Happiness in Love


By Laura Schreffler

Don’t give up hope — one very happy American couple gave me renewed faith that the love you want is out there… somewhere

When I set off on a wineries tour of Australia’s Yarra Valley two weeks ago, I wasn’t expecting much. However, seven hours and 64 libations later, I had renewed faith that the relationship I’m seeking exists (and for the record, a certain amount of alcohol did not help me reach this conclusion). What did give me hope: one seemingly suburban American couple who has managed to grow not only as individuals, but as a couple, throughout their marriage because of a mutual love of travel. Intrigued? You should be.

Australia Wine Country

It sounds like something out of a really bad Chevy Chase comedy (Australian Vacation, anyone?). When I boarded the Australian Wine Tour Company‘s silver bullet bus in Melbourne with a family of four French people, a Swedish father-daughter duo, two Tasmanian post-collegiate girls, a photo-happy couple from Hong Kong and an American mom and dad from South Dakota, I was expecting the worst. When you factored in the overly boisterous Aussie tour guide, I was 99% positive the promised plethora of wine was going to be necessary for my sanity.

It wasn’t. In fact, I barely felt tipsy during the course of the day. What I did find, quite unexpectedly, were two unusual allies in the form of a 50-something couple from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I’m not sure they’d want themselves mentioned by name in this piece, so let’s call this husband and wife team Sue and Fred. Hearing that they were from a state I had a) never visited b) never desired to visit c) houses a meager 812,000 people didn’t make me rush to make besties. Oh, how ignorant I feel in hindsight.

S & F are one of the most interesting couples I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life. In Australia to prematurely celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary (which happens to be in June), they decided to take a month off of work and explore the wineries of Australia and New Zealand. On their own. With backpacks.

Mind you, back in the States they both have proper careers– she’s had the same job in investments for 29 years. They have a 21-year-old son, who lives close to home. He has inherited his parents’ undying love of travel.

Besides their love of travel — or perhaps because of it —  they also still have a strong romantic love for one another. It’s obvious in the way they touch hands, how he seemed to  protect her, how they finished one another’s sentences.

But that isn’t all. They share common interests, and rarely argue. They speak knowledgeably and matter-of-factly about the places they’ve been, the people they’ve met, how they make their life at home exciting and surprising by hosting fun dinner parties for friends, and learning new things– like how to cook or how to rock climb. They aren’t rich but they do know the bigger price is not enjoying every moment that life has to offer.

“Why wait?” Fred pondered aloud at the Domaine Chandon winery over a glass of bubbly. “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Agreed Sue, “We didn’t want to wait to travel until we retired. The point of traveling is to be good at traveling when you retire.”

Earlier in the day, over lunch (and more wine) at the Rochford Winery, Sue had proudly showed off photos of her hubby climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge — a 3 hour feat that required a harness, fearlessness and a lot of skill.

Why not be proud of him? She should be. Sue loves that she and her husband can leave the life they know behind and be perfectly content with their own company for a month at a time, that they don’t have to worry about their son, that they still love, respect and learn from one another after all this time together.

“I didn’t want kids; he wanted four,” she told me. “We compromised.”

When you love someone as much as they clearly love each other, you make those concessions. And as it turns out, her husband knew her enough to realize she’d be a great mother and love to have children — at the end of the day, she cherishes her child more than anyone (save her other half) on the planet.

“My son just got out of  a relationship,” she said. “He’s in his final year of college. I told him, ‘Wanderlust is in your blood. Don’t settle down until you’re ready, and then you better find someone who loves to travel as much as you do.’”

Sage advice from my new relationship idol — which will be advice I, too, follow. If the fundamentals of what you deem to be important aren’t there in a relationship, don’t force it to work. When something is right, you’ll know.

“Wow,” I said wistfully. “You have the perfect life.”

Sue just grinned beatifically, with the satisfied smile of a woman who doesn’t have to keep searching to realize she has it all. “You know,” she said. “You’re right.”

So don’t give up hope. You will find the love you deserve one day. You will be happy. So have faith. I do…

Laura xo



Filed Under: Blogs


About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.


Peter Drayton Wines also produces sparkling wines and a selection of Liqueur Fortified wines. The extent of the range is truly exceptional for a small, boutique producer. More visit -   http://www.pdwines.com.au/

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