takes her turn but kills the target by shooting down the clips holding it up. Tim and I laugh because to shoot both bits of string would take some skill. Tori laughs as well because it was unintentional. I finish the remaining ammo and we retrieve my target which I can keep as a memento. I think I am a reasonable shot and Tim complements me on my aim.

We call in at Tim’s best friend’s house to let him know Tim is bringing his boat by soon because they want to fix a small fault with the motor. When we arrive Don is driving a small JCB digger which is towing a jet ski. He says hello to me briefly then follows us in his truck back to the house. They go about their day and Tori and I head to a food market that’s going on in a nearby carpark with Trudy.

Trudy struggles to park as every car is oversized and badly parked in what they call “compact” spaces. We park illegally and walk to the food market where there’s around 40 trailers all selling their take on a popular dish. I go for a pulled pork sandwich. Tori disappears for some time to find what she wants so I chat with Trudy at a table until she returns. We head back shortly after.

Tori and I grab some private time on the bed in the form of cuddles then play a game called Heads Up on her phone. It’s a fun game that makes us both laugh. As evening arrives so does Tori’s grandparents. We eat ribs outside on the balcony together until the temperature drops. Tonight is my last night at the house so we’re having a fire once it’s dark.

Tim builds us a fire in the fire pit which is away from the house. They have a huge stack of wood ready to be burnt. Everyone joins us once it’s dark enough and the fire is going. We all sit around on camping chairs to enjoy the warmth but it’s still cold without a good coat on.

Eventually the cold becomes too much for Bob and Murlene so they head home leaving the 4 of us to enjoy some smores. I’ve never had a smore before so Tori wants me to try one. I fail to sufficiently cook my marshmallows in the fire as I keep setting it on fire but I eat them anyway. It’s an experience. Tim and Trudy go inside and Tori and I follow shortly after.






28th August 2016


Tori joins me at 5am despite both parents still being at home. Neither of us wanted to sleep apart for another night so the earlier she came in the more like waking up together it felt. We’d planned to leave at 6am but both of us feel too tired so after morning sex we get up and leave around 9:30am.

We head towards a town called Hamma Hamma where Tori has booked us a house for two nights. The house belongs to her sister’s boyfriends’ family so she got a good deal on the price but has never been there before. We stop along the way to hike around Mount Ellinor. It’s a hike that Tori has done before but she enjoys it because there’s usually mountain goats at the top.

We start up the trail which is shaded by trees that look like they’re on the way to space. The conversation turns to the possibility of bears being in these woods and what both of us would do if we encountered one.

“What would you do if a bear attacked us and I tell you to run?” I ask.

“I wouldn’t leave you. I’m not the kind of person to just go,” she replies.

Eventually, we break free of the trees and scramble our way to the top. It’s not a clear day so the low-lying cloud is bringing the temperature down at times but we both remain warm enough to want to continue.

At the top, we admire the surrounding mountains as far as the weather will allow us to see. It’s a beautiful vantage point. We both take photos of each other and have some snacks at the top. Tori packed our lunch but hasn’t brought us much to eat which I jokingly criticise.

The hike back down is considerably easier so we are able to have a more serious conversation. We talk about kids and the decisions certain people in our lives have made; like my sister who has two children now. We’re polar opposites when you look at our lives. I find it strange how we turned out so different.

Feeling pretty hungry we pick a burger bar in a small town between the hiking point and house. It’s a popular place so we have to share a table with other people and wait for the food but it is worth the wait.

Tori isn’t sure on the exact location of the house so we get a little lost and have to call her sister but eventually we find it.

The house is hidden away from the road and its neighbours. It’s a beautiful modern wood built holiday home overlooking a bay. The kitchen and living room is open plan with a matinée style seating area above and floor to roof windows.  It’s the kind of living space I can only dream of. Down a dark corridor is two good sized bedrooms with bathrooms. We occupy the on suite after joking about having our own rooms again tonight. There’s a dining room attached to the living room and a Jacuzzi located in an outhouse also.

I initiate a game of strip hide and seek / Marco polo which I am eager to win at. We take it in turns to hide which gives us a chance to explore all of the little doors around the house. I find a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs but neither of us have much success in hiding from the other. We both end up naked so for the final “game” we head into the shower together. It’s smaller than the one we had at Tori’s parents’ house but I don’t mind being closer to Tori. We enjoy each other’s bodies in the shower.

There isn’t much around the area in the way of food and given we had our own kitchen we both want to stay in tonight. The store is just 5-minutes’ walk up the driveway so we grab some snacks, breakfast and a pizza for tonight.

We chat on the matinée until both of us are hungry enough to eat. After dinner we’d planned to climb onto the roof to admire the stars but whilst searching for a torch in a store cupboard I find a giant red Nerf gun. I became an instant child and shot Tori until I’m out of Ammo. I surrender the gun and she chases me but her aim isn’t great. I’m happy with the find. We play for over an hour until our focus turns back to going on the roof.

We exit the house through the dining room door but as I step out we both hear a loud exhale of breath which sounds like it came from a large animal that isn’t too far away. We both pause and Tori looks out in fear. She has a rational fear of bears and immediately thinks it is a bear, as do I. We stand still to listen for more sounds but cannot see anything past the light from the house. We continue to listen for around 5-minutes but no similar sounds are made. We can hear a small wining sound from another animal down by the water which could be cubs playing whilst their mother forages. Neither of us feel safe staying outside without knowing what’s out there so we go back in and locked the doors. I turn every light in the house on to the illuminate the garden but we see nothing. I go out again through a door connecting the house to a deck which is now being lit up by a security light. I take the Nerf gun out with us because the sound it makes when you reload does sound like a shotgun being cocked, which if a bear has heard before might scare it away. Again we hear and see nothing but the fear has already been instilled in us. We stay inside from then on. Tori apologises for being so afraid but I think it’s a rational fear because a bear will kill you if it has to. It was exciting but frightening at the same time.

We go to bed leaving a light on in the living room as a hopeful deterrent. I bring the Nerf gun with me. After the excitement Tori feels wide awake so I do my best to tire her out. We try to watch a film after but still fail to finish Into The Wild.


29th August 2016


We wake up together but unfortunately I still don’t feel any better. Tori does her best to distract me from my cold which works until we finish. We get up and have breakfast. I start another Nerf gun fight which is slightly unfair given there’s only one gun. Everything in the house is fine; there’s no evidence of anything trying to enter the house and I heard nothing last night.

After breakfast, we go outside to search for evidence of bears. I take the gun with me and walk into the bushes where I think the noise came from. It’s hard to say if anything had been there but in my opinion there hadn’t been anything large. Whilst searching around I act as though we’re on a military mission with radio calls to my base. Tori plays along but thinks I’m silly.

“This is Alpha leader do you copy Red base, over,” I pretend to radio into base.

“We copy Alpha leader, go ahead over.”

“We are moving to location two as there is no signs of life at current location over”

“Rodger that over”

We walk down to the beach on the broken stairs which are due to be fixed over the next few days by the owners. The beach is covered with stones and a fallen tree acts as a boundary to the neighbours’ land. We climb along the tree then search for crabs under the stones. Well Tori does anyway. I pretend to keep a lookout for bears and radio to my base.

Tori finds lots of small crabs under almost every stone she overturns. She picks them up and examines them but I’ve never held a crab before. I guess there’s the same irrational fear of spiders only crabs will pinch you if they can. She tries to get me to hold one but I refuse and run away like a girl. Some of the crabs she catches are very lively and try to escape whilst others just sit still. I eventually touch one with one finger but that’s enough for me. I didn’t grow up picking up sea creatures. I’ve failed to look manly today although with a Nerf gun in my hand I don’t need to worry.

We make sandwiches for lunch then drive to a nature park nearby to hike. The park has multiple walks of different lengths and difficulties. It is a beautiful spot surrounded by high forest trees and the sound of rushing water competing with the wind. We start off along a trail not really sure how far we’ll go or what we’ll find.

Eventually we find a way down to the water’s edge and a fallen tree which looks like a great photo opportunity if one person climbs along to the edge. I go first. I’m sure the tree has been in this same spot for many years but I‘m still cautious of it moving or tipping as I get closer to the edge. It remains solid and I sit and stand on the edge whilst Tori takes my photo.

We swap positions and I capture Tori balancing on the edge. I wish we could both get a photo together but there’s no one around to take it. We walk back via a few off trail routes to explore and sit down by the water to eat our lunch. Tori finds us a nice spot in the sun overlooking a lagoon which has perfectly clear water and looks deep enough to jump from the rocks edge but we both know how cold the water is going to be and although we both want to swim we decide not to today.

We get back to the house after a quick stop off at the store for supplies. We go out to the Jacuzzi hut but the water barely feels warm so we adjust the temperature and get in but it doesn’t get any warmer. We decide to leave the water to heat with the intention of coming back in tonight.

Back inside I find the games cupboard so we play a few board games on the sofa. I introduce Tori to Battleships, Connect 4 and a word game called Banana Grams. It’s so difficult that we gave up but I like the concept of the game.

I’m cooking a chicken recipe I know of tonight and I know it can take some time to cook so I prepare the chicken and heat the oven. It takes me a while to prepare and the chicken breasts are so large that they take over an hour to cook.

Eventually it’s ready. We eat at the kitchen bar. It all taste good but there’s so much food that both of us struggle to finish it.

It’s not too late so we try to find a movie upstairs but both of us become too tired and too full to care so we go to bed instead.


30th August 2016


I didn’t sleep too well for an unknown reason and my cold is still bothering me. We pack our things and have bacon for breakfast. Although we have a few hours before we have to be out of the house we leave anyway and drive back to Tori’s parents’ house and relax for the remainder of the day.


31st August 2016


I wake up early to find Tori already in my bed. She sneaked in during the early hours to cuddle up to me. We get up early to go on a hike around Mount Rainier which Tori has done with her parents. The hike starts in the National Park which requires paying a ridiculous amount of money to enter.

We start up the trail feeling pretty cold as the carpark is already at altitude. Within a few minute Tori spots some Bees which appear to have frozen to the flower heads. I’ve never seen that before. We continue up the empty trail with the weather holding but not much of a view. The clouds are laying low and keeping the temperature just above freezing. We make our way up the trail passing only a handful of people. Unfortunately, there’s no view of Mount Rainier or the surrounding area because of the clouds. It doesn’t matter though because the hike is interesting enough without.

We pick a spot to have lunch; just a few healthy fruit boxes which some fearless and friendly chipmunks share with us. We soon get cold from sitting still so move off to start the walk down. It’s a nice hike but I would have liked to see Mount Rainier up close. It does give me another excuse to come back and visit though, not that I need one.

When we get back to the house Tori collapses onto my bed and I join her for a cuddle. We are both tired from the early start and long hike so take a nap for around 2-hours. When Tori wakes we have sex then a shower before the parents came home.

We eat together like a family and talk about the potential bear at Hamma Hamma. They leave shortly after to drive to Lummi island where they’re staying with friends and we will meet them in a few days.

I suggest to Tori we watch Jurassic Park on their big TV as it’s one of Tori’s favourite films and I love dinosaurs also. I have some ice cream whilst watching the movie but the agreement is naked cuddles and ice cream whilst watching the movie. We both strip off on the sofa and soon the movie becomes nothing more than background noise. Tori straddles me and I enjoy watching her enjoying me. Connor comes in through the dog door from outside to find us both naked on the sofa. He gives us a look of horror and disapproval. Tori finds it hilarious which slightly kills the mood. We move to the bedroom to cuddle naked until we feel the need to go back and finish the movie.

Connor wouldn’t acknowledge either of us after that. I think he knew what was going on and felt betrayed by Tori and I. I suspect he’s scared for life. Bentley is none the wiser.

We go to bed. Finally, I get to sleep in Tori’s bed with her as the parents are away. Unfortunately, however both of the dogs won’t keep quiet. Connor scratches at the door and Bentley howls. Tori lets Bentley in but he won’t lay down or be quiet. She takes them down to the basement room and sits with them until the settle. She’s gone for a while. They’re worse than children but I think they’ve been smothered by Trudy.



1st September 2016


Today is my unofficial birthday. Tori wants to celebrate my birthday which happened in June because we were officially a couple but not physically together. She gets up but instructs me to stay in bed. She cleans the kitchen, nips to the store then returns to make me breakfast in bed.

Before I am allowed breakfast Tori comes in to blindfold me. I’d suggested before arriving that we should cook for each other one night but the person has to be blindfolded to guess what the foods are. Tori decides that today is my turn. She comes in with a plate of unknown foods and laughs as I attempt to eat it blindfolded. I try my best to figure out the tastes and textures but it remains a mystery to me. She removes the blindfold which reveals potato skins with various fillings. They’re very tasty but I would never have guessed it was that. Tori disappears back into the kitchen to make the next dish while I remain in bed.

She returns to replace the blindfold and start another guessing game. This time I have no idea what it could be. The texture feels like porridge to me and tastes unusual. It’s not a flavour I’ve had before. Tori removes the blindfold but this time I still cannot tell what I’m eating.

“It’s biscuits and gravy,” Tori explains with a smile. 

It doesn’t look particularly appetising and for some reason tastes different now I can see it. I do my best to finish so’s not to insult Tori but she repeats that I don’t have to eat it.

The final dish is a banana milkshake which is freshly made and very tasty. Overall I enjoy the treat of breakfast in bed. Tori goes to clean up so I take a shower. As I get out Tori is ready to get in so I get back in and we have sex in the shower. I leave to let Tori finish washing her hair but when she joins me in her room I’m still naked and wanting more. We have some very hot sex again that leaves us both satisfied. I have to take another shower to cool off.

Eventually the day moves on. We make up a picnic and head to a park not too far away. Unfortunately, luck isn’t on our side as it starts to rain as we arrive. We persevere anyway setting up the picnic on a bench by using an umbrella for shelter. It doesn’t rain heavy and within a few minutes it stops. I think the way today started put us both in a great mood because we haven’t stopped laughing or joking all day.

Unsure of what to do now we walk into a flower garden housed within the park. There’s a few elderly people inside taking macro photos of the flowers. We do the same with our phones which turns into a photo competition. I definitely won. We spend a fair amount of time in the garden as some of the flowers are very exotic and huge in size.

Again, we’re unsure of what to do now so we drive down a lane Tori knows about which provides views of the bay. We don’t stop even once to take a photo of the view but we do find evil racoons all the way along the road. Tori pulls up next to one and puts the window down but it runs towards the car with an evil look in its eyes so we drive off.

For another American experience Tori takes me to Walmart. We both become children in the toy section as a sword fight breaks out and we find glow sticks. I also find the same Nerf gun that they had at the house in Hamma Hamma so we purchase one for me and a smaller one for Tori.

I unbox my gun in the car which doesn’t impress Tori. I promise not to shoot her whilst she’s driving though. However, the second we get inside the house I start shooting. After losing all of my Ammo I run off to hide like a child. Tori unboxes her gun and comes seeking revenge. The game turns into a strip Nerf gun fight. The rules are simple; an item of clothing for a bullet in the butt. Without question I won the fight. Tori is a good sport and removes clothes until she’s naked. We both enjoy the fight but rather than moving to the bedroom we both put some clothes on and play story dice on the living room floor. It’s a game we were both introduced to on Mount Rinjani in Indonesia and I had just purchased in Walmart. We take it in turns to roll the dice and tell stories from the pictures. My stories start off well but end very abruptly and I fail to wrap anything up.

“And then there was a Viking helmet” I say every time the same image comes up.

Tori’s stories are much better than mine. I enjoy hearing what her imagination can come up with as if I’m seeing inside her head for just a moment.

After a few games, we move to the bedroom to cuddle up in just our underwear. Later tonight we’ve planned to go out for dinner and dress up as it’s “my birthday”.

As evening sets in we separate to dress for dinner. I have limited options on what I can wear as I’m still travelling but I have smart brown chinos, a dark blue smart shirt and a very extravagant blazer which I had custom made in Vietnam with Tori in mind. I’m ready in minutes and Tori shortly after.

I find her in her room wearing a stunning red dress that elegantly reveals her curves to me and me alone. I think she looks beautiful and I make sure she knows it. It’s the first time I’ve seen Tori in a dress in person or looking girly at all. I really like it because it’s so different to how she normally looks and I like that this isn’t standard dress code for her. It makes it more special. If we had time I would undress her and take her right now but we have to leave.

The weather on the drive to the Cheesecake factory is less than pleasant so I let Tori concentrate on driving. After a long silence I start up a conversation.

“Shall we pretend like this is a blind date to all the people we speak to tonight?” I ask.

Tori likes the idea very much. We both decide on our new character then go straight into the role before arriving. We both make awkward conversation as if it was a first date and we’re both a little weird. Eventually I crack up because we’d managed to keep it going for so long.

The restaurant is busy so we have to wait. The concierge gives me a look when he notices my blazer. I catch a few other people staring also. To be fair to them it is white with multi-coloured leaves all over it. I’d stare too. We don’t have to wait too long. A waitress guides us to the table which thankfully for me is in a booth and not along the row of awkwardly spaced out couple tables.

I remove my jacket before sitting down which the waitress comments on. I do feel a little bit silly wearing it out but I didn’t pay all that money for nothing. We both examine the menu but Tori already knows what she wants. After 10-minutes of studying the menu and the waitress heading our way I’m still torn between two meals. I order the less healthy burger instead of chicken.

We chat until the food arrives then there’s a long silence as both of us attempt to devour the enormous amount of food that’s been served. I finish the last bite with regrets. Tori doesn’t even look like she’s touched her pasta.

The waitress comes to clear the plates and offers us the dessert menu. We’re both too full to want anything but we’d pre-agreed to have cheesecake as it’s mandatory on my birthday. There’s so much choice which makes deciding almost impossible but eventually we both decide.

The size of the cheesecake which arrives is like half a cake to me. I’m happy with it but there’s no way I will ever finish it. I don’t. It’s a great ending to my unofficial birthday which I will remember forever.



2nd September 2016


Today is Tori’s unofficial birthday as I won’t be around for it in just over a months’ time. I get up to make toast with chocolate spread and bananas followed by ice cream. I give Tori a birthday treat before we get out of bed.

We’re planning on having a naked day as we still have the house to ourselves and no plans for today. After a shower, we break out into war with the Nerf guns. I win as always. I do enjoy watching Tori sneak around the house and scream when I jump out.

Another suggestion I’d made before arriving was to make and bury a time capsule. I suggest that we get this done today whilst no one else is around and bury it here so that it can always be found. I move to the table to write Tori a letter which she will read for the first time when our children turn 18. I start by hand writing the letter but my handwriting is so bad and I have so much to say so I switch to my laptop. Tori moves into her mum’s office to write me something on her computer. I also write myself a letter containing facts about my life up until now and a few things that are going on in the world today. During my letter, I sneak upstairs to shoot Tori. She plays dead then I go back to writing.

I’m finished before she is so I go and print my letters as well as the story I wrote for Tori about how we met. When Tori is finished, we fold the paper up and wrap everything in sealable freezer bags which I tape shut also. I include a memory card with photos and documents from this year on it. We take a few photos together which I upload before putting it in. We both hope that there will be devices that can read memory cards in the future. I’m pretty sure there will be. We wedge everything into a metal thermos flask which was the best thing I could think of to act as a capsule as it’s designed not to leak and has two seals. Once everything is in I seal the seams with tape and wrap it in more zip-lock bags.

We go out into the garden to find a spot to bury it. I’m slightly worried about the soil moving more than in a normal garden because of the lake but we agree it’s better buried here than in an unknown spot that may become inaccessible in the future. We settle on a place along a small path behind the fire pit. I remind Tori to tell her parents that it’s here because when they make changes to the garden they may have to move it or remember not to dig it up.

The ground is difficult to dig because of the stones but Tori does a good job. I remove the last few piles of soil by hand. We place the capsule in together and bury like a dead relative. Tori places multiple stones on the top as a location marker. Neither of us will know what the other has written for many years. I think we should dig it open when our children are 18 so we can share the experience together. I have no doubt that the memories of what’s inside will fade making it a complete surprise.

For lunch, we have leftovers and I give Tori her birthday present. I’ve had it since arriving but held onto it for today. It’s only wrapped in newspaper as I didn’t have anything else available. She opens it. It’s a small wooden jewellery box which I picked up in Vietnam. It isn’t the design I was looking for but they don’t seem to have jewellery boxes in Asia. Tori likes it but says I got her too much stuff.

As it’s Tori’s birthday I am cooking tonight but I need to get some supplies from the store. We go together in Tori’s car but I drive. She comes inside but we shop separately because I want it to be a surprise. I find almost everything I need and hope that Tori’s parents have the remaining things.

I prepare the food when I get home whilst Tori remains out of the kitchen. I’m making chicken curry as it’s not a popular dish in America so Tori hasn’t had many. It takes me around 2 hours to make dinner. I have to start my source again because the first attempt goes wrong. Everything is cooked except for the rice which is almost done. I try the source, it tastes good. I go into the bedroom to find Tori. She’s changed for dinner into a beautiful blue dress. She wore it for a wedding recently so I have seen a photo but in person she looks even more amazing. I compliment her then blindfold her and guide her to the dining table.

I go back into the kitchen to plate everything up but the curry looks different to how I left it. For some reason, it’s clumped to the chicken rather than a being runny source like it was earlier. The rice is just about done so I plate up to save Tori waiting too long.

I place it in front of her and guide her with the knife and folk. It wasn’t going to be an easy dish to eat blindfolded so I let her try a few bites then remove the blindfold. She fails to guess what it is and even without the blindfold on she struggles to identify it. I try mine, it doesn’t taste great. The rice is undercooked and the curry has become a sticky lumpy mess with little flavour. I’m gutted but I suspect it’s something to do with the coconut shavings I found in the cupboard that were 3 years out of date. I don’t tell Tori though.

I don’t finish my meal but Tori tries to out of politeness. We open the box of glow sticks purchased yesterday and start to make some of the items displayed on the box like a hat and bowtie. They look really cool so we’re going to take them into the Jacuzzi in a minute.

“I have a request before we go outside.” Tori states.


“I want to dance first,” said with a shy and almost embarrassed tone.

I get up out of my chair and take Tori’s hand while pressing play on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out Loud’ song on my phone at the same time. We use the space in the almost empty living room to dance around. Just like on Beaverhousen beach I give Tori a few ballroom steps so we can half look like we know what we’re doing. The song ends but we’re not finished dancing so I play it again. We slow dance around the room until the song finishes again then go to outside to the Jacuzzi.

Under darkness we undress ourselves outside keeping an eye out for the neighbours who would only see us through one window if they looked. We throw the glow sticks into the water before getting in which creates a pretty effect because of the different colours.

The only time I have been naked in a public place is with Tori on Beaverhousen beach on Gili Nanggu. It’s not something I’m used to doing but Tori strips off without hesitation and gets in. It places a thought in the back of my mind about how many times she’s been naked in this hot tub. We’ve talked about things like skinny dipping a lot of the past few months as we’ve gotten to know each other better. Tori assured me back then that it’s only ever been in female company but I still cannot help but wonder.

“So how many times have you done this?” I ask, conscious that we’ve had this conversation before.

“This is the first time.”

Although I believe her I still have thoughts in my head about other times Tori has been naked around other men. I try not to let it take away from the moment. We play with the glow sticks and keep the jets on to disturb the water surface for privacy. I keep a close eye on the neighbours’ window above because I don’t want anyone but me seeing Tori’s body. Tori moves onto my lap which of course excites me. We kiss until I’ve slipped so far down the seat that I have to move back up. We have sex but the water and smooth surfaces don’t make it easy to keep going.

We go back into the house wrapped in towels. Tori looks ready to go to sleep but I remind her that I promised to sing a song I’d written for her whilst in Asia on her ‘birthday’. I never break my promises so despite not wanting to sing out loud I get my phone out to read the lyrics.

I hesitate. “I can’t sing.”

“What if I sing it with you?” Tori offers.

I know it will help if she sings along but I’ve secretly written her another song for her actual birthday which I wasn’t planning on sharing until the date but since I won’t be here I decide to give it to her now. I make Tori turn off the light so she cannot see me. It spares me the embarrassed look.

I start to sing.





“It's new to you, it's new to me

And soon you'll be, just Twenty-Three

There's so much time that we have lost

I'll get to you at any cost

To start a fresh, and let it go

If we never try, then we'll never know

I'm not there now, but soon you'll see

I'll be with you and you with me


Now here I stand, feet on the sand

I wait for you, my heart in my hand

I watch the waves upon the shore

Right from the start I wanted more


And as I look, out to the sea

I see you turn, just Twenty-Three



I see you turn, just Twenty-Three


I miss your eyes, I miss your smile

But I will see you in a while

In Canada, is where we'll stand

Where the snow falls to the land

There we'll dance, there we'll sing

Together we'll have everything

Where you'll be you, and I'll be me

Together we will both be free


I'll fall for you and you for me

We'll fall in love when you're Twenty-Three



We'll fall in love when you're Twenty-Three



Today you turned just Twenty-Three



I do my best to stay in tune and keep a rhythm but I’m not a good singer. I did it to make Tori happy.

She’s surprised because it’s not the song she expected me to sing but she loves it.

“It’s not perfect or finished yet and you can’t have it until your birthday,” I explain.

After a thank you kiss she asks me to sing the other song that I was supposed to sing in the first place. This time she can sing along. I start to sing pausing for Tori to join me on the ‘OH!!’ at the start of every other line.






“Oh.... what a life…

So much time so much space, so let's make sure we get it right

And, oh.... how are you?

I'm the same, we're the same, tell me do-you still feel it too?

Oh.... how do you feel?

Is it true what you say tell me Tori is this all real?

And, oh.... There's so much space

But I mean when I say that I can't wait to see your face


AND OH.... You're waiting for me....

And I'm coming,

I'm coming,


Soon you'll see


Oh... where are you now?

I'm on my way, I am lost but I'll get to you any how

And, oh... do you know how I feel?

I feel I am home when I'm with you yes that's why I'm coming home


AND OH...... You're waiting for me....

And I'm coming,

I'm coming,


Soon you'll see


Oh... what happens now?

We'll start chapter two, me and you, we've got lots, to look forward to

And oh.... I am your man

I won't run I won't hide you're my future, you are my plan

Oh... I'm coming home....

In August I'll be there, you won't have to be alone

And Oh.... I'm coming home.”


It’s harder to sing that I expected which is not helped by the fact I’ve never sang this song out loud before. I’d spent more time on the ‘Twenty-Three’ song so I felt it’s the better of the two. Tori loves them both and thanks me with her love.


3rd September 2016


We drive to Lummi Island to meet up with Tori’s parents and stay with their friends for a few nights. There’s several islands in a bay that have become a popular tourist attraction as it’s not uncommon to see Killer Whales here.

At the house, I meet Jan the owner as well as Don again and his wife Christie. Don is slightly overweight and looks to me like a “typical” American complete with moustache. Christie reminds me the actress Kristen Wiig. She looks like a bit of a Trophy Wife so Don has done well in my opinion. Jan looks the oldest of the group because of her slim figure and short brown hair. They all seem nice but very quiet with me at first.

The house is up on a hill which overlooks the bay from a balcony. It’s a stunning view.

It has an odd layout; there’s an extension downstairs which contains two bedrooms, bathrooms and a living room where Tori and I will be staying. On the ground floor is an open plan kitchen, dining room and living room. Tori and I walk down to the beach which is stone covered and a little cold. The plan wasn’t to come and sit on the beach but it gets us out the house whilst everyone waits for Tim and Don to finish placing their crab pots. We skim stones, have a rock throwing competition and chase each other around like children.

When we get back to the house Tim and Don have returned. We have lunch then head out together on Tim’s boat. Tori and I sit up front as before. Tim drives and Don navigates using an App on his phone which tracks other boats in the bay. They cleverly locate the tourist whale watching boats and head in their direction.

It’s not overly warm on the boat when it’s moving at speed so Tori wraps up in blankets but I just slide down the bed-seat to hide from the wind.

As we get nearer to the tourist boats Tim slows down and we look out for the blow of air that Orcas make when they surface to breathe. It doesn’t take long to spot them. We creep around the other boats as groups of whales’ surface all around us. We choose a pack that looks large and isn’t moving away. We get lucky several times as Tim and Don position the boat perfectly and let us drift.

We get to see them from a safe distance from the boat several times. We stay in the same area for ages. They circle around on the surface feeding on the fish below. They’re easy to spot because of the initial burst of air and water then the large dorsal fin which sticks up like a flag to wave at humans. I’d never seen orcas before so this was a real treat for me.

As packs start to move away we sail slowly towards a private boat that’s closer to shore. Again we drift near a pack of whales that look to be feeding. They get curious and closer to us. The excitement builds as several whales’ surface just metres off the bow then dive just enough to let us see the white underside as they swim around the boat underwater. I manage to capture some close up photos as I all happened.

We let them move off, all happy with what we’ve seen. We head back at speed and once again it’s cold from the wind.

Back at the house Trudy makes us all chili for dinner followed by a game of scrabble which she easily wins at. I’m usually good at scrabble but Trudy plays a rule where she can put multiple words or letters down on the board limiting where I can play after her. I didn’t follow the same rule so lost badly. 

Tori and I said goodnight to everyone and retired to the bedroom. We played story dice before going to bed. Tori tells a story about a crab who’s on a journey.

“He sings the crab song,” Tori adds for humour.

“How does that go?” I query before she can move on.

“I’m a crab, you’re a crab, we’re all crabs” she brilliantly delivers.

We both burst into laughter. It’s one of the funniest things she’s ever said. We both sing it over and over together before going to sleep.


4th September 2016


The morning starts slow as once again Tim and Don go out to set the crab pots. The rest of us head out in one car to visit a few arts and crafts exhibitions and stalls that are open around the island today. We visit 3 homes which I find strange and a little uncomfortable because really we’re just looking around peoples’ houses. Everyone is so friendly but to me it felt fake or forced. I felt like it was a competition of who has the nicest house or is the most successful. Tori takes little interest in the crafts also but the ladies enjoy it.

We spot the guys bringing the pots in before driving back to the house. They’ve caught nothing overnight so decide not to put them back out again to save time this evening. We all drive back then load up the boat which is hitched to Don’s car as there’s no harbour on the island. A few of us sit in the boat on the way down to the launch ramp. Don drops the boat into the water and parks up over the road. We wait for him to join us then he drives whilst Tim navigates. Again Tori and I sit up front. We head to Friday Harbour which is a popular eating and shopping spot on a neighbouring island. It’s another beautiful day but still cold when we’re travelling at speed.

Eventually, we arrive. Don drops us off then goes to find a place to moor up with Tim. They find us again 10-minutes later. The harbour is packed with boats of all sizes and many tourists meandering about.  We wander around town looking for a place to eat. There’s a popular looking place that sells a lot of fresh fish and burgers which suits everyone. I order a burger then go and find a table whilst everyone else orders from the fish menu.

Whilst waiting for our meals Don asks me about my travels.

“So which country was your favourite?” Don asks.

It’s a common question from everyone which is fair enough because to be any more specific would require some travel knowledge or experience. I always give the same unexpected answer which sparks interest and small conversation.

“India.” I explain my answer followed by a list of other countries I enjoyed visiting.

I didn’t realise that none of them knew how long I’d been away or how far I’d travelled. I had assumed Tori had mentioned it in passing conversation. They’re all surprised and suddenly interested in me. It was nice to talk about my travels even if it was only brief.

The food arrives slowly and in stages so people have to eat whilst everyone else waits. No one minded though as it’s a nice day and we understand that the restaurant is busy.

Just outside of the restaurant is a small gift shop which we nip into as Tori needs some new sunglasses. She doesn’t find any but we find some novelty hats which a few people take photos in. We wander around town dipping in and out of a few stores. I find a few nice patches to add to my collection.

After waiting an age for the boys to buy an ice cream we all board the boat and leave to go and find some whales. They pick a spot that may have had tourist boats in recently but on their App there’s no boats around as they’ve possibly all returned from their morning outing to collect new tourists.

Along the way Trudy shouts ‘Whales!’ which brings us to a crawling pace as Don and Tim locate them for the heading. It was indeed whales that Trudy had spotted. We head towards them and just as yesterday enjoy their majesty from the privacy of our solo boat. Don maneuverers the boat around the packs we spot but always gets too close or cuts the engine off too late so they never resurface close to us like yesterday. I felt that Tim did a better job driving yesterday because we got a close encounter without breaking any animal protection laws by purposely placing our boat too close. It annoys me a little and Tori as well I think. Don is certainly the louder more confident instigator of all things in the friendship he shares with Tim.

After a few hours of not having much success with closer photo opportunities Don moves us onto another potential site but along the way Trudy once again shouts “Whale!”

This time the spray lingers in the air as if it had come from a huge orca or larger whale like a humpback. We approach the area but nothing resurfaces for at least 10-minutes. Once again Trudy spots a huge burst of air way out in front of us. We race towards it but again it’s long gone before we get close.

Suspecting it’s a larger whale we crawl along the trajectory and estimate where it might surface next. Don overshoots as the next spray appears behind us but we’re in a good position to see it surface again then dive. It’s a humpback. We get to see the beautiful tale raise up as it dives down deep. Those who have been whale watching from Lummi before say they’ve never seen humpbacks in this area. We continue with the same strategy which works well as we catch it surfacing several more times before we decide to let it carry on with its day alone.

We head back to the house but the drive takes almost two hours which leaves everyone freezing cold as the sun is almost gone. Tori and I cuddle up on the bow under several blankets. At times, I look out to see roughly where we are because the journey appeared to be taking way longer than any of us expected so I felt we were lost. Just as the sun drops behind the mountains we slow down to a crawl close to shore but it’s not the landing site. We creep around the shore until the landing site comes into view. Don didn’t explain why he did it at the time but we all later find out that the boat was just about out of petrol. I would have liked to catch the sunset from the house but unfortunately we miss it.

I catch a ride back with Trudy because her car is warm but everyone else remains cold in the boat for some reason. Tim makes us all steak for dinner then we head to bed.


6th September 2016


We say our goodbyes to those who are awake in the morning because Tori and I are heading south to Portland, Oregon today. We call in at her parents’ house to collect a few things and swap out some dirty clothes. After a short gun fight we head off.

I pick up some snacks at a gas station whilst Tori refills the car. Unfortunately, the snacks here aren’t the same as in England because the sandwich I buy is awful. Tori laughs at me for thinking a sandwich from a gas station would ever be good. Every time we have stopped for petrol I have taken sneaky photos and videos of myself on Tori’s phone for her to find the next time she looks through her albums. I’d hoped that they would make her laugh and she would find some of them after I’ve left America.

The drive takes hours which hurts my lower back. I’m poor company on any transport now because Asia has turned me into one of these people who can sleep anywhere. So the minute I get in a car I feel tired. Tori initiates a game where you have to punch the other person if you see a number plate that isn’t from Washington or Oregon. She lands several hits on my leg which I felt is unfair because I’m not wearing my glasses. I introduce the yellow car rule into the game to make it fairer.

We hit traffic before reaching Portland. Both of us have been singing short silly made up songs throughout the drive based on things we can see.

We drive big cars, cuz we’re all f*****g a******s,” I sing. “We all have guns, cuz we’re all f*****g a******s.”. I make up more and more lines and Tori joins me. We both fill the car with this same catchy song for the rest of the journey.

Tori is trying to arrange a meal with her two friends from Vancouver Hayden and Hadley. She receives a few texts whilst driving which she asks me to read and respond to. I include all of the information she wants to say but I add my own evil twist on the messages. Hayden doesn’t figure out it’s me but Hadley knows instantly which starts us into comedic conversation. I don’t share some of the messages with Tori. She can only watch and hope I don’t say anything embarrassing. I use it as an ice breaking opportunity for tonight.

Eventually we arrive at the hotel outside of Vancouver; the town which Tori grew up in. The room looks and smells like a prostitutes usual Saturday night but we make it our home. It’s a large room barely lit by the dirty window down one end. There’s two double beds and a collection of outdated furniture.

I invite Tori to join me in my “office” for a little roleplay. I sit at the desk in the room.

I’m the boss and she’s the new employee. I have my assistant Shaniqua (who I also play) call her in. Neither of us can hold a serious face for very long. My poor attempts at American accents amuse Tori.

We move to the bed and undress each other. The sex is amazing. We were both gagging for it because we’d been reasonably well behaved for the last few days. Tori lays face down naked and exhausted on the bed. She’s been on top so had done most of the work to satisfy us both. I still have energy so just messing around I climb onto her legs as if we are going to do doggy style. I’m keen to go over to Taco Bell which is literally in the hotel car park so I encourage Tori to get up by spanking her right butt cheek with my hand. I do it several times reasonably hard which turns me on. Unexpected to both of us I get hard and because of where I’m positioned I accidently slip back into Tori which makes us both burst out into laughter. It’s possibly the funniest thing that’s happened to us and neither of us can get over it.

We shower then go over to Taco Bell but, as the advert on the door suggests, they’re in desperate need of a store manager because the place is in chaos. It takes around 10-minutes to be served which the staff are conscious of so when we ask the lady for just two drinks she hands us the cups for free. We rest at the hotel while Tori arranges to meet with her two friends Hayden and Hadley tonight.

We change for the evening and head into Vancouver to meet Tori’s friends. We’re undecided on where to go for dinner so we sit inside the first Mexican restaurant we find and wait for the girls. Hadley arrives first; she’s taller than I expected. On first impression, I wouldn’t say she’s Tori’s typical type of person because she’s wearing a huge amount of make-up and rather revealing clothing for someone with assets of her size.

We move from the bar to a table which confirms we’re eating here. I sit next to Tori with Hadley opposite me. They catch up but I can only listen as most of the subjects and people mean nothing to me. I try to add to the conversation whenever I can because I don’t want to come across as quiet. Hadley compliments me several times on my British accent which I give Tori a hard time about because she never mentions it. Personally, I don’t think I have a British accent because I’ve been away for so long and mixed with people from all over the world.

Hayden arrives and joins us; she’s also taller than I expected. She’s blonde and skinny but casually dressed. My first impression is that she’s quieter and more like that sort of friend I expected to find Tori with. They catch up quickly then the conversation turns back to my accent and the different names I use for things like “Bonnet to hood”, “Boot to trunk”, “Trousers to pants”. We all find it interesting how different the languages are given we all speak “English”.

Hadley and I share a similar sense of humour so it becomes clear why Tori likes her so much. I get the impression she’s really insecure despite the provocative clothing and confident attitude. Hayden surprises me through stories she shares with the table. From the sounds of it she drinks a lot and to the point she doesn’t remember everything. Tori has already told me that Hayden is good friends with “the Russians” now so she goes drinking with them.

Whilst waiting for our food to arrive a car parks up outside. The three of them recognise the man who gets out and Hayden points Tori out to him. He comes inside to say hello. He just says Hi to Hadley and Hayden but gives Tori and hug and kiss on the cheek (I believe).

He introduces himself to me as “Mike.”

“Same,” I reply.

He’s a great looking guy.

He tells the girls “everyone is upstairs” so we should go up and say hello when we’re finished eating then leaves us to our meal. I start to regret our choice of restaurant because of how tonight might end.

I thought it was odd that he just said hello to Hadley and Hayden but physically touched Tori. It played on my mind for the rest of the evening.

We eat and joke around for several hours until Hadley leaves us shortly followed by Hayden. I manage to get in a brief conversation with Hayden about what we’ve been doing since I arrived in Washington. She shares with us that she’s planning to apply for a stewardess job with an American airline which thrills Tori. We both try to encourage Hayden to pursue it because I got the impression she feels lost because all her friends are disappearing into university or work while she remains stuck in the same place they left her.

We say goodnight then chase each other down the street to the car. On the drive home, I query why Hayden pointed her out to Mike and why Mike gave Tori a hug but no one else. She tells me ‘It’s because he doesn’t see me very often’. I accept her answer but still find it unusual.

Back at the hotel I nip over to Taco Bell to get us both some drinking water before bed.





7th September 2016


I wake up to find Tori didn’t sleep well but doesn’t know why. We have breakfast at the hotel then drive to the house which Tori grew up in because she wants to show me the area. It’s a beautiful house in a nice neighbourhood. I’m jealous of Tori’s upbringing because I grew up in a council estate surrounded by the worst imaginable people.

Before heading into Portland city centre we stop at a Movie rental store which has opened a “Museum” inside. I found it online yesterday whilst searching for the tourist attractions of quirky Portland. The store is much more of a rental shop then a Museum as it only has a few old movie props in a glass cabinet. We don’t stay long.

Before going back to the car, we walk to a local store nearby. I find the children’s aisle and start a sword fight with Tori. We’ve made a habit of having play fights in stores. I buy some water balloons like what we used in Tori’s garden because we don’t have them in England yet. I also find a Batman rubber batterang which I buy.

We drive into the city and park. Tori’s plan doesn’t extend much beyond “Visit Portland” so neither of us know what to do now. We walk to the main square because in England that’s where all the shops and markets would be. We don’t find much so head into a mall. It’s an unusual mall because there aren’t many shops but I pull Tori into a toy store. We look around, I buy a few gifts for my Nephew.

Lunch comes from Portland’s famous food markets which are permanently set up in one area. I choose a Chinese stall which we both order from.

We sit in a small square nearby to eat from our plastic containers. There’s a potentially crazy man shouting and stumbling around near us but luckily we’re not the only people in the square and he keeps to himself.

I make Tori aware that I don’t like the feel of Portland. It’s renowned for it’s relaxed “hippie” community but to me it feels forced. There’s signs everywhere saying “Keep Portland weird”. What is that if not forcing something that should be natural?

Tori guides me to a famous doughnut shop across town but when we arrive the queue stretches around the block so I refuse to wait. I’m sure they are amazing doughnuts but I’m not one for queuing.

After resting back at the hotel, we go out for dinner to a popular BBQ ribs place Tori knows about. All of the food tastes great because it’s drowned in BBQ source but after dessert we both feel too tired to even make small talk. We call it a night.


8th September 2016


After breakfast at the hotel we drive to a beach Tori knows about called Pacific City. Tori made me pick a campsite from Google yesterday after we both agreed to camp instead of getting a hotel to save money. I picked the campsite directly opposite the beach however I regret my choice once we arrive because the site is more like a carpark. We pick a spot in the middle island but every site is empty anyway. There’s tiny black rabbit hopping around everywhere which the reviews online did mention. The site cost $34 which is unbelievably expensive.

Things quickly get worse as we attempt the erect the large tent we’d borrowed from Tori’s parents. Before we left they mentioned about one of the tents having a broken zip which in my eyes needs throwing away. Of course, we’ve picked that one. None of the pegs would go into the ground either because it has been filled in with stones to support the weight of campervans.  I wasn’t impressed by the quality of the tent or campsite. After a little frustration, we give up and go to the beach. I take a ball we bought with us to throw around.

The beach reminds me of one in North Wales (UK) because cars are parked on the sand and at one end is a cliff face. We head up the steep sandy cliff where Tori tells me we can climb over for an amazing view. I reach the top first and as I do a man dressed in a uniform introduces himself to me as “Mike”.

“We’re trying to keep people from crossing over the fence today if that’s OK,” he says in such a way that makes it clear he’s not really asking.

“Sure,” I reply, not really understanding that his instructions are telling us not to do the one thing we came up here to do.

Tori joins me at the top and we walk away from Ranger Mike. I tell Tori what he just told me. She thinks it’s ridicules that we cannot cross this fence.

                “It wasn’t even here last time. This is so stupid. I hate people. It’s the only reason we came here. They’re ruined all the fun.” Tori rants to me. Clearly she isn’t impressed by the new rules.

Whilst walking along the new fence we spot a large whale fishing close to the cliffs. The massive waves don’t appear to bother it. It stays close to the shore and surfaces several times in quick succession. Tori tells me she’s never seen whales here before and I’m surprised I’ve got to see so many whales this week. It’s a strange sight to see a whale in so close but we both assume it’s eating the fish that are being beaten against the rocks.

As we walk alone the fence we hear an older gentleman telling a young girl that the fence was put up after a 16-year-old girl died. We stick to the “safe” side of the fence except for a moment when we both jump over for a look at the edge. Tori is disappointed because she wants to take me out to the viewpoint so I tell her we’ll come back for sunset and watch from the viewpoint when Ranger Mike is gone.

We walk back down to the beach to explore around the lower cliffs. There’s definitely no other way up. I suggest to Tori that we have to get back to the beach by wading through the water that is now stranding us on some rocks. We could just walk back the way we came but this seems like more fun. She goes first. The sea is cold and rough but she makes it. I attempt to follow carrying our phones, money and keys because Tori has no pockets but I worry too much about getting knocked over so I go back and walk around.

As we’re both a little wet already I throw the ball to Tori whilst she’s standing in the water which splashes her. She returns the favour then we continue in a game of catch or splash. There’s a short throw which we both run for. Tori gets there first but to deter her from picking up the ball I kick water with my foot but under estimate just how deep it is. I soak her body, hair and face as she was bending down at the time. It was a mistake but I run for my life.

I’m very apologetic whilst on dry land but I know this won’t get settled until I’m equally wet. Neither of us are wearing suitable clothing but it’d too late now. I surrender everything I’m carrying into our shoes and we head back into the water together. I have no choice but to let Tori splash me. We chase each other around like two dogs would when they arrive at a beach for the first time. Passers-by wrapped in winter coats look on as we continue to splash each other.

We have no choice but to return to the camp to change our clothes before finding lunch. When we get back to the car our tent has fallen down. I’m annoyed because it’s such a disaster. I make the decision on the fate of the tent.

                “We’re going to take this tent down, throw it away and put the little tent up.”

Tori doesn’t argue.

30-minutes later the tent has been thrown away and the smaller, 2-person tent erected. It’s not ideal but at least we know we have one decent tent which is lucky because we’re camping for the next few nights.

Lunch comes from a seafront bar & restaurant across the road. We’d hoped to sit out in the sun but as it’s so busy we chose not to wait and sit inside. It’s not the cheapest place but it’ll do as we saved moved on the hotel.

We buy snacks from a store nearby for out sunset picnic later then turned the tent into a home for the night.

At 5pm we grab our things and walk to the viewpoint. At the top of the steep bank Ranger Mike is nowhere to be seen. We hop over the fence and walk down one cliff face onto another. There’s other people over this side of the fence also. Tori was worried about crossing over just in case it was illegal and Ranger Mike could give us a fine. We took the risk anyway and it pays off. On the end of the further cliff Tori spots more whales close to the shore. We watch in awe of them. I count 5 in total. It’s a special thing to watch as they appear at the surface, blow then float for a few seconds before diving down again. It provides entertainment as we’re too early for the sunset.

We sit and joke until things get cold so I sit behind Tori to cuddle her. I play My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion on my phone as we’d joked about it earlier. We sing to each other in the worst possible way. I’m pretty sure the people now sat to our right can hear us as we can hear them talking.

We play other songs and sing badly until it gets too cold to stay still anymore. We walk back stopping briefly to make out in a bush and admire the sun before it sinks.

Back on the beach we watch as the sun reaches the horizon. It’s a shame it was too cold to stay up on the cliff as the colourful clouds disappear behind the cliffs as we walk away.

We quickly grab coats from the camp as well as my story dice and cards then go and sit in the same bar we had lunch in for warmth. We’re hoping they don’t close too early so we can stay in here to avoid being cold.

The waitress smiles when we catches us playing games rather than reading the menu. Eventually we give in and order some food. We play story dice until it arrives. Again, Tori’s stories are way better than mine. Unfortunately, the bar closes before 10pm so we have to leave. We’re the last people in the place.

Tori and I admire the stars on the walk back but it’s too cold to stay outside any longer than we have to. We use the bathrooms then jump into bed. Tori brilliantly put her coat on upside down by mistake which I refuse to let go. We tuck down into our individual sleeping bags but Tori is still cold.

I warm her up in the best way I know how. By sharing my body heat and movement!


9th September 2016


I wake from a reasonable night sleep but it’s freezing cold and raining during the early hours. We cannot possibly stay in bed as it’s too cold so we both grab fresh clothing out the car boot and run to the shower block together. We share a shower because they cost a quarter every few minutes.

Still cold we pull the tent down and throw everything into the car. Tori sets the map on her phone for our next destination " the secret camping spot. It’s a long drive which I fail to stay awake for even after a McDonald’s breakfast.

Just past the small town of Stevenson we pull into a layby hidden by trees. This is as far as we can get in the car. We grab as many bags as we can carry between us and Tori leads the way down a barely trodden path towards her camping spot. Within a few minutes we cross over a railway line then trek further into dense woodlands that doesn’t appear accessible to anyone. I try to remember if Tori has ever told me how she found this place but I chose not to ask.

Around 10-minutes later we arrive to the area. It’s not as big as Tori had described from when she was camping here with her friends last. It also looks different to the photos she’d sent me. I expected a larger area with denser trees to hide it away from the outside world and maybe enough woodland to separate the campsite into sections but it becomes clear to me that everyone would be close by. Tori camped here earlier in the year with Hayden and her Russian friends. It’s no secret to Tori that I’m not a big fan of her Russian friends because of how she’s described them to me; big drinkers and hooligans. Knowing that there’s 10 brothers in one family tells me that they will have grown up to be boys and boys can be arseholes when they’re together. When Tori was here last Hayden’s boyfriend got drunk and pushed her to the ground. It’s unclear to me exactly what happened but it didn’t sound pleasant.

I go unintentionally quiet whilst setting up the tent and arranging the area. I have images in my head about the things that have happened here before whilst Tori has been here. None of them are good. Although we look to be the only people camping tonight we’re not the only people here. A small family are walking with their children and there’s men fishing off the point. Water surrounds the campsite on both sides and there’s fishing boats near to shore that can also see us. I’m unsure about who owns this land but I doubt they would be happy if they knew about this unofficial campsite.

We leave our things to get lunch back in Stevenson. The pizza place is pretty much the only place open so we eat there. I use the bathroom also as it’ll be the last one today. We purchase snacks and breakfast from the store in town which is, in my opinion full of hicks.

We park back in the same spot to hike back, this time with a large cooler holding our food for the night. I still wasn’t saying much which Tori had now picked up on. We collect wood to build a fire later, there’s plenty around as the season is starting to turn to Autumn so the trees are surrendering to the colder nights. There’s a fire pit ready build from large stones that have been piled high on one side. There’s evidence of recent campers because of the left over rubbish in the pit which hasn’t started to decompose yet. Someone also left gas canisters in there which just shows the sort of people who have been coming here. We collect a sufficient amount of sticks then sit in the camping chairs by the unlit fire.

“What’s wrong?” Tori asks. “Why are you being quiet?”

I don’t really want to explain my reasoning because I know Tori won’t like it. This is her favourite camping spot after all which she was dying to show me. I reply with “Nothing,” a few times but she knows I’m lying. I have no choice but to explain myself.

                “It’s just not what I imagined from how you described it. I thought it would be bigger. I thought you’d be able to get away from the drunk people but it’s clear you cannot. You said there was a big group of hippies that you didn’t know here last time but they’re ‘out on the point’, but what you actually meant was… they’re over there.” I point to an area just 10-metres away. I explain that I feel like she lied to me about this place to make it seem like she wasn’t camping with a load of drunken people but that was the case. There’s no escape from whatever was happening here last time.

Inevitably Tori gets upset because it sounds like I hate it. She says we don’t have to stay. She tries to explain that she has good memories of camping here and she wanted me to see it the way she does. Of course I feel bad for (a) making her upset and (b) not liking it like she does. I explain again that it’s just my imagination painting pictures from the information I was given back then. It’s unexpected but it doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy it together.

We make up over kisses and a cuddle.

I suggest we go for a swim as it’s pretty much the only activity here. I’d already been down to feel the temperature of the water which is colder than the lake. I go down to the shore to where we can walk in but Tori walks up to a small 5-metre high cliff edge which is safe to jump from. I watch as she stands there once again imaging her surrounded by guys all encouraging her to jump. I don’t like it but I chose not to say anything. She waits for me to join her and I wait for her to join me. She jumps.

The look upon her face confirms the water is freezing cold. It doesn’t encourage me to get in but I’m trying to impress her. I join her on the ledge again. I’ve jumped from much higher cliffs in the Philippines but I knew it would be refreshing and cooling from the humid air, not freezing cold followed by a cold wind. Tori jumps again because I say I’ll follow. I hesitate then jump once she swims away. It’s a shock to my body and unpleasant to say the least. We get out together and I give her my towel as the wind doesn’t bother me. Again I try not to think about all the Russian brothers that Tori has hung out with here. I already know they’ll be in better shape than I am, probably better looking (made obvious from meeting Mike) and confident enough to sit around in just their shorts.

Tori wraps up but I only get dressed as it doesn’t feel too cold to me yet. We sit in the chairs again to play story dice. I enjoy playing it with Tori because we’re both terrible at it but it makes me laugh.

“Can you guess what we’re doing tomorrow?” Tori asks.

She’d arranged a surprise activity for us just before I arrived in America but wanted to keep it a surprise until now.

“I think I can guess based on what you’ve told me.”

The clues I’d picked up in conversation were: it doesn’t matter what I wear and it’s outside.

“Tell me then, what are we doing?” She says.

“Well initially I thought we were going white water rafting because you said it doesn’t matter what I wear, but I ruled that out because it’s too expensive.”


“So I think we’re going paintballing because that also doesn’t matter what I wear and you’ve never done it but I know you’d like to.”

“Did you look through my phone?!” Tori asks, confirming that I have guessed correctly.

“No! I figured it out from what you’ve told me. Am I right?”

“No.” She pauses. “We’re going white water rafting.”

I’m totally surprised despite it being my original guess. It’s an expensive activity but I’m really excited to be doing it for the first time. Tori has done it once before but when she was younger so this time it’ll be different. It’s a part of my birthday present to she refuses to accept any money from me.

Just before sunset I light the fire because it’s guaranteed to get cold very soon. It catches quickly and provides enough warmth for us both. We purchased some Magic Powder from the store at Pacific City that is supposed to turn fire all different colours for 30-minutes so we try it out. It sort of works so we save the last 3 packets for when it’s dark.

I play music from my phone through the portable speaker and we watch the fire. Tori gets cold so I suggest we go and “warm up” in the tent. We do and it works.

I poke my head out for some air before Tori is finished dressing to find a man walking in our direction with a fishing pole. I zip the door back shut before he reaches us but had he been 5-minutes earlier he might have heard some noises he didn’t expect. Tori dresses then we sit by the fire again.

The darkness surrounds us as the sun disappears behind the hills to the west. Tori prepares us dinner in a frying pan over the fire. Spaghetti hoops which I had chosen from the store mixed with wiener sausages.

I build the fire up using large pieces of wood we collected earlier. I was convinced someone would see the flames from the road across the river and report it as a forest fire. But no one does.

Eventually the fisherman packs up for the night leaving us alone on the peninsula. Away from the fire the air is cold and nothing can be seen because of the lack of light pollution.

We add the remaining packets of Magic Powder to the fire which create a decent affect.

After a few stories told we decide it’s time for bed. Tori wants to look at the stares before we do so we stand together on the point and watch the night sky. As our eyes adjust the stars appear brighter than I’ve ever seen but it’s too cold to stand still for long. We head to bed, this time the sleeping bags are zipped together so Tori can share my body heat.


10th September 2016


The cold morning air fills the tent like which wakes Tori and I long before our alarm. We start to move because it’s too cold to stay still. I make Tori breakfast and eat outside as well. Within 30-minutes we’re packed away and back at the car to leave. The starting point for the rafting company isn’t far away so we’ll arrive early but it’s better to be in a warm office than a cold tent.

We arrive to a busy office and soon learn there is a wedding party joining us on the river today. Only a few have arrived so far but after 15 more minutes the room is filled with people. After signing in we all gather outside for a quick safety briefing and introduction to the guides.

                “I bet we get Moustache.” Tori whispers in my ear referring to one of the guides who, needless to say has a sizable moustache.

We all change into the wetsuits and kit provided. As the season is turning they provide us with full wetsuit and a fleece to go with the lifejacket, helmet and paddle.

                “I think you’ve put your wetsuit on inside out,” Tori points out to me.

                “I was just checking it fits both ways,” I joke to cover the embarrassment.

We look around to find almost everyone has put it on inside out. I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Once kitted up we have another safety briefing then board a bus which carries us 15-minutes up the river to the starting point. Tori chose this company because they apparently take you further up the river to shoot more rapids than any other company.



To Be Continued

© 2016 Mike Messenger

Author's Note

Mike Messenger
This is a 100% true account of how I met my current girlfriend. I wrote this story for her but I would like to continue to write as a hobby but I need help please.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on October 23, 2016
Last Updated on October 23, 2016
Tags: Indonesia, travel, true story, romance, love


Mike Messenger
Mike Messenger

Hinckley, Leicestershire, United Kingdom

Writing has become a new hobby after writing a blog every day this year whilst I was travelling. I am keen to get help and feedback on a story I am working on please. more..

Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5