I’d been meaning to try Couchsurfing since I had landed in Australia and wasn’t successful until last weekend and the experience couldn’t have been better!
I got picked up by my hosts’ nephew, Scott who took me to Clifford and Stella’s, the sweetest couple in their mid 80’s who have been living on a boat most of their lives. It didn’t take long for them to become my favourite part of the whole Couchsurfing experience.
Clifford and Stella met when they were 24 and 23 and have been together since. If you were to meet them today you’d think they have just recently started dating. It’s easy to see the love they have for each other, calling one another “darling” and “sweetheart,” stealing hugs and kisses whenever they can, and holding hands when they go for drives.
I was so amazed by this unconditional love between them that I used whatever chance I had to ask them questions about their relationship. Their story is simply beautiful and best told through their own voice (paraphrased from what I remember).
On my first day, Stella was busy preparing her famous roast dinner in the Kitchen. I was sitting on the back of the boat with Scott and Clifford, overlooking Fraser Island, when I started asking Clifford about his relationship.
Me: “How did you guys meet?”
Clifford: “My sister used to work with Stella and one day she brought her to our house to play cards and that was the first time I saw her.”
Me: “Did you know right away that you loved her?”
Clifford: “Not the first time I saw her but when she gave me her hand,” he took my hand and looked into my eyes, “and as soon as we touched hands, it was electric. That was 60 years ago and we’ve been together since. Never married either, we don’t need a piece of paper to prove our love to each other.”
At this point I had goosebumps, tearing up and wanting to give him a hug all at once but first I had to ask, “what’s your secret?”
He looked over at Scott, then looked back at me and said “lots of sex” and they both started laughing uncontrollably.
The next day, Scott had to go back to Brisbane for work but I stayed with Clifford and Stella for another night. We were sat in their living room having a cup of tea when my curiosity sparked again. I asked the same question directed at Stella this time but Clifford also jumped in with some good insight.
Me: “you’ve been together for 60 years, never been married, and you guys are still so in love – what’s your secret?”
Stella: “Be happy.”
Me: “how do you do that?”
Stella: “Just be happy. Stop searching for more and appreciate what you have.”
Clifford: “Be content.”
Stella: “One person can’t dominate the relationship, you have to compromise and it has to be equal.”
Clifford: “I give everything I have to Stella. I built the boat for her. She has the bank accounts *giggles* she gives me a few dollars every now and again. She puts it in my wallet for me to get whatever I want. Stella handles all the finances. The boat is hers. I didn’t want it registered under my name, it’s just registered under hers. Cause without Stella there wouldn’t be any me. That’s it.”
How. Beautiful. ❤
Stella and Clifford didn’t want to be photographed but they were happy for me to take photos of the boat.