Ask and it is given - an uncommon love story - Journal of Nomads

Ask and it is given – an uncommon love story

Whenever Niko and I tell our friends how we met, they react with amazement. That’s why I decided to share our story with you. I bet everyone likes a good love story (even the ones who don’t want to admit it publicly), especially when it’s an uncommon one! Let me tell you how Niko hitchhiked into my life.


Ask and it is given - An uncommon Love story - Journal of Nomads



It was the summer of 2014. I was staying in a caravan of friends in Ireland. They were helping me getting back on my feet. I was recovering from a broken heart, had no idea what to do next and I had barely any money left. Not the best place to be in!

Traveling around the world sounds glamorous but there are moments when it can be hard, especially when you have no sense of direction or no money. I think we’ve all been there before. There is a famous quote: “Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself”. And it’s true, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find out what you want to do with your life!


It wasn’t necessarily the broken heart that made me feel lost. It was not knowing what path I wanted to take. I was tired of traveling without a direction. The first years of my nomadic life had been fun – going to far away places, meeting lots of people, having plenty of adventures – but after a while, I had the feeling I was walking around in circles.

I had to start over in every country – arriving alone, finding a job to earn some money and finding a place to live for a while. Of course, I kept visiting beautiful areas and made new friends but I felt those trips lost their magic. I kept ending up being broke and alone and I had had enough of it! Traveling without a purpose is like living without a purpose or direction. It loses its meaning and it becomes superficial, boring and empty.


The previous year I had tried to live a more settled life in the UK with my partner but I had felt a restlessness. Although I was tired of traveling without a goal, I started to miss my life on the road. I thought I just had the post-travel blues. I could fool my mind but in my heart, I was still a nomad.

What does life do when you’re not following your path? It gives you a really big smack in the face! My relationship came to an end. At first, I was angry and heartbroken. I didn’t have a clue about what I should do or where I should go. In an impulse, I decided to visit friends in Ireland. They had a beautiful little retreat in a forest called Temple Grove and I was welcome to stay in their caravan for as long as needed to get back on my feet.


Temple Grove - Journal of Nomads

The cottage in Temple Grove



Temple Grove - Journal of Nomads

The beautiful garden of Temple Grove



Ask and it is given - An uncommon Love story - Journal of Nomads

Enjoying the view near the natural swimming pool



So there I was, tucked away in the little colorful caravan, reflecting and contemplating about what I wanted to do with my life. I was turning 30 and I felt it was time to stop walking around in endless circles and start creating a direction for myself.


My friends lent me a book called ‘Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires ‘by Esther and Jerry Hicks. In that book I read about the importance of knowing what you want, having clear intentions and how to manifest dreams into reality. One of the steps was writing a wish list (you can compare it with writing a letter to Santa Claus when you were a child). I decided to try this out.


Temple Grove - Journal of Nomads



On my 30th birthday, in the company of a bottle of red wine, I made a wish list. The first thing I wrote was that I would realize my dream of being a writer. I had been dreaming of this since I was a child but never put those thoughts into action. I had also dreamed of being a photographer. I had played with my camera for years but now I wanted to take my photography to a professional level. I realized that I could start a website to share my stories and photos and it could serve as a purpose within my travels.


I wanted to go overland to Africa or Asia. It sounded like a fun challenge! I also wished for a travel partner. I had traveled solo for years and I felt I would enjoy this adventure more with a partner who was on the same level as me, had the same travel experience and wanted the same things that I did. And to finish my list, I wanted to learn more languages, especially Spanish.


It didn’t seem impossible to manifest my wishes. I just had no idea where to start. I was living on my last 100 euro so I definitely needed to find a way to earn some money. I decided to have faith that things would somehow work themselves out.


A few days later I received an email from a friend. He was a traveler who my parents had picked up in Calais (France) in the summer of 2013 while he was hitchhiking. They had invited him to their house and he had even slept in my room while I was working in a hotel in the French Alps.


I only spoke once with him on the phone when my mum told me they had a hitchhiker in their home. We became friends on Facebook and every now and then we would have a short chat about where we were in the world and what we were doing there. In his latest email, he told me that he was going to Lyon in France to earn some money grape picking and he invited me to come and join him. You might have guessed it already, the name of this guy was Niko.


Ask and it is given - An uncommon Love story - Journal of Nomads



It sounded romantic, picking grapes in the French vineyards. I had never tried it before. It would also be fun to finally meet Niko. I decided to let the idea rest for a while and went for a few days to a little music festival in the nearby village. While there I met some French travelers who started talking to me about grape picking and how it’s a great way to earn some extra cash. A couple of days later I met a Dutch traveler. When we were talking about jobs, he advised me to go grape picking. He had done it before in Lyon and he loved it. Was this coincidence or was the Universe trying to tell me something? I decided to take it as a sign. That same week I sent Niko a message I would meet him in Lyon.


About five weeks later we saw each other for the first time. During our first hour together Niko told me about his plans of hitchhiking to South-Africa. He wanted to document the whole trip by making a web series. He was looking for someone who loved being behind a camera. When he asked me if I wanted to join him on this adventure, I didn’t think twice. It might seem very impulsive and naive, going on a big journey like this with someone who I barely knew. But it felt so right to do this. This is what I had wished for on my birthday! And this is how the story of Journal of Nomads began.


Ask and it is given - An uncommon Love story - Journal of Nomads



After the grape picking, we went to Ireland where we worked and prepared for the journey. We had initially planned to stay there for three months but ended up staying for eleven months. We lived together in the small caravan in Temple Grove (yes, the same one where I wrote my wishlist), worked side by side to earn money and made a website. During that time our love for each other grew and we decided not only to hitchhike to Africa but across the whole world.


Ask and it is given - An uncommon Love story - Journal of Nomads

working side by side


Call it the Universe, God, magic or whatever you want, but this is how life responds when you choose a direction, set clear intentions and dare to follow your path! Writing a wish list can also help…


To be really honest, not everything on my list came true: I still don’t speak Spanish. I got way too distracted learning Turkish instead.



Studying Turkish together
Studying Turkish together



Do you have or know an uncommon or beautiful (love) story? Let us know in the comments below!


Ask and it is given - An Uncommon Love Story by Journal of Nomads
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63 thoughts on “Ask and it is given – an uncommon love story”

  1. So sweet! Thanks for sharing!

    In Chinese culture, it’s may called that destiny brought you two together!

    I’m searching the unusual Travel place in Georgia and then find your pages!

    It’s like we are scattered around the world, therefore we decided to travel and find ourselves piece by piece.

    I hope you all well and enjoy the amazing life.

  2. Hey, I was looking for trekking / thru-hiking locations in October, and through your post on Ala-Kul Kyrgystan ended up reading on your website. It’s refreshing, headtwarming and energizing!
    Alao from Belgium, I’ve been mostly Nomadic too for the past 10 years. Hitting a similar depth after 5 years of lots of traveling, broken relationship and empty bank account, my rock bottom brought me into humanitarian work where I managed to travel to quite inaccessible places like South-Sudan and Afghanistan, live close to local culture and get deeper into understanding different ways of living arouns the globe.
    Now another 5 years later, a second wave of unease broke out, breaking with my partner, who I could take into my nomadic life but could not build it and share it with equally.

    Reading your love story feeds the persuasion that we need be brave enough to feel and follow our guts, and the path will bring us enrichment. Poaaibly, hopefully, one day with a partner too who sharea the same nomad soul.

    Keep on going, and thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Katrin, thank you for sharing your story with me! You’ve already lived an incredible life!

      Life on the road is indeed not always easy and maintaining a relationship while traveling either.
      Life comes in waves and nothing is certain. I’m sorry to hear that you broke up with your partner. While my relationship with Niko is still good – although we’ve just had a very rough year – I don’t believe in ‘eternal love’ and ‘the-one-and-only’. We continuously grow as individuals and sometimes we outgrow each other or our goals and dreams change or … But I have faith and trust that everything always happens for a reason. And that unease is definitely a sign that something isn’t good and stopping you from growing and flowing and that changes need to be made.
      I wish for you to find love again and until then to keep enjoying your nomadic lifestyle and your travels! We’re after all never really alone.
      Big hug!

  3. this is one really inspiring and romantic story. When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, right?
    I’m now motivated more than ever to write that wishlist haha. xxx

  4. This is romantic & eye openers for me.

    Ps. Read your story sitting at a boring day long team meeting after travelling for 2 weeks through 2 cities in 2 different countries(Sofia inBulgaria & Cancun in Mexico) and meeting lot of wonderful people, made some friend for life and ofcourse the wonderful nature around these cities, thinking what is next? – Job or Travel 🙂

  5. Owwwwww!!! God you guys! This post gives me all the goose bumps. Im gonna write my flippin list tomorrow! I feel a connection to you girl in that this my first year of travels is only the beginning for me. Ive finally found my true expression through my blog and want only to be surrounded by like minded people! So glad to now be following your adventures! Go Mum and Dads!

  6. Ah, what a great way to meet the love of your life. Even a cynical grump like me had his heart warmed by reading this story 🙂 I completely agree that sometimes you do have to hit rock bottom to then get your life changed and redirected in wonderful ways you never thought possible. Glad that’s what happened for you, and that this website was born from it!

  7. Such a cute story and what a cool way to meet. I think relationships form in all sorts of ways. Essentially you just need to have common interests. Making plans is useful but there always needs to be some flexibility for things not to go to plan. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!

    1. I agree with you, there are many different relationships in many different forms. What brings people together is common interests, the same level of thinking and feeling, the same perspective on life or just the same way of being in general. It definitely helps when you have the same goals in a relationship, or better, when you walk on the same path. There will always be differences but that makes a relationship (love-friendship-family) also very interesting!

  8. Kate Carter Hickey

    I wrote out my wishlist/ goal list when I was 25 and man…was I off course. I did it again for the year before 30 and the day after my birthday I met someone wonderful who is flying to Seoul as soon as we can line up our travel plans (the next two weeks!). I’m over the moon and just praying that it ends up being the way I hope it is now, and the way your love story has been!

    1. Kate, from the bottom of my heart I wish that your wishing list also will manifest the way it did for me! It’s so exciting that he is flying to Seoul to see you and I wish you an amazing time together!! xxx

  9. Cynthia, what a very interesting way to meet. You will now have a great story to tell your kids and grandkids on how you two met. It’s cute how you mentioned that he hitchhiked into your life.

    1. It’s indeed quite a story. Whenever we tell it to people, they love it too 🙂 I’m still amazed how it all happened and yes, who knows, one day we might tell it to our children. But first we’ll make this long long journey around the world 🙂

  10. Aww Cythina!! I feel like I’m always learning more and more about your backstory. This one makes me smile for so many reasons. I can completely relate to this. The book you read sounds very similar to a documentary I watched called “The Secret” which talks about the same principles. Thinking positive thoughts, saying what you want, being specific, etc. Your book told you to write a wish list – whereas the documentary I watched instructed me to make a vision board. Same principles, different instructions.

    I made my vision board as I was watching the documentary. One quadrant of my board was dedicated to the type of man and relationship I wanted to have. The very next day….that guy called me for the first time. And we made plans for our first date. It is now 3 years later and we are getting married next month. He is everything I dreamed of and more.

    So happy you met the guy of your dreams – you guys are wonderful together. Keep on thinking positive thoughts and speaking your dreams into existence. There is great power in our thoughts!

    1. Oooh, Ashley, that is also an amazing love story!! I’m so happy for you!!
      Yes, the Universal laws work with positive energy, positive intentions and a positive perspective on life. It definitely is magical. I’m still amazed by how it works. There have been amazing things happening in the past two years and although I know I’ve created it with my own thoughts and well-being, I still find it magical and inspiring 🙂 I can’t wait to see your wedding photos!! I’ll be looking forward to it! Will you make a vlog about your wedding?

  11. Thanks for sharing your story! I always said that whoever I marry, has to be a fellow traveler. So when I met my then boyfriend in 2006, we went on a road trip across the US together a year later. People said we were crazy, no one survives that much time in a car together. Well we had a blast, got married a year later and have been traveling the world non stop since (now with a tiny globetrotter in tow!). So glad you found someone that shares the same interests and passions!

    1. That is a beautiful story Maggie! Thank you so much for sharing that with me! It is very special to find someone with whom you can share the same interests and passions, who wants the same things in life and who is on exactly the same level as you are. I’m so happy that you’ve found that someone too and even created a little globetrotter together! I wish you lots of love, adventure and happiness on your path around the world!

  12. Your story is beautiful. This piece was extremely well written and full of raw emotions that help your readers connect with you. I wish you the best 🙂

  13. Arianne Wolodarsky

    Hi Cynthia! I originally read about you guys on that NOMADS group on facebook, and decided to delve further into what you two were about. I love reading about other travellers, and especially how love and travel can work so well together when you meet the right person. I’m currently on a “hiatus” with my travel partner, whom I very much want to be my life partner too. For now, we have had to go our separate ways, but the way we met was also interesting. We met briefly one afternoon playing ping-pong whilst talking about our travel plans and our likes and dislikes (this was in Australia at the time), call it an unofficial first date, haha. Then I went off for 3 weeks to do some WOOFing, We kept in touch on facebook and e-mail, and after decided to get together to travel for a bit in my van in Australia. It wasn’t love at first site either, but suddenly living with essentially a stranger in a van grew to be a strong bond and relationship which lasted 8 months in total, all over the Australian continent, in my little van. Neither of us had high expectations with the experience, but it was a beautiful connection we made and made my Australian adventure one to never forget. We did get back together to travel for another year eventually after our first separation. Now, only time will tell what may happen in the near future. I believe very much in the power of visualisation and creating your own reality, the laws of attraction, etc. But perhaps I will do what you suggested here too, and write down a wish list. My 30th is approaching later this year, so I guess…anything is possible. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you Jennifer! People really loved this story. It’s indeed amazing how Niko and I met, especially right after I made my wishing list. It gives me faith that everything is possible and that we just have to believe in it! Enjoy writing your list, let the magic happen!! 🙂

  14. Hi Cynthia
    I’m amazed by your beautiful story. I am on the edge of setting my feet loose too. It’s a big step I’ll be taking in my life, but it is calling for me for a long time now. I need to earn some money too before I set loose. Can you please give me some more info on the grape-picking?
    Love & light, Tanja

    1. Hi Tanja,
      it’s important to follow that calling. Know that everything will fall into place like it’s supposed to! About the grape-picking: the season starts in the beginning of September in the region of Beaujolais (Lyon) and then moves towards the South of France so you can do more in a row. Know that it is a physically demanding job (especially for the back) but with a good team it’s definitely worth the experience!! Some people will give you board and food and a wage (we had that formula and earned around 60 euros a day – working from 7.30 in the morning till 17h at night with an hour lunch break). In other place you’ll have to provide your own accommodation (most likely camping) and food but you’ll get paid more (depending on the place again by the hour or by the amount of grapes you pick). I would go for payment by the hour then unless you’re real quick in picking 🙂 So it really depends from place to place. Best way to get a job is by going to the areas a few weeks before the season starts and inquire where they’ll need pickers. I could give you the email of the woman where we went in Beaujolais. You could send her an email around beginning of July and let her know that you’re interested (she only speaks French) and you might get a place there.If you’d like to have her contact, send me an email on [email protected] and I’ll give it to you! Or you could search through google and might find vineyards who advertise to find workers! Good luck with you next step, I wish you lots of luck, joy and love with it!! xxx

  15. Now that’s an ideal love story! I say this since I believe you are living happily together, travelling together, doing what you like! So, it truly is ‘happily ever after’!

    1. It’s almost a like a travel version of a fairy tale story 🙂 Yes, we are very happy together and are feeling blessed that we have the opportunity to make our dreams come true in each other’s company!

  16. we did not travel that long nor sticked together, however we are still close friends. And there have quite some waters flown under the bridge…
    I met Jim while hitchhiking. He and his friend picked me up; where Jim himself just a few days ago met his new friend (the guy who actually had a car) because Jim`s and his uncles road trip stopped since uncles car broke down. This other guy happen to have a car service right near the place where his car broke down.
    So they both were heading to the party some hundreds kilometers away. Right on the day when Jim had a birthday. The petrol station where they picked me up was the first one on the way when they had decided to look for hitchhikers to give a lift.
    Where it was supposed to go with them just 100km, ended up in a beautiful and long summer on the road and more ears of friendship.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Laura! Hitchhiking can lead to so many beautiful meetings! I’m happy it led to a beautiful time summer (this could be a title for a book or so – my summer on the road) and a beautiful friendship!!
      Love, Cynthia

    1. Haha, I hear you 🙂 I’m also a romantic dreamer and I had never dreamed that I would write a story like this one day. But like you see, it came true! I’m happy you enjoyed it Colby!

  17. This is so sweet and inspiring! I’m going to have to sit down and write a list for myself now. Also picking grapes in Lyon sounds awesome,
    I’ll have to try it one day! 🙂

    1. Hi Taylor, I’m happy to have inspired you! Once you make a clear decision for yourself what you want in life, it’s amazing what comes on your path! Have fun with writing your list! And if you ever decide to do some grape picking, let me know. I can give you the address where we went. It’s a good place with good people!

  18. The Universe, the Divine Light and Divine Beings, Energies, and so much more!!
    Pulled together in empowerment and fate, you were always meant to be together, your paths interlocked! Destiny <3

  19. This is such a beautiful love story! Looks like God had a hand behind this! 🙂
    Glad you both found each other, wish you the very best in your journey ahead!

  20. Wow. what a beautiful love story! It’s great when you meet your soulmate and the coolest thing of all is that actually your parents played an important role in it! When I saw Bert for the first time (at the university we both went to become English and Geography teachers after having quit our previous jobs) he was riding a pink ladies bike, having no hair on top of his head but still trying to have long hair (don’t even try to picture it!!!) and wearing some kind of Indian shirt. I was thinking “Oh my god, what a weird guy”, but then I looked into his eyes and I knew we were right for each other <3 My friend also asked things of the universe and they came true. So I guess it's time for me to do that now too 🙂 Thanks for the book recommendations (also Yara!), now I know what my lecture for the start of my trip is going to be. Love from Martina

    1. Hahaha, I can picture Bert 😀 So funny! But he drew your attention! That is a great story too!
      It changed my perspective on life, knowing that we are the creators of how we want life to be. It does not always come exactly how we wish it, it turns out even better. What I’ve learned is that everything is possible, as long as we make a commitment to what we want and it has to feel good. We have to feel our dreams in our heart, in our soul, in our little pinky toe (didn’t meant for that to rhyme 🙂 )and keep believing. I would definitely suggest to read those books. A lot is obvious but we tend to forget or not believe that things can be so simple 🙂 I am very excited for you and your family Martina because very soon you’ll be making your dreams come true! And I have a little tip for making a little bit of money on the road: we are using an app called NiceTalk Tutor. It’s an app to teach English to Chinese students. It’s not making us rich but it is covering our food costs for the moment. If you would be interested or want more info, let me know! Another app is Pallfish. Lots of love and follow those crazy dreams! I’m a big supporter of them!! 🙂 <3

  21. I have always wandered how did Nicko and you knew each other. Knowing him I did imagine something like that.

    Beautiful love story, all woman in thins world dreams with a love story, and I dream with one like yours.
    So lucky what you both are leaving now, traveling around the world it’s amazing! I am planing a trip around Canada, which I love.

    I am from Mexico, Nicko was my French teacher for less than a year, I think. He should teach you Spanish, he speaks it very well, and he is a good teacher, but Nicko is good in everything.

    1. Hi Tabatha, thank you for responding! yes, Niko is a great man and I’m happy he hitchhiked in my life! Niko told me about his students who he was teaching French too, he’s a great teacher! He also told me lots about Mexico and about you wonderful people. I can’t wait to be there! He will teach me Spanish, now and then he already gives me short lessons. By the time we go to South and Central America, I want to be fluent in Spanish. Ooh, great, you’re going to Canada! I’m sure you will enjoy your travels!! How long are you going to Canada for? I hope your dreams will come true and that you will find love like I did. It would be great to meet you one day in Mexico! Love, Cynthia

  22. Reading this seems like finding the greatest possible happiness. I don’t think two people could have been happier than you are. I can tell you both are incredibly good at what you’re doing, and I’m glad I can follow your steps via such posts! And you’ve already become a travel writer, Cynthia! (photographer, too)

    1. Thank you so kindly for your beautiful words Marcel! It warms our hearts! To go for what you really wants requires dedication, love and energy. The hardest step for me was first deciding what I wanted and daring to take that road. But I am so happy to have done it. We both are 🙂 Especially when during the process we can give inspiration and joy to people like you! 🙂

  23. I LOVE your story! And I truly believe that when we set our mind and soul into something big, all our wishes come true. I haven’t gone through Ester Hicks yet, but I’m reading “A course in miracles” and I’m having the same experience… it’s mind blowing how we create our reality.

    Safe and happy travels for you guys!

    1. Thank you Yara! This was one big lesson I learned in Ireland, how we are the creators of our reality and how we have the power to manifest what we want, as long as we just believe in it! I read part of “A course in miracles”. Very mind blowing! I would definitely recommend you to read the teachings of Abraham Hicks, I am sure you would love it! It helped me big time during difficult times and it has given me a new and very positive perspective on life!
      Enjoy the miracles!

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