By Catherine Bouris
When Melbourne, Australia-based Ash, a content manager, and Tim, a quantity surveyor, matched on Bumble in July 2019, Tim was upfront about the fact that he was about to embark on a two- year-long, round-the-world trip. He described himself on his profile as a “Kiwi living in Melbourne getting ready to travel the world,” so he wasn’t looking for anything serious. Ash wasn’t either; she was just on Bumble as a way to kill time. “I wasn’t really looking to meet anyone, I wasn’t that keen on a relationship,” Ash says. “I was quite happily single. It was just something to do.”
Ash liked Tim’s photos and the fact he loved travelling; Tim liked Ash’s smile and that she shared his desire to see the world. The two started chatting, and Ash told Tim that if he could correctly guess one of her tattoos, he’d ‘win’ a coffee date with her. Noticing how many of Ash’s profile photos were taken in exotic locations, as well as the fact she almost immediately recommended that he visit Budapest when they matched, Tim correctly guessed that she had a travel-related tattoo. “I have a hot air balloon with a world map in it on my ankle,” Ash reveals.
True to her word, they met up for coffee, and were almost immediately struck by how easy the conversation was and how well they got along. Ash was attracted to Tim’s love for his family back home in New Zealand, which was obvious as he showed her photos, shared stories, and expressed excitement about his upcoming trip to see them.
Ash and Tim’s relationship quickly grew from there; they managed to fit in about 30 dates in the three months before Tim left for his trip. Ash says the connection worked because it felt natural. “It was just easy,” she explains. “We’re interested in the same things and I didn’t feel like I had to try really hard.” She was used to relationships that felt like she had to constantly work to please someone, but it wasn’t like that with Tim. For Tim, the connection worked because they had so much in common. Plus, he says that Ash is “probably the nicest person” he’s ever met.
Even though they knew their time together had an expiration date, they weren’t prepared to like each other as much as they did. They continued seeing each other up until Tim’s departure in November 2019. Tim says he was essentially in denial about their upcoming separation, focusing on enjoying their time together, while Ash describes the week Tim left as the “week from hell” for her. “I really wished I could’ve gone with him, but it was three months into the relationship, and I had no money, so it really wasn’t feasible,” she says.
When Tim left, the two technically broke up. Then, in February 2020, he found himself in the Philippines, missing Ash. There’d been a number of times during his trip that he wished Ash was there to see the breathtaking sights, but he had to make do with sending photos. The breakup just didn’t seem to be sticking! So Ash joined Tim in the Philippines for two weeks, making plans to join him a couple months later in Bali. Unfortunately, COVID-19 then struck, and three days after Ash flew home to Melbourne, Tim followed, having only managed to visit five countries in that time (India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines).
Tim moved in with Ash almost immediately after they both returned to Melbourne. (His other option was to move into a house with his brother and a bunch of his brother’s friends.) Soon after, strict lockdown measures were introduced. But rather than being a stressor to their new relationship, staying so close to each other made it stronger.
In May 2022, two years after they moved in together and several lockdowns later, Tim decided to try his round-the-world trip again, this time with Ash. Travel has always been more important to Ash than her career, so the decision to quit her job and join Tim was an easy one.
The plan is to travel for two years, backpacking through Asia, visiting Ash’s parents in Saudi Arabia, and heading to Europe. Then, they’ll move back to Australia or New Zealand to be closer to their families. Farther down the line, they want to settle down and have their own home and family together. There will undoubtedly be a variety of adventures in their future. Says Ash: “I’m definitely excited.”