#RealTravel: 'I Found Love Again on Vacation'

Yahoo Travel profiles readers who came back from a trip with the best souvenir ever — true love. Want to share your own story? Email us at traveleditors@yahoo.com.


James and Holly met on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico. (Photo: James Busch)

Who: James Busch and Holly Ehnert

Where we met: Cozumel, Mexico

When: April 19, 2012

Relationship status: Engaged to be married on April 18, 2015

(As told by James)

I lost my wife of 22 years, Rachel, to protracted illness and complications of ovarian cancer, on Nov. 6, 2011. I needed to get away, and my best friend, Joe (I was his best man and he was mine), agreed to go with me on vacation to relax, maybe drink a little bit, and do some scuba diving. I found a great deal and signed us up for a week at the all-inclusive Iberostar Cozumel. We had a good time, created some fabulous memories, and made some new friends. We also met three nice young ladies, Denai, Anna, and Holly, who had arrived on Thursday of that week.

I met Holly in the pool area of the resort. That was the place where everyone congregated because it’s where the swim up bar was located. That first day, we talked all afternoon before going dancing that night at the disco. On the second day, we hung out around on the resort, sunned on the beach, drank by the pool, and went snorkeling. The last thing I was looking for was to meet someone and start a relationship. But the first time I saw Holly, I realized that love isn’t something you can plan. I cannot speak too much for Holly, but I can say that she has never been married and has had no children (I have two that are grown), and meeting someone in Mexico on vacation was also not on her agenda. But from the moment we met, we were virtually inseparable. Falling in love was easy.

Related: #RealTravel: “I Fell in Love With My Peruvian Tour Guide”


James and Holly in Mexico (Photo: James Busch)

On the third day it was time for me to head home, and I dreaded saying goodbye to Holly. After I returned to the States, I kept in contact with Holly through email. As it turned out, I live in northern Illinois and Holly lived in southern Wisconsin, so our respective homes were only about 30 minutes apart. Soon enough, we were inseparable. And in the summer of 2013, Holly agreed to move to Illinois. 

There are so many things that I love about Holly. She has a lot of energy and drive, a wonderful sense of humor, and her laugh is contagious. I found a partner who loves to try new things, likes to travel, and is compassionate and willing to donate her time for worthy causes.  She still retains her pesky preference for the Green Bay Packers rather than the Monsters of the Midway Chicago Bears, but nobody’s perfect (smile).

Last May, Holly’s best friend Megan got married in Key West, Florida, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make the most of our beautiful surroundings. Right before we headed to the airport for our return flight home, I asked Holly for her hand in marriage. I should note that I had purchased the ring, which she had unknowingly picked out, nine months earlier. I simply had to wait for the perfect romantic spot, which was the same beach location where Megan and Walt were married just three days earlier.

Related: #RealTravel: “I Fell in Love in an Ecuadorian Jungle”


James and Holly plan to get married at the Iberostar Hotel, the same place where they met in 2011. (Photo: James Busch)

So now we are engaged and preparing for happily ever after. We are getting married on our anniversary weekend in April 2015, and we are going back to the Iberostar, where it all began. Joe will be my best man again. He introduced me to my first wife back in 1989 and was with me when I met Holly. Holly has planned the perfect beach wedding, and it’s guaranteed to be a great success and huge reunion. 

What I’ve learned from this experience is that God has a plan. Love will find you when you least expect it, even if you have to travel thousands of miles to find that special someone who virtually lives next door.

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