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Walking around the world, Estonian man finds true love in Vietnam

Friday, December 28, 2018, 19:04 GMT+7
Walking around the world, Estonian man finds true love in Vietnam
Nguyen Thi Sam and Meigo Mark at their wedding in a photo provided by the couple

An Estonian musician taking a walk across the world has paused his journey in Vietnam, but for a wonderful reason: to get married.

This past October, in the middle of his journey called ‘The Walk Around the World,’ Meigo Mark made a stop in Hanoi to marry a Vietnamese he met two years ago.

Every footstep leads to love

The couple first met in late 2016, when Mark was forced to reroute his trip after his application for a China visa was rejected. 

After traveling through 19 countries in two years, the Estonian musician decided to make Vietnam the next stop on his journey while he reapplied for a visa for China.

Mark met Nguyen Thi Sam at a tea party during his one-month stay in Hanoi. 

Nguyen Thi Sam and Meigo Mark at their wedding in a photo provided by the couple
Nguyen Thi Sam and Meigo Mark at their wedding in a photo provided by the couple

Sam, now 29, was intrigued by Mark’s journey and astounded that he had already covered 13,000 km on foot.

In fact, she was so eager that she asked Mark to let her join him, showing him photos of her running in a local marathon to prove she had the endurance to keep up.

Mark was worried that Sam could not make it due to the harshness of the journey, eventually, the two came to a decision for a daily morning jog together.

Meigo Mark and Nguyen Thi Sam are seen walking together in northern Vietnam in a video provided by the couple.

They started with a 5km run each morning and that distance increased to 15km after the first two weeks. 

The two formed a bond through running and they walked together 22km out of Hanoi when he finally set off to continue his journey in January 2017. 

“We both cried uncontrollably after saying goodbye. We were sure we wouldn’t see each other again,” Mark recalled. “Step by step, in deep pain and with heavy breathing I moved away from my love.”

Despite Sam expressing her admiration for Mark and his journey, the man knew that “she would have felt guilty if I had stopped because of her.”

“She did not want to be my barrier, so she pushed me to continue walking. I myself also wanted to continue,” he added.

Sam also refused to let the walk get in the way of their love.

Over the next year, she saved her money and took ten trips to four different countries to join Mark’s walk.

So far, the couple has walked 740km together though five countries including Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

“I love to travel and has been to several countries before,” Sam shared.

“When we became a couple, traveling to other countries to meet him is what I thought was worth waiting for.

“Every time I booked a ticket we’d begin a countdown until we could see each other again.”

A collage capturing pictures of Meigo Mark and Nguyen Thi Sam provided by the couple
A collage capturing pictures of Meigo Mark and Nguyen Thi Sam provided by the couple

A Vietnamese wedding ceremony

On October 20, Sam and Mark officially cemented their love by tying the knot at a cozy wedding in the northern province of Thai Binh, the bride’s hometown.

Sam donned a white ao dai (Vietnam's traditional costume) printed with pink lotus flowers.

Nguyen Thi Sam and Meigo Mark at their wedding in a photo provided by the couple
Nguyen Thi Sam and Meigo Mark at their wedding in a photo provided by the couple

Mark’s family also visited Vietnam to share their son’s special day, and was “shocked” by the customs at a Vietnamese wedding.

“The traditions and rituals in Vietnam and in Estonia are very different,” Mark explained.

“In Estonia the traditional wedding rituals last two to three days and nights, so all my family members and relatives who came all the way to Vietnam to our wedding were totally in shock when our wedding started at 10:00 am and at noon most of the guests had already left,” the 27-year-old groom recalled.

The couple says their families have shown never-ending support over their past two years together.

Nguyen Thi Sam, Meigo Mark and their families at the couple's wedding in a photo provided by Meigo Mark
Nguyen Thi Sam, Meigo Mark and their families at the couple's wedding in a photo provided by Meigo Mark

“She is the most understanding, most patient, most supportive, kind, respectful and caring person that I know,” Mark said of his wife.

“She makes me feel loved, inspired, hopeful, motivated, joyful, thankful, peaceful and free,” he added. “She is very strong, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old wife said she appreciates the way Mark respects her family.

“I’m also close to his family. His mother is a loving, joyful and caring person," Sam shared of her mother-in-law.

“My mother passed away, so I really have a lot of love and respect for my mother-in-law.

"She has considered me her daughter even before we got married."

Nguyen Thi Sam and her mother in law in a photo provided by Meigo Mark
Nguyen Thi Sam and her mother in law in a photo provided by Meigo Mark

Sam still remembers the moment when Mark proposed to her in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat.

“It was really surprising and romantic,” she expressed.

“We climbed Lang Biang Mountain and as we headed down, he told me to take a rest. When everyone left, he gave me two bamboo rings he spent the whole night before making and proposed.

“That was really impressive and touching."

A photo provide by Nguyen Thi Sam shows the bamboo rings Meigo Mark made to propose.
A photo provided by Nguyen Thi Sam shows the bamboo rings Meigo Mark made to propose.

Mark said so far he has earned money by writing travel stories for different magazines and newspapers, by selling travel photos and by sharing travel videos. 

“I have managed to inspire positively tens of thousands of people,” he said.

“Hundreds of people from different countries have helped me and have sponsored my travels.  “In the future I plan to write more travel stories and make more inspiring travel videos."

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Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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