Today we are excited to talk with Emma, 21, and Jean-Michel (Jim), 25 who live 10,283 miles apart. The good news is they are closing the distance in the next two weeks. Jim lives in France and Emma lives in Australia, but soon they will be living together on the Gold Coast.
They have been in a long distance relationship for over two years and share a passion for travel and working through the distance. In this exciting LDR interview, Emma and Jim share funny stories about travelling on a time crunch and how to surprise your long distance partner!
We hope you enjoy reading about their journey as much as we did!
Thanks for joining us Emma and Jim, we are eager to hear how your romance began. Care to share a little of your long-distance story?
I left France for an exchange to Australia unbeknownst to me how life-changing it would be. Both Emma and myself were taking a marketing course and as fate may have it, we had signed up for the same tutorial timeslot.
I was mesmerised when I saw Emma entering my classroom and I could tell she was intrigued by me. When she asked if I would like to do the group assignment together, of course, I said yes! Since that moment our relationship grew from friendship to love.
As our couple was getting stronger and stronger, my departure was approaching with the fear of long distance weighing heavily on our minds and hearts. This was certainly a challenge, I had to leave Australia, I didn’t have a choice, but the prospect of never seeing each other again was devastating.
We both tried to continue our lives apart, and more or less forget about each other but we realised quickly that it was more painful to try to forget our past together.
A few months on Emma did an exchange in the Netherlands and I surprised her by showing up at her student dorm unannounced. Once again reunited, our feelings could express themselves, and we shared amazing moments of reconnecting. It just felt right… Since then, we have continued to travel back and forth having created so many unforgettable memories.
We were fortunate to have visited 7 countries in 2017 and created a page to tell our story @wortheverymiles
What first attracted you to each other?
Upon first glance, we were both attracted to each other physically. Personally, I also was attracted to an aura I felt from Jim, his presence intrigued me. His French accent also helped with the charm factor.
Being 10,000 miles apart, how often do you visit each other?
We have fortunately been able to visit each other regularly. With the longest periods apart being 3 months. It may sound expensive, but we both worked really hard and saved between the months apart.
How do you like to enjoy your time when you travel together?
We both love travelling!!! As soon as we can, we book our next adventure. We are also both into sports, I train every day at the gym whilst Emma is currently really passionate about her dancing having recently discovered Salsa.
I secretly started taking private dance lessons during 3 months we had apart as I wanted to surprise her. She was so happy. For now I have stopped but who knows, one day I will maybe start again.
When together, we enjoy going to the beach or getting out on the water, we also are massive foodies, cooking together and getting dressed up to dine at nice restaurants.
We also love chilling in front of a good tv show cuddled up on the couch with Emma’s dog. Which reminds me, we both adore animals!
Your Instagram has lots of beautiful destination pictures, is travel a passion you share?
We both agree with that one! Travelling is everything! We love it and travel as often as we can. Of course, it’s expensive but we try to be smart about it and travel to destinations where we know people and thus avoid accommodation costs.
Travel is also something we are happy to save up for and spend our savings on. Travel enriches our lives, providing us not only beautiful pictures but experiences with meeting new people, discovering new cultures and of course getting mesmerized by amazing sceneries.
We hope to visit South America and South Africa in the future, one of our ideal holidays would be an African safari. Our ideal romantic getaway, however, would have to be Bora Bora. Maybe one to save for a honeymoon 😉
Is there a TV show or movie that you both enjoy?
We both love the tv series, ‘This is Us’. Seriously if you haven’t watched it, you should start. At the beginning I was like, Emma are you serious?! This sounds like a girly show… But quickly we both were captivated by the storyline and eager to see the next episode.
PS: We always make sure to have some tissues next to us when we watch an episode.
How do you communicate daily while living long-distance?
Thanks to technology, surviving the distance has been made easier. We always say to each other, “imagine how hard this would have been in the past… beyond challenging.”
To navigate the distance, we Facetime a lot (every day) as this feels like the closest form of communication we can get to be together. It is really assuring to be able to see your partner and his facial expressions. Seeing his smile can make all the difference on a tough day.
Thanks to these technologies the only thing that an LDR can take away from you is touch. Jim and I have also written each other letters. We like this old-school style.
Text messages are always nice but a handwritten letter is very special and keeps our relationship exciting and fresh too. The thrill of receiving a letter from him is hard to describe. So guys keep the romance alive!
What are your nicknames for each other?
BAE- ‘Before anyone else’
This was popular on social media at the time of us first meeting and since then it has stuck.
Do you have an unforgettable experience you’ve been through as a couple?
Sailing through the Aegean Sea on a catamaran was one of the most memorable experiences we shared. This holiday is hard to describe… Our advice would be ‘just do it!’ Unless you get seasick of course!
What are your top LDR resources?
If you have iPhones, you’ve got everything you need on it (Facetime). We use Whatsapp and Snapchat a lot to send pictures to each other and tag each other on cute posts and funny videos on Instagram and Facebook.
Whilst we also created an Instagram couples page @wortheverymiles which gave us a little project of our own to work on.
When it comes to booking flights we usually use Skyscanner as a first option but we also look into other websites. Airbnb has become a good friend of ours and we have never been disappointed. When it comes to food, we use TripAdvisor.
Please share a few of your favourite relationship pictures:
We use anything, depends on where we are going of course. We are young and don’t complain much. We don’t have a choice when travelling to each other lol, kind of has to be a plane, but besides that, we are pretty open to any methods of transport.
Emma is amazing when it comes to travelling. I’m the type of person who just looks for a plane ticket and buys it. Emma will find the best prices, best deals and the most efficient way to arrive at your destination. She has made us save lots of money and time ha ha!
What are your best relationship strengths and values?
What we value the most about our relationship is the respect we have for each other. We have the utmost trust and commitment to each other and have developed really strong communication, probably due to the fact that communication is all you have when loving through distance.
We are a normal couple and like other we too encounter problems and have arguments. Our strength is the fact that we talk through them and never let our pride get in the way. We can both admit when we are wrong and are able to apologize.
Do you have any memorable gifts you have sent or received?
Jim: A plane ticket to come and see her in the US when it wasn’t expected 🙂
Emma: Argh… too many to choose from. Possibly my ring this valentines day which was absolutely stunning!!
What are some of your quotes or mottos to live by?
“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back”
– This quote helps us put in perspective, that although long distance is hard we should be so grateful to have found love and be in such a healthy relationship.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’
– I study psychology, and my favourite characteristic of people is kindness, I feel the world would be a much nicer place if everyone prioritised kindness – Emma
“Life is short, focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t”
– I find this quote grounding, when I am feeling pity for myself I remind myself not to sweat the small stuff.
What advice would you give to other LDR couples?
Anything is achievable. You only need to want it… Yes, it a simple advice but believe us, when you have the right mindset you can make any difficult circumstance work.
We also think it’s important to discuss your plan of closing the distance. Although manageable, no couple can stay long distance forever. It wouldn’t be unhealthy for a lifelong relationship… So we have found it helpful to start planning our future together and make steps towards that.
What are your long-term plans?
Well, we have started thinking of long-term as in two weeks I am moving to Australia. This is the biggest decision of my life and I am so happy I have taken the step. Yes, it is really stressful for both of us but we know we have all the ‘tools’ in our hands to build a strong “normal” couple (cause let’s face it, LDR is not normal) lol.
Describe your dream weekend – How would you spend this time together?
That’s a good question!!! I am flying over to Aussie in two weeks. Our first weekend will be filled with cuddles. We haven’t seen each other in nearly two months so for once we would be happy to chill and just enjoy each other (we have a lot of cuddles to catch up on). I also can’t wait to cook her favourite recipe (Italian Style Scaloppine with Lemon).
Do you have any funny moments from your time together?
Running in Athens main harbour to catch a ferry (funniest thing ever, well for us lol).
THE SETTING: We were onboard a ferry scheduled to arrive at Athens port at 6 pm. Our next ferry was an overnight ferry to our next destination, Crete, which was scheduled to leave at 6:45 pm.
The first ferry was arriving into port 35min late, thus we had under 10min to run 1.5 km with luggage. If we missed the next ferry, we would have had to stay overnight in Athens then purchase a flight for the next day having missed an entire day at a 5-star hotel.
As you can imagine the pressure to make the second ferry was intense and we literally had 8min to run to the other side of the biggest ferry port in Greece.
THE STRATEGY: We managed all our way through to the front of the boat exit ramp pushing everyone and explaining we have a ferry to catch. Jim was going to sprint to the ferry as he is the better runner.
But, we had shit tons of suitcases… So we strategically decided Jim would carry the suitcases and I would try to sprint ahead and hold up the ferry. As soon as the ramp was down, I took off like a horse on a racetrack and disappeared into the crowd. Jim could see me 500m ahead running (and struggling) to the ferry … haha so funny I am literally laughing in front of my laptop.
He could obviously see me slow down and begin walking (btw I am a shit runner) so he called me. Guys take note, he managed to stay calm, and I picked up the phone to hear, “Darling, I don’t want to be annoying, I can see you and you have stopped running… could you please started running again?!!!” Well, low and behold I picked up the pace with a new fire in my belly. We weren’t going to miss this f**king ferry.
Anyways guys long story short we made it!!! We collapsed into our overnight room, looking like red tomatoes and laughed for a good rest of the night.
What has being in a long distance relationship taught you?
Living a long distance relationship and surviving the distance has taught us that anything is possible no matter what life throws our way.
We have learnt to savour the good and push through the inherent challenges. We have learnt what true commitment and dedication looks like and are proud of ourselves and the maturity we have displayed throughout the last 2 years.
We purposefully aimed to focus on the positives, how lucky we are to have met each other and experience all that we have experienced, instead of pitying our situation and dwelling on ‘this isn’t fair’. This was sometimes hard to do, especially when at the airport feeling as though our hearts were getting ripped from our chest as we hugged goodbye once more.
Emma- From my perspective long distance has taught me to be so grateful for the love, I cherish it now, I cherish the moments when we are together and I feel fortunate each and every day.
What is the most romantic gesture you have done for each other?
Jim: Emma has offered me many sentimental and handmade gifts! We are always trying to surprise the other and come up with something that will bring the other to tears or put a massive smile on their face.
One of my favourite things Emma did for me was the fact of organizing clues for me, about a surprise holiday she had organised for my first birthday spent together.
One night when I was a student living on the Gold Coast at uni accommodation, Emma and I were on the phone together and she said to me “you should go and check in front of your door”. Of course, my first reaction was to jump out of bed thinking she was on the other side of my door. But no, no one… On the floor, there was a beautifully crafted paper plane. This paper plane told me to pack a bag and that we were leaving on a plane somewhere the next day.
The next day we were on a train heading to the airport. She passed me a “game” that I had to solve in order to know where we were going. She had pre-cut plenty of small papers with letters on them. To make it simple, I had to play a kind of scrabble to know destination we were heading. I was really touched by that gift and by the time she took to prepare everything. No one had ever done something like this for me.
When we arrived in Cairns “The Great Barrier Reef”, she had picked a romantic hotel for us. Those short holidays are some of my favourite memories.
Emma: Jim knew I was falling in love with Salsa dance whilst on my exchange to the US. So unbeknown to me, he took it upon himself to take up dance classes while we were separated. When we reconnected, he let me in on this little secret, by dancing with me in my room. I was shocked, elated and emotional by this act of love he had displayed.
Jim and I have never been together for one of my birthdays, but Jim has always managed to make my day so so special. Last time he was at my house, he hid birthday presents so that come my birthday, I had a treasure hunt organised for me to find these secret gifts and open them on my special day. Truly a romantic gesture.
How did your friends and family react to you being in an LDR?
Perfectly normally, they just warned us that it would be a challenge. The thing with our relationship is that both of our families love each other’s partners which we both believe is really important when wanting to create something stable and long-term. It truly would have been an issue for us if we didn’t like each other’s family.
Were there any challenges or hardships you had to overcome?
The first thing we have overcome is of course distance!!!
We also have overcome the fact that some of our friends were saying that it would never work etc. Lots of people are negative about LDR and don’t see the point of it.
Lastly, until recently, we didn’t think that our professions would allow us to be reunited (Jim in the French Special Forces). But here we are now with Jim moving to Australia in a few weeks time.
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