Note: This was originally published on September 13th, 2016.

We lay on the sand, the brilliant white moon glowing above us. Her electric blue hair danced in the breeze as she sat watching the stars and I sat watching her. She is utterly radiant.

Skin the colour of polished copper and amber eyes so brown they are almost black. Small and kind, funny and tough, she can roll a joint in under two minutes.

The sound of the waves kissing the beach, just meters away, mixes with Carbon Based Lifeforms, my go-to chill out music, playing softly as another shower of shooting stars flash across the night sky. The red sand of Hormuz island, a stunning place of fantastical volcanic rock formations and multicoloured beaches, drains through my hand as my mind races at five hundred miles an hour.

I think I am falling in love. This was not part of the plan.

Nina is beautiful, she’s funny, she’s easy-going, she’s a yoga enthusiast, a photographer, a local explorer.

We have spent a month hitchhiking across Iran after a stand out first date. We explored Iran on a budget, spending under seven hundred dollars between us in a month, camping and Couchsurfing our way across the land…

A month of one on one adventuring is a year in normal dating time and our connection had only grown. We have a secret handshake.

The only problem? Nina is an Iranian student… which meant she has no money and is the proud owner of one of the weakest passports in the world. Nina has just a year and a half to go to finish her dentistry qualification but, as many of you will know, eighteen months is an impossibly long time to be apart from somebody new and exciting who has just entered your life.

I looked at her again, for us to be together would involve the conquering of many challenges – her parents would not want her to leave the country or drop out of university and I would have to somehow double my online income to fund our adventures together, a daunting prospect.

I sat up, she looked at me, a question forming on my lips as she passed me a mug of wine.

“Meet me in six weeks, after I’ve backpacked through Pakistan… we can drive a multi-coloured tuk tuk across India?”

“You know this will change both our plans, don’t you?” she mused.

We kissed, the sand a velvet blanket, the stars and the moon illuminating the beach. I was not at all sure if this was the logical decision, only that it was the right decision.

It was decided, Nina and I would meet up in India when I finally crossed from Pakistan…

Later, we would head back to Iran for a big, fat, Persian wedding.

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