You know you'll be immediate friends when you're sending 500+ word emails to each other 5 months before you actually get to meet each other in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Courtney and Dickson reached out when they discovered that we would be in Sydney for a few days on our anniversary trip, making it the perfect opportunity to meet up. These two got engaged in the Blue Mountains and we quickly fell in love with their story as they shared their love of cozy dates, creative passions of photography, writing, floral + interior design, journey building their Christ-centered relationship, and even love of taking self-portraits together with their camera balanced between rocks, tees, and ledges (if you know us, we're always taking self-portraits everywhere we go). And I knew immediately from Courtney's Instagram feed that not only did she have a natural eye for capturing beauty wherever they went, but also that they were just genuinely two of the kindest, most loving people we would have the honor of meeting.
So fast forward those 5 months, and the day was finally here! We landed that morning in Sydney, and quickly ran through our errands excited to meet these two. They picked us up from our Airbnb and immediately melted our hearts with a warm welcome of Australia's finest: tea, vegemite, and of course, the famous Tim-Tams (we went through 4 family packs on our trip after we got a taste of them). Onwards we went to our first stop at St. Helensburg Tunnel! This abandoned tunnel had the coolest Jurassic Park vibes with its overgrown ferns and ivy crawling over the stone wall.
But of course, we couldn't stay too long, so we quickly wrapped up our short detour for our next spot at Seacliff Bridge. Now, this is how you really get to know someone - when you get to share the experience of climbing up a very slippery path, even having to hold onto a hose that someone had tied to a tree to keep your balance, and to top it all off, you have very cute but very non-hiking-appropriate footwear. These troopers didn't bat an eye as they scrambled up the hill, hands getting muddy as they held their balance. We quickly realized that the Internet had lied to us, and that it was most certainly not the 10-minute walk we were promised. Half-hour later, we finally made it to the top for a stunning view of the cliff-hugging Seacliff Bridge.
After enjoying the view for a few quick photos, we knew we had to scramble back down to make it to Kiama by sunset. And of course, we found ourselves on the wrong path and had to backtrack. But these two continued trekking on, and we made it back just in time to make our way down the coast! Though we were all a bit sweaty and tired from the hike, you couldn't even tell as Courtney and Dickson traded their casual clothes for something more fitting the stunning landscape that we stumbled upon. With the wind blowing her hair (and hat off!), their contagious laughter as they got soaked by the crashing waves, the sweet embraces as he held her close, all I can say was that it was just magic.
And our adventures didn't end there! They drove us back up the coast and we stopped to grab dinner together for one of the best meals we had on our entire trip to Australia. It was a meal of shared laughter and love over delicious pork shoulder, miso pumpkin, and baked potatoes. And of course, as we made our way back home, we had to end our adventures with the best kind of dessert - bubble tea at their favorite spot Cha-Time. At last it was time to go, but we were saddened to leave our new friends. Though we continued on our journey to Cairns and loved scuba diving with sharks, flying on a seaplane over the Whitsundays, and learning to surf, it was that first day that was truly the highlight of our trip. We couldn't have imagined a better way to kick off our adventures in Australia, and are so blessed to have met the sweetest, most amazing couple who embodied the love of family and friendship. As they start their new journey as husband + wife, we couldn't be more excited for them and certainly hope that our paths will cross again in the future!