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Valentine’s Day is upon us and love is in the air. Tropical air, warm weather, awesome people and beautiful scenery are also great components for a romantic atmosphere.  The Holistic Holiday at Sea cruises are very famous for creating connections of all types, but especially encounters of the romantic kind. We have singles tables on the cruise, mixers on the deck and at some of the more interesting locations on the cruise and of course there is always the good old fashioned “love at first sight” that can happen anywhere on the ship. On our Tenth Anniversary cruise, Elena Garcia de paredes el rey of Spain found her soulmate in Ian Gilula of Portland, Oregon. There are many opportunities to meet like minded individuals from all over the world on this cruise. It is truly an amazing mix of culture, fun, education and fantastic food! Read on to hear about the magic and coincidences that brought these two together as told by Elena.

hearts 2014

1) Tell us about when you met on the cruise. Was it at a singles event, one of the socials on the deck, or perhaps you caught each other’s eye when you were dining?

We met on our first excursion. Fortunately, that day the two of us decided on our own to choose to visit the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, in Cozumel.  Ian was with his parents and I was with a friend and co-worker.  Just after visiting this wonderful sanctuary of the Mayan goddess of fertility, Ixchel, we then returned to the bus, and as fate would have it, Ian and I were seated next to each other.  It was at that point that we started talking and introduced ourselves.  We talked to each other the whole ride back to the ship.

Con Ian en la Sagrada Familia de Gaudí


2) How long have each of you been a vegan?  How many times have you been on the cruise? What year did you meet on the cruise?

Ian was a vegetarian and then vegan since the age of 13 and about 3 years ago he began following the Macrobiotic diet. He has been twice on the cruise. This year will be his third time on the cruise. I have followed the Macrobiotic diet for 5 years. For me, last year was my first on the cruise and also my first time in then USA. This year will be my second time on the cruise.  We met on the 2013 cruise.

3) How have you navigated the distance in your relationship? Any helpful hints for others trying to maintain a long-distance relationship?

It has gone really well. Every two months we have seen each other. Ian has already come to Spain twice, and I have visited the USA twice as well. During this time we have been getting to know each other and learning what life is like together, but we both felt from the beginning that we found our soul mate.

It is true that every time the separation is harder for both of us and our desire to be together permanently increases.  That was one of the reasons why I left my job in Spain last October, to have more freedom to spend more time together.  The next time we will meet will be at the end of February, then we will be together for three months, which is the maximum time allowed in the USA.  That makes us both very happy.

Regarding useful tips to others who are in the same situation… I would say that the first and most important thing is to trust in your love, although it may be difficult, and you may not be able to spend all your time with the person you love and maybe that person is thousands of miles away.  I recommend stopping at many times of the day and quietly travel to your own heart and remember and feel the love that you have for each other…and to feel that love is true and vibrates so hard that you can overcome the distance and any other difficulties that may appear in the way.  Another tip is to express how you feel about the other person at any time of the day and, if you can, daily. Today, thanks to FaceTime, Skype and internet it is much more convenient.  And most importantly, trust God and the universe will help you.

4) Any thoughts on where your wedding will be? Have you decided where you all will live?

Our thought and desire is to get married one day but we still do not know at what time, where and when. We think we will live in Portland, Oregon, where Ian has his studio and work.

5)Final Thoughts?

We will always remember the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise of 2013 – A trip that allowed us to find each other and changed our lives forever.

Welcome to 2014!!! We are so very excited to be in our 11th year of bringing you great lectures, amazing activities, community building and a celebration of living a compassionate vegan lifestyle! 2014 promises to be an incredible year with new presenters, new and cutting edge fitness opportunities, new entertainers and amazing cooking classes with celebrity vegan chefs! Bring a friend or your entire family. The gift of health is the one that keeps on giving. We look forward to seeing you in March!