Where/How did you meet?
We were living in separate countries at the time, I (Elin) in Norway and Oliver in Denmark. However I’d been living in Copenhagen before and missed the city and my friends, so I took every chance to travel there. One Saturday night in Copenhagen, March 2013, my friends and I went to Paté Paté, a bar/restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Luckily, Oliver was there too, and luckily – thanks to the strengthened courage of a few drinks – we started chatting in our broken mix of Danish and Swedish. Oliver was just about to start working for Google and move to Dublin, and I was just about to start working for Creative Agency House of Radon and move to Stockholm. Timing couldn’t have been worse, but as they say, love knows no boundaries right? The long distance wasn’t even a decision, it just happened naturally. After 1.5 years of dating all over Europe, I quit work and moved to Dublin too.
So dating was a bit tricky, considering we lived in separate countries. But we became frequent flyers and dated in different countries each time. Our first date was in Copenhagen. I (Elin) travelled down from Oslo again, a few weeks after we first met. We planned to have dinner on Saturday as we both had separate plans on Friday. However, after a fun-filled Friday night out, at about 4 am, we couldn’t wait any longer. Classic huh? We decided to meet up at Sommersted – a dirty, smoke-filled and in its own way utterly charming old bodega. We got cheap beer, smokes and talked until the sun rose. After that, Oliver kissed me and we biked home. The Saturday dinner at Spuntino still happened, even though we were severely hungover.
First trip away together?
Because of the nature of our relationship we had to improvise and be spontaneous. Me (Oliver) and my close friend Jeppe were heading to Jeppe’s summerhouse in Lønstrup to write our Master Thesis for a few weeks. A picturesque, artistic little town on the Danish North West coast. It would only be our second date, but I invited Elin to come. She stayed for a long weekend, and lucky for her Jeppe’s girlfriend Sofia joined too. We spent our days cooking, going for walks through sand dunes, biking on country roads, sun-bathing in the garden, reading, playing board games, drinking wine and writing no Master Thesis at all. It was beautiful and very unproductive. Just after we made our relationship official.
Elin, what is the most romantic thing that Oliver has ever done for you?
It was my 27th birthday and I’d just moved to Dublin. We’d invited two friends over for brunch, and then took a walk in the city. Suddenly our friend found a car key on the ground, tried to open a few cars (to my horror) and one opened. The three of them jumped in and shouted ‘let’s take a ride’. I protested wildly and couldn’t believe the lack of manners until I realized they had set me up. We drove the rental car through the Irish countryside until we reached a beautiful garden where we had lunch. Then continued to a castle-like inn where we stayed the night. Oliver had arranged a three course dinner, with the dessert and Irish whiskey brought up to our ‘Captain Suite’. We enjoyed it in our robes by the fireplace. The morning after, Ollie surprised me with a huge flower bouquet and a lovely bracelet.
Oliver, what is the most romantic thing that Elin has ever done for you?
Elin is a romantic, so she actually is romantic all of the time. Small things like offering the last piece of watermelon or mango (we’re addicts), even though she really wants it, is something that I really appreciate. A specific romantic gesture happened at Christmas 2014 where Elin gave me an amazing Christmas present. I love jewellery and have always wanted a necklace that I could always wear. During one of her trips to Stockholm, Elin went to a really nice goldsmith and had a gold necklace custom made for me. The pendant on the gold necklace is designed by Elin and is a small square piece of 18K gold with the letters ‘E&O’ imprinted on one of the sides. I wear this necklace every single day and it’s a constant reminder of Elin when I’m away on travels and she’s not there. There are countless other instances where Elin has done something romantic, but this is one of my favourite memories.
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
Oh, there are just so many lovely places. We feel very special about Mexico and England since we both have family there. But family aside, we probably have to say Italy. Nothing beats having really well done Italian food and wine at an easy-to-miss family trattoria and getting lost among narrow, cobblestone streets and Terracotta coloured houses with lines of laundry attached between them. Italian food and wine, architecture and art is simply hard to beat. A future dream of ours is to own something small on the Amalfi Coast.
What has been your favourite hotel that you have ever stayed in?
It’s a tie between Hotel Azulik, Tulum and Bijuu Hotel, Kyoto. Azulik are absolutely breath-taking wooden eco villas with a surreal location, resting on cliffs that drop down into the Caribbean. We were in a dream-like state when we fell asleep to the waves that clashed against the rocks, when we cooled down in our private bathtub on our big terrace and when the moon and the candles we lit each night were our only sources of light since there was no electricity. Then Bijuu – a luxurious-beyond-words boutique hotel in Kyoto. A detox for your soul and senses. We had a bathtub as the centerpiece of our suite, a japanese sauna, the best river view and interior of gorgeous design and quality (even our shampoo had gold flakes, and – we looked it up – cost 90 dollars a bottle). We reviewed Bijuu on our website here.
Define your idea of romance?
Romance to us is spending time together and totally detaching from stress, work and duties. Really just being in the moment and enjoying each other’s company while doing anything really. Getting fresh weekend flowers, taking a walk, getting coffee at our neighbourhood café, watching a movie, traveling, eating out or even better – cooking at home with some wine and jazz (Oliver is somewhat of a mastermind in the kitchen).
What has been your most exciting adventure together?
Our most exciting adventure has been how we made our long distance our way to see the world together, and most importantly, get to know each other. We’d only just met when we both moved separate ways, and the fact that flights between Stockholm-Dublin were horribly scheduled we had to find other places to meet. So we travelled, and we travelled a lot. We could find ourselves in an arty studio in Neukölln, Berlin one weekend, in an old loft with wooden beamed ceiling in Bergamo the next and at friends and family’s places in New York, London, Bath or Boston the third. About a year in we counted to 40 trips, but now, 2+ years in, we’ve totally lost track.
Favourite place to eat in the world?
A few places have given us otherworldly food experiences, Gitano in Tulum is one of them. We had tried to get a table at the very hyped Hartwood. But luckily for us, we came too late and decided to find something else. As we walked along the dark, palm lined, oceanside road we stumbled upon the newly opened Gitano. The place was magically empty and the music soothing. It was open air and we felt like we were sitting in the middle of a jungle, lit up only by some multi-coloured light bulbs and a wagging disco ball. After two creative entry cocktails, we were served the best Mexican feast we’ve ever had (and Elin is half Mexican). In the middle of the dinner, a pretty lady in a white gown walked through the restaurant holding two buckets which left a trace of lovely, smokey incense in the air. It gave us goosebumps and we’ll never forget it.
How would you describe yourselves as a couple? (eg. Thrill seekers, foodies etc.)
We love food, travel, design and photography which is also what we aim for our website to reflect. Visit the places we feature in our travel guides and you’ll end up at something both great looking and well tasting. We like to think of ourselves as artistic, ambitious, curious and humble.
How do you decide on where you will travel to next?
It varies. Sometimes we’re on business trips somewhere with Google (where we both work) and can prolong our stay. Other times we go places where we have family as we’re quite spread out (Elin is Swedish/Mexican and myself – Oliver – English/Danish). But oftentimes we just think about exciting places where we’ve never been before, do some research and jump on a plane.
What do you have planned next?
We’re going to Marrakech in Morocco where we’re going to work with Hotel Jnane Tamsna. Then we’re heading to Mexico where we’re going to travel around the country. In 2016 we’re starting a new big adventure as we’re planning our next move. Ireland is amazing, but there are so many more places we want to live in!
What is your favourite thing about travelling together?
Other than each other’s company, the best thing about traveling together is that we love the same things. We love the same hotels, we love walking – aimlessly for hours and hours until our feet ache – we love finding the best cup of coffee, the quirkiest interior stores and the best photo moments. But most importantly – we love getting the tastiest food and we’re ready to go far to get it.
What is your dream trip?
We have a few, some more extravagant than others. But a dream that we will try to fulfill next year is a trip to Positano on the Amalfi coast. We have a dream of getting a place there in the future. Funny, we haven’t even been there yet but we just know we love it. A bigger project is our dream of traveling the world while freelancing. We’ll have to see when time is right for that.
What would you say to other couples considering travelling?
Sounds cliché but really, just do it! You’ll only regret what you never did. Even after we ended our long distance and moved in together we’ve kept traveling, often twice a month. We just love the experiences and memories it brings. Some people ask how we get time and money, but we don’t have more of that than others. We just prioritize differently. Obviously now that we have TalesLikeThese, our business collaborations help with the travel costs, but really, anyone can travel. There are so many opportunities nowadays, from Couch Surfing, to Work and Travel and House Sitting. Just find your way and go through with it. You won’t look back.
You’re obviously creating a lifestyle away from the typical 9 – 5 through your travelling and website.
What inspired you to start ‘Tales Like These’?
That’s what we’re aiming for! The freedom of working whenever, wherever. We were inspired to start Tales Like These by the experiences we came back with from our trips and by the wish to give vent to our creativity. Friends often asked us about travel tips, and Elin needed a place to showcase her photography. Also, we’re business driven, so we were motivated to build up Tales Like These as a travel and lifestyle brand by thinking about suitable business models and putting together a marketing strategy. We’re only just starting out and there’s a lot more still to come.
Website – Tales Like These