For most of the United Kingdom, the traveler community are a curiosity. They are a tight-knit group of people who generally keep to themselves. Most do not even marry outside of the community. One woman met the man of her dreams, and he was a traveler. The two ended up getting married, and she gave up her old life to join him. However, she had to give up a few things from her former way of living, like going out at night.
What is a traveler?
The term traveler refers to anyone who has a nomadic way of life. It doesn’t just refer to Irish Travellers or Romany Gypsies, but also those who live on the road for economic reasons. The term typically refers to Gypsy Roma, and Irish Traveler groups. Both groups have been a big part of British culture for centuries, but they are a minority group nonetheless. As far as the British census is concerned, there are about 300,000 travelers in the UK. However, some choose not to participate in the census because of their nomadic lifestyle, so there could be a lot more.
Travelers are people who migrated from Ireland to England in the 19th century. Their history can be dated back to Irish grounds in the 12th century. What’s interesting is that travelers may be from Ireland, but they have a separate identity. Today, they make up a small part of the UK’s population, and they are one of the most disadvantaged groups.
‘Love at first sight’
27-year-old Holly Joyce first saw her now husband on Instagram in September 2019. First, they liked each other’s pictures. Next, they followed each other. Then, they started chatting in their private messages. They agreed to meet up for dinner in March 2020. According to an interview with Mirror UK, Dougie said he knew was going to “marry this woman.”
They dated for three years before they tied the knot. Throughout that time, the traveler’s culture and lifestyle was slowly introduced to Holly. That way she was able to gently acclimatize as their traditions are quite different from the rest of the UK.
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Once they were married, Holly had to give up the lifestyle she grew up with and had to become accustomed to the traveler life. Reportedly, Dougie didn’t mind if she worked. But, she still had to look after the house and their children. Not only that but Holly is expected to cook him dinner every night. Not only that but she can no longer go out without him. Holly says she doesn’t mind, as she would rather not go out alone.
“He wouldn’t want me out at parties without him, we’d always go together,” said Holly. “He’s the man, so he can go out if he wants, but I’m the woman so I can only go out with him. I can go to the salon or out to the shops on my own, but he’s very protective and worries about my safety if I’m out alone. I don’t feel like I’m missing out because if I want to do something I just ask Dougie and we can do it together.” She added, “I’d rather be with him anyway.”
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“I remember being so impressed“
Travelers are notoriously family oriented. Holly mentioned that she was “impressed” at the relationship her husband had with his mom. “I remember being so impressed by how Dougie treats his mom. He never answers back to his mother and has so much respect for her. He buys her flowers, designer shoes, and anything she wants,” said Holly. “The way a man speaks to his mum says a lot, and Dougie has always been so loving and respectful towards her.”
Holly then spoke about what her family first thought when she broke the news she was getting married to Doug. According to Mirror.UK, Holly’s father wasn’t overly excited at first. He has a past as a bare-knuckle fighter. Not only that, but he owns his own fighting club, and he often gets challenged into fight because of his high stature in the community. Holly’s dad was worried for his daughter as he knew what came with that lifestyle. “My family were worried at first,” said Holly. “But as soon as they saw how well he looks after me and how respectful he is, they soon approved. He’s such an amazing dad – family is everything to him.”
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- “Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies.” Traveller Movement.
- “Exclusive:’I married a traveller – what he says goes and he doesn’t like me going out without him’ ” Mirror UK. John Bett. August 30, 2022.