It’s not about the destination…{Part One}

This is one of those posts that, despite being someone’s personal love story, will speak to so many of us. In true AOW love story style, this is a story that on the surface seems like it should be hugely romantic, and yet underneath the surface are a myriad of difficulties, and compromises to be made.

So many of us grow up hoping or believing that we will live the dream – meet the love of our lives, get married, have babies and live in a perfect house in the country, and yet so few of us end up with that dream. Along the way, things go wrong, compromises are made, things don’t work out how we think they will – but sometimes that’s actually for the best – life would be boring if we all lived in perfect houses in the country, no?

This is Chloe’s story…

As little girls many of us grow up to believe in the fairy tale – find your prince and all will be right with the world… well, your world at least. However, this fairy tale has now evolved, no longer do we fly the nest into the arms of said prince but as part of a generation with options where opportunities and adventures are out there for young independent women – University, careers, world travel – and well, somewhere in-between we begin our search for our prince.

For me it was just this story, as I sat on the bedroom floor and packed my rucksack at my Dad’s house in the Autumn of 2004 it never really crossed my mind that the journey I was about to begin would change the direction of my life forever.

Travelling the world was something many of my friends had done in their early twenties and while they were now beginning to scale corporate ladders I was frivolously abandoning mine for exciting new adventures. In truth I had already unwittingly swum from the mainstream on meeting Bear Grylls and persuading him to employ me in Spring 2003… but that’s another story…

Back to my prince… first stop St. Petersburg, my journey had begun. Travelling mainly overland I headed East, making a sharp right turn at Beijing, heading for South-East Asia and onwards to the Southern Hemisphere. Absolutely convinced I would be home by Christmas (just three months after departing) I embraced every country and culture I visited. In early 2005 I landed on New Zealand soil for the first time and fell in love. No, not yet… the prince comes later…

New Zealand, for those who have had the fortune of visiting may well agree, is quite simply one of the most beautiful and untouched countries of the world. Oh ok, I am a little biased now. My three month trip to see some interesting places turned into a three year adventure: living and working in a country many Europeans believe is ‘just that little bit too far’.

In mid 2006 I was starting to think about returning ‘home’, it was only then that our paths finally crossed. I had become good friends with my prince’s brother and sister-in-law during my time in Queenstown, and one Sunday they invited me for lunch. It was then that we met. Did I know he was my prince? Not really. Were there lightening bolts, choirs from heaven, no! But there absolutely was one thing – complete and utter ease with one another. On one of our first dates he took me skiing for the day (which you can do when you live and work in Queenstown), on the way back we popped into the supermarket to get some basics for dinner, pretty mundane I know, but walking through those aisles without a question of what to get, without awkwardness or pretense, it was then that I knew – it just felt so very right.

And so, this brings me back to believing your search is done when you find THE one. I was 30 years old, I had always hoped to marry and start a family, dreamt of the little cottage and the picket fence and had looked long and hard for the right man to stroll hand in hand down this path of life together. Here I was, my prince by my side and now, surely now, the strolling could begin… would it heck!

Obstacle one, my prince had previously been married and although it was still early days made it quite clear he wouldn’t be rushing down the aisle a second time. Obstacle two, establishing any sort of career in the tourist mecca of Queenstown was near impossible as a Brit and having maxed out a credit card (or two) I was in desperate need of serious employment. The time had come for me to head back to England and leave my prince behind…

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Marriage
12 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    How exciting Chloe! Can't wait to hear (read) more. Particularly on the topic of marrying someone who has been married before (or indeed not marrying them) – I often wonder how my stepdad feels about it, and I'm not sure how I would deal with any associated fallout…

    Yay for the Prince!xx

  2. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Also I have just realised who you are!!! Such gorgeous photos of the family Wells! Love this even more now x

  3. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Whenever I tell people that I'm Australian and my husband is Scottish they say 'oh how romantic!' and I always say 'well, actually, 2 people from different sides of the world can be a logistical nightmare.' please can we have your next installment shortly because I don't like it being left at 'it was nearly time to leave the prince behind' please thanks. by the way I am with Bella on the gorgeousness of the photos!

  4. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Oh you do tease with your cliffhangers!

  5. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I love this piece, and can't wait for part two. It is so well written, and the photo of you and your prince is gorgeous.

    As a child my life plan was to live on the Canadian Prairies, in an open plan timber house (with a porch), with handsome candian husband. We have relatives in Winnipeg, and I used to hear all about their outdoors lifestyle, and imagined a connection with me and Canada. I loved Country Music, anything Canadian, and thought the rolling plains were just the most serene place in the world.

    Life never turned out like this. I have hinted to my husband at selling his family farm in North Wales and buying a farm in the prairies, but never going to happen. I am, however, always in awe of those who do live the dream, travel and have a great adventure.

    Waffling now, but I think you are beautiful, your photos are amazeballs (so very talented), you clearly have a career that you really love, and your writing is just brilliant.


  6. Catherine
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, part two now please. Or, at least emailed to me so I can read it over lunch?!

  7. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Hello ladies, thank you for your lovely comments about my photography. Hopefully you won't have to wait too long for Part Two…

  8. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Brilliant writer. Well-travelled. Photographer. Chloe you are a catch and a half! And I COULD sneak peek part 2…but I'm not going to, lest I get lynched by our readers for the story!

  9. Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Part two! Part two! I'm on the edge of my seat and bouncing…!

    Chloe I feel it's slightly unfair that you're so talented a photographer and also so talented a writer. And then all cool and adventurous too. You're just too awesome :-D

    K x

  10. Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh that Chloe, as in famous for the gorgeous shots of Clare and that amazing one of Emilia asleep on her front – too cute! I also love this pic of NZ, absolutely amazing!

    Can't wait to read more of your story, Chloe. I also must know how you met Bear Grylls and convinced him to employ you – I need that hear THAT story!


  11. Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Ahh Katelase, one of the things I love about photography (and writing) is that I get to share the results and enjoyment with everyone.

    Jenny, I would be delighted to share the BG story, maybe one day, if AOW invite me back!

  12. Posted December 21, 2011 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    My mistake: Katielase… apologies x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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