In July 2020, I followed my heart and took the biggest risk of my entire life. I traveled by myself and across the world to Wexford County, Ireland from Chicago, IL USA to meet the transgender man that I fell in love with online, Nat Doyle.
Our story began over 7 years ago with a random conversation on Facebook and has flourished into a reality in which we now intend to spend the rest of our lives together.
Since 2015, we've spent countless amounts of time getting to know each other through text messages, long distance phone calls, and video chats. It only took us both a couple of days into communicating with one another to recognize we discovered a connection together that we couldn't deny. Over time, this connection got stronger and stronger, as did the romantic feelings and the realization that what we had was rare, special, incomparable, and irreplaceable. It was clear to us both that what we've found in each other, we never experienced before in our lives and we knew we'd never find it or anything similar again.
It didn't take long to understand the reality of trying to make a long-distance relationship work from across the world and just how difficult it would be. Where would we live? Who would move where? What will our families think? How will my kids feel? Will we have the same connection in person that we do over the phone and computer? How much are we willing to go through for a relationship with someone we hadn't yet met? How much are we able and capable of risking? Is our love worth it?
The distance between us was not the only complex factor that we had to consider. Nat is a transgender man (FTM) who had not yet come out to her family and friends. Especially being in a country that isn't as open and accepting or ahead with the times compared to others such as the USA. Nat knew that if we were to make our relationship work, he would have to share his secret with the world and had no idea how anyone and/or everyone would respond/react. Was coming out and pursuing our relationship worth the possibility of him losing everything and everyone? Even more than that, neither of us were familiar with being a partner in a transgender relationship, the what/how's, etc. Were we prepared for that? How would my family and friends respond? Would I be able to love him and have the same physical attraction when we're face to face that I've had for him before?
It took many years, but ultimately, I decided that I had to give our relationship a real shot. I knew deep down in my heart and soul that if I didn't take the chance, that I would regret it for the rest of my life. I figured that even if I traveled there and we didn't have the same connection that we've had over the phone and computer, that at least I'd have spent some physical time with someone I do care about, in a place I've always wanted to travel. Whether everything worked out between us or not, it was still in my mind a win-win. Nat also decided that it was time that he finally came out to his family and friends about being a transgender man and owning his truth so he could finally live how he is meant to live, regardless of who is in his life and/or who accepts him.
I booked my ticket and told no one in my life but my mother where I was going or what I was doing when I did so and when it was time to travel there to Ireland. Nat began his courageous journey of sharing his true self to the very important people in his life, one by one.
July 10th, 2020, I boarded a plane (during Covid) and traveled the 8 1/2 hours, all alone, from Chicago, IL to Dublin, IE. The fear, the excitement, the unknown, the anxiety, the pressure, all the feelings and thoughts I had while traveling, were the same feelings and thoughts that Nat was also experiencing while waiting and counting down the hours until my flight landed.
This is our story, and this is also a story that includes me traveling to Ireland and about my trip there. This is only the beginning....