They fell in love backpacking via Europe then they misplaced one another. Right here’s how they’ve ended up married for twenty-four years

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Tom Latkovic wakened in disbelief. He’d discovered the lady of his desires and by some means, lower than 12 hours later, misplaced her – possibly perpetually.

It was the summer time of 1998 and Tom, a 22-year-old latest graduate of the College of Michigan, was on a six week European backpacking journey.

He’d crossed paths with Kim Morgan, who’d simply completed up grad faculty on the College of Memphis, in a Munich hostel the night time earlier than. The spark was instantaneous. Tom and Kim spent all night collectively, first hanging out as a gaggle with Tom’s journey buddy John and Kim’s pal Amanda, and later, wandering town alone.

The 2 younger vacationers ended up mendacity side-by-side on the grass in Munich’s English Backyard, stargazing, speaking about their lives, swept up within the romance of the second.

However now it was the subsequent day and Kim was nowhere to be seen. And never solely that, Tom didn’t know her final identify, didn’t have her contact particulars and had no thought the place she is perhaps.

Assembly Kim within the first place had felt like destiny. However Tom determined he wasn’t going to depend on destiny to strike twice.

“I’m extra of a ‘windfall favors the ready’ type of man,” he tells CNN Journey right now.

So Tom and his pal John checked out of the hostel and wandered round Munich for a few hours. As they walked, Tom formulated a plan.

He scribbled down his contact particulars – his full identify, his e mail tackle, his dad and mom’ tackle again house in Ohio – on a bit of paper, in order that “if I ever simply noticed Kim strolling someplace, throughout the road, I may throw it to her or one thing.”

However nonetheless, this appeared like a protracted shot. Tom determined he wanted a extra thorough technique.

“And that technique was – discover the most important public place and discover some option to be seen,” he remembers.

Tom and John made their option to Munich’s Marienplatz, a central plaza in the course of town. That day in late Could 1998, Marienplatz was filled with vacationers with backpacks, taking images, admiring the neo-gothic structure. It appeared seemingly Kim is perhaps amongst them, but it surely was unattainable to identify her amid the throngs of individuals.

Nonetheless, step one in all Tom’s plan was full – “discover the most important public place.”

Within the middle of the plaza a road performer was balancing atop a tall unicycle. Onlookers have been circling him, cheering and applauding.

When the road performer produced two massive swords and introduced he was in want of a volunteer, Tom realized this was the proper option to fulfill half two of his plan:

“Discover some option to be seen.”

“I don’t volunteer for stuff like that, I might by no means have normally performed that, but it surely was an enormous crowd…” he remembers.

So Tom enthusiastically stepped ahead, dragging a slightly-less-keen John in his wake. Earlier than lengthy, the 2 males have been standing within the middle of the circle, passing the swords to the performer to juggle atop his unicycle. The group of onlookers whooped and applauded.

Then the efficiency was over and the road performer was circulating his hat, vacationers digging out cash from their pockets. Tom glanced round hopefully, however Kim remained nowhere to be seen.

He was starting to suppose it was a misplaced trigger, when somebody tapped on his shoulder.

Tom rotated. It was Kim. He noticed the disbelief, reduction and happiness he was feeling mirrored again at him on her face.

“I didn’t suppose I’d see you once more,” Kim mentioned, smiling.

“I believed you’d left,” mentioned Tom.

Towards the chances, Tom and Kim had discovered one another once more. However this was only the start of their story.

A Munich assembly

Kim and Tom struck up an immediate connection once they met in a Munich hostel elevator. Kim Latkovic

Like Tom, Kim had spent that day in disbelief that she’d discovered somebody who appeared so excellent, and misplaced him simply as shortly.

However whereas Tom tried to take destiny into his personal arms, Kim had a special strategy to the state of affairs. She determined future had introduced Tom to her as soon as already. That advised that, if it was meant to be, she’d cross paths with Tom once more.

However as she spent the day sightseeing round Munich, Kim began to remorse that call. And she or he saved replaying the second she first met Tom.

It began on the 4You Munchen Youth Hostel, a backpackers hub positioned close to town’s major practice station.

Whereas she was ready for the elevator with Amanda, Kim noticed Tom strolling down the hallway with John. Instantly, Kim thought Tom was “actually cute.”

In the meantime Tom, who’d been planning on taking the steps, shortly modified course when noticed “this hanging girl in a costume.”

However as soon as they have been all contained in the elevator, Tom discovered himself abruptly shy and uncertain learn how to strike up a dialog with Kim.

“I bear in mind considering, ‘Effectively, any individual’s acquired to say one thing,’” remembers Kim.

So, she requested Tom and John the place they have been from. From there, Tom, Kim, Amanda and John chatted about their respective faculties and travels.

The elevator reached the hostel foyer and the vacationers headed out into the nice and cozy night collectively. By coincidence, they have been all heading inthe similar path – to the Hofbrauhaus Munchen – a beer backyard, restaurant and Munich establishment. Tom, Kim, Amanda and John walked there en masse, nonetheless speaking.

After they reached the Hofbrauhaus, the foursome lingered awkwardly for a minute, however then, slightly than heading to separate tables, determined to sit down collectively on an out of doors patio.

“Tom was sitting throughout from me, at this lengthy picnic desk, and it was virtually like we have been interviewing one another,” remembers Kim.

“We have been flirting inside 9 seconds,” says Tom.

From left to proper: John, Kim, Tom and Amanda on the Hofbrauhaus Munchen on the primary night time they met. Kim Latkovic

Questions they requested each other included:

“Would you like youngsters? Do you wish to get married? How do you see your life going? What would you like in your future?”

“I feel John and Amanda have been like, ‘What’s going on right here?’” says Kim, laughing.

“We drank a whole lot of beer too,” provides Tom.

This had been happening a short time when Kim wove into the dialog a key element – she had a boyfriend again house within the US.

At this information, Tom raised an eyebrow. Already, it felt apparent there was a connection between him and Kim. In some way, the rest appeared irrelevant.

“It was clear to us,” he says. “It was clear to John and Amanda.”

Later that night time, when Tom and Kim have been mendacity aspect by aspect in Munich’s English Backyard, their dialog, which had been virtually fixed all night time, got here to a standstill.

Within the sudden quiet, Kim turned to Tom and requested him what he was considering.

“I used to be simply eager about how fairly the sky is,” he mentioned.

“What else are you considering?” pressed Kim.

Tom paused, after which mentioned:

“I used to be simply considering how I’d actually wish to kiss you.”

“And I mentioned, ‘What are you ready for?’ remembers Kim right now. “And he kissed me.”

Shedding each other

This is Tom serving to the road performer in Marienplatz. Kim Latkovic

When Tom and Kim ultimately acquired again to the hostel it was practically 5 a.m. They went their separate methods to their respective dorm rooms, promising to hang around at breakfast.

However within the morning Kim couldn’t see Tom or John anyplace.

Amanda advised Kim knock on Tom’s dorm room door, in case he was nonetheless asleep. However Kim couldn’t convey herself to do this, it felt too ahead.

“So I stubbornly stayed put although Amanda saved encouraging me,” she remembers.

As an alternative, she sat downstairs, ready. Time handed and there was nonetheless no signal of Tom.

“After hopelessly ready an hour or two within the foyer, I gave up,” says Kim.

As Kim walked away from the hostel, she realized that whereas she knew virtually every part about Tom’s life objectives, his ambitions, his desires – she didn’t know his full identify and had no method of contacting him.

Little did Kim know that Tom was really in his dorm room the entire time, unintentionally sleeping the day away.

However by some means, towards the chances, Tom and Kim reunited that night at Marienplatz.

Kim will always remember the second she noticed Tom helping the road volunteer together with his sword trick. She even snapped some images along with her digital camera.

“I couldn’t imagine it,” says Kim. “I believed I might by no means see him once more.”

After they’d reunited, Tom, Kim, Amanda and John stood collectively on the plaza, speaking for a number of hours. Their reunion was brief lived – Tom and John have been heading to Prague that night.

“However then, earlier than they needed to depart to catch their night time practice to Prague, Tommy pulled a bit of paper out of his pocket together with his identify, tackle, cellphone quantity, and e mail on it,” remembers Kim.

This is Kim on one of many many European trains she caught that summer time. Kim Latkovic

This was the paper he’d ready earlier. Kim was a bit bemused by the concept he’d carried it round all day. However she was relieved that, though they needed to half methods once more, they’d accomplish that at the least understanding one another’s full names.

And earlier than they mentioned their goodbyes, Kim talked about that she and Amanda can be heading to Balmer’s Youth Hostel in mountainous Interlaken, Switzerland in a couple of week.

For Kim, there was a message implicit on this piece of knowledge. It was her method of claiming:

“That’s the place I’ll be in per week, if you wish to see me, present up.’”

Reunited in Switzerland

Tom and Kim have been reunited once more in Switzerland and grew even nearer. Kim Latkovic

Per week later, Kim was mendacity in a hammock, admiring the peaceable surrounds of Interlaken and its stretch of mountains, sky and lakes.

Then she appeared up and noticed a brand new group of backpackers, contemporary off the practice, heading into the hostel to examine in. She scanned the faces hopefully, and positive sufficient – there was Tom.

“He confirmed up,” Kim remembers considering.

Over the subsequent couple of days, Tom, Kim, Amanda and John explored Interlaken collectively. Tom and Kim each secretly hoped Amanda and John would hit off romantically as nicely – they didn’t, however they did hit it off and have become good associates too.

This is Tom and Kim photographed strolling down a countryside street in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland a couple of week after they met in Munich. Kim Latkovic

The foursome determined to journey onto their subsequent vacation spot collectively, catching a practice to Venice, Italy.

A number of days later, Tom and Kim discovered themselves alone, strolling hand-in-hand alongside the Venetian canals.

“We have been on a type of bridges over the river,” remembers Kim. “I bear in mind the moon was out, it was a gorgeous night time and we’re standing there speaking.”

“Okay, this man – one thing’s right here. That is distinctive,’” she remembers considering.

Then Tom paused for a second, trying critical abruptly.

“After I have a look at you,” he mentioned. “I can see you, outdated and grey. And I can see all our youngsters and grandkids round us.”

Usually Kim would have been alarmed by such an announcement. But it surely felt like precisely the suitable factor for Tom to say at that second.

“Me too,” she mentioned.

Later, Tom known as house. He advised his mom about Kim, explaining what that they had was “fairly particular.”

“To this present day, it means loads to her that I advised her – she was the primary particular person aside from John to know that I had met Kim,” says Tom.

By the top of their travels, Kim and Tom have been positive they have been in it for the lengthy haul. Kim Latkovic

Tom’s mom was actually excited for him. However when Kim known as house, her dad and mom’ response was barely completely different. They have been fearful. What about Kim’s faculty boyfriend? What if she was simply swept up within the romance of a European trip?

However later that summer time – as soon as Kim was again house within the US and had ended issues along with her boyfriend and launched Tom to her dad and mom – that they had a special response. As quickly as Kim’s dad and mom met Tom, and noticed Tom and Kim’s pure ease collectively, they have been wholeheartedly supportive.

Over the subsequent couple of months, Kim and Tom spent each second they might collectively. They have been uncertain what would occur subsequent: Kim had a job lined up in Atlanta, Georgia whereas Tom was set to start out working in Cleveland, Ohio. This upcoming lengthy distance, together with the agency basis they’d laid in Europe, accelerated their relationship.

“We took a 12 months of relationship and caught into a few months,” is how Tom places it.

On Christmas Eve 1998, Tom proposed to Kim. The next 12 months, they acquired married in Memphis, Tennessee. Kim took Tom’s identify, turning into Kim Latkovic.

At their rehearsal dinner, Tom’s touring buddy John gave Tom and Kim a present. It was a framed web page torn from his journey journal, dated Could 27, 1998 – the night time Tom and Kim first met.

A framed excerpt from John’s journey journal, which describes the second Tom and Kim first met. “Ten bucks says Tom marries her,” wrote John that day in 1998. Kim Latkovic

“I now should ponder the concept of destiny,” learn the journal entry. “On our option to dinner, Tom and I met these two ladies, Kim and Amanda, within the elevator at our hostel. We ended up going to dinner, staying on the Hofbrauhaus all night time, and having a blast.

“It was actually fascinating to observe Tom watch Kim, and vice versa. I couldn’t get previous the concept that this was presupposed to occur, that these two have been supposed to satisfy, Ten bucks says Tom marries her.”

25 years later

Kim and Tom are fortunately married and love touring the world collectively. Kim Latkovic

Twenty 5 years later, Tom and Kim are nonetheless fortunately married and stay collectively in Memphis. The couple have three children, two at the moment in faculty and one in highschool. They continue to be associates with Amanda and John. The framed web page from John’s journal is in pleasure of place of their house, subsequent to {a photograph} from their wedding ceremony day.

Tom and Kim nonetheless take pleasure in exploring new locations collectively and of their home they’ve acquired a map full of pins monitoring all of the nations they’ve visited thus far.

However whereas the couple love visiting new locations, one in all their most memorable journeys was a return go to to Munich in 2015, once they took their children to see the place their love story started.

Naturally, this journey included a pilgrimage to the 4You hostel, to pose for a photograph exterior the elevator.

“I used to be so pleased to realize it’s nonetheless there and remains to be a youth hostel for backpackers,” says Kim.

Tom and Kim’s youngsters performed alongside, however have been somewhat bemused by the entire thing.

On a return go to to Munich some years in the past, Kim and Tom and their three youngsters took this photograph in entrance of the elevator the place all of it started. Kim Latkovic

“I feel the bodily elevator was not essentially as necessary to them,” says Tom, laughing.

Afterwards, the household wandered via Marienplatz. This time spherical, Tom didn’t volunteer for any road performances, however Tom and Kim discovered themselves reflecting on the best way Tom took destiny into his personal arms following their preliminary serendipitous assembly.

For Tom and Kim, Tom’s selections that day taught them an necessary lesson about romance – and life extra typically – which they’ve carried with them ever since.

“Be daring, take dangers, be susceptible,” is how Tom sums it up.

“If every of these issues hadn’t been performed, there’s an excellent likelihood we wouldn’t be collectively and gosh, that may be – what a waste. That’d be horrible,” he says.

“I really like her. And she or he’s made mylife so a lot better. And we’ve acquired superior children. So, to me the implication, it’s fairly profound.”