A Modern Love Story

This incredible Wanderable couple share their even more incredible love story.

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Here at Wanderable, we’re lucky to support a community of smart, thoughtful, and adventure-loving couples who all dream of experiencing the world. Today, we’re honored to share the story of Shannon and her fiancé, Phil. Their relationship has been through life’s ups and downs, and Shannon would love nothing more than to surprise Phil with the dream ending – a honeymoon to Italy! See their beautiful registry here and read their story below. 

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What is your and Phil’s dream honeymoon?
Gosh, that’s such a great question! For as long as I can remember, we have always dreamed of visiting Italy – Rome, Venice, Florence, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast – so many places to see! We love, love, love learning about foreign countries, their cultures, and of course their food! We are both adventurous and like to try new things, but we also appreciate relaxing on the beach with a drink in hand! I have no doubt that our feet will touch ground in Italy at some point in life!

Where do you plan on going? Why?
As I’ve mentioned, honeymooning wasn’t even on my radar, and I think both of us knew Italy was definitely out of the question, so we never even gave it a look. We also knew we might not be able to afford a honeymoon at all, so a location that was somewhat economical was of importance. Phil and I have dreamed of traveling the world – Italy, Greece, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Indonesia, it’s hard to pick just one! Initially we had looked at Mexico, and I hate to say our destination was based on financial reasons rather than fulfilling dreams, but there is a lot of truth to that. When it came down to it, we were focused on areas where we could fly on banked Southwest miles, or travel in the off season to save a little more – even if that meant dealing with the threat of hurricanes. Is it our dream? Not necessarily. After really contemplating this question, and considering why, I had to change course. I’m doing all of this to honor Phil, his love, and our new life together, so with that in mind, I know in my heart he would love to go to Italy.

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How did you know that Phil was the one?
After having both been married before, that’s a question I can’t say I’ve considered. If I get real about it, we both, at some point, thought we had already found “the one” previously, and that obviously wasn’t the case. However, we both learned a great deal from our marriages – we learned why they didn’t work and accepted and acknowledged our parts in that, but we also did a lot of self reflection and healing to hopefully be better people. If I had to pinpoint a time of knowing that Phil was “the one”, I’d say it was when I clearly understood that who I am was good enough. I know it sounds a bit cliche, but when you’ve lived the last 10 or so years in emotional and mental distress, feeling as if you are enough is like being able to breathe – we often take breathing for granted until it’s difficult to do so.

Phil’s acceptance of me and my fondness of him never really made me feel as if I had to impress him. I absolutely adore him and I’ve seen time and time again, his dedication to me and my boys. The past few years have challenged us in ways I didn’t know possible; from my diagnosis, to raising two teen boys, to helping my ex manage mental health and substance abuse issues, it’s been a very emotionally charged time in both of our lives, yet we seem to come out stronger each and every time we are thrown a curve ball. We laugh at some of it now, but quite honestly, I had no idea how drastically Phil would change my life.

I didn’t realize how much the little things really affected me. Your question has sparked some wonderful, reminiscent thoughts! I remember the first time we sat in a booth at a restaurant – on the same side when it was only the two of us – I had never done that before! And, he didn’t think it was gross to share a bite of my food or a sip out of the same glass. I remember the first time he held my hand – we were on our way home from lunch at an Indian restaurant – funny thing is, five years later he still holds my hand while we are in the car, even if it’s just a short trip to the store. He jokes how lucky he is to have found a loud Italian girl so he doesn’t need to turn his hearing aids up – although, I’m quite certain there are times when he turns them off!! HA! I actually forget that he’s hearing impaired; he’s been so since birth due to underdeveloped nerves. I love that he doesn’t use his disability as a crutch, but rather as a means of conversation and education – it’s just one more reason why I love him so much.

Together, we have learned what the other needs and wants. We know what the other likes to eat, the movies we enjoy, the best blankets for a good night’s rest, and if we prefer our socks folded or balled – for the record, he likes his socks folded so they don’t stretch the elastic! On a larger scale we talk about our dreams and visions for the future, come to each other’s side when there is a work-related struggle or family issue needing addressed, and have open conversations, no matter how uncomfortable, about our finances.

As for my kids, he loves them, and has no problem letting them know it! He treats them with respect, and makes certain they have what they need – he always has. He’s never faltered, understands his boundaries, and knows if that line as been crossed. He resolved a long time ago, that he would never have children of his own, and is happy that mine have accepted him – they refer to him as their “step-ish” dad, which we think is very telling and pretty funny too.

Phil and I have built a secure foundation that is laced with respect for each other, and because of that our connection blossoms, communication improves and our commitment deepens, and for those reasons, and I’m sure many, many more, I know Phil is “the one”.

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What does being able to take this honeymoon mean to you and Phil?
Let me start by saying that Phil has no idea that I’m doing this – he has no idea that I’ve set up a registry, have posted on various social media outlets to ask for help, or that I’ve been in conversation with you and your fabulous team at Wanderable. As far as he knows, I’ve dropped the entire idea of going on a honeymoon, so if I’m able to make it happen, it will be a HUGE surprise!

When we crunched the numbers and determined that we could either celebrate with a small backyard party or take our honeymoon, provided it was an economical location during the off season, we decided that time spent with family and friends was priceless. We will marry in a private ceremony this summer, and share that news with our guests via party invitations! Clearly we love surprises! While we would absolutely love the opportunity to celebrate our new life together in a far off land, I’m just not certain how it will happen. Taking this trip would illustrate how the unconditional love Phil emanates creates a domino affect. From this love a passion was born. My deep desire to make his dream come true was fueled by the kindness and generosity I see in others, and with their assistance, they solidify the power of love and what it can do, and that would mean the world to me – to us!

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Thank you, Shannon! We are wishing you and Phil the best as you continue to collect donations on your registry.

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