“WHAT? You are doing what?” is pretty much how it started for me. As soon I heard most of my friends ask me that I knew I was making the right choice.
Matt and I met on Valentine’s Day (so perfect since it is my favorite holiday) in 2011. We were invited by a mutual friend to hang out for a few drinks at Robbie Fox’s in Tempe, AZ (Sadly, just found out Robbie’s closed). We chatted back and forth about basically nothing exciting until he brought up photography and traveling. I remember thinking “Score! He can teach me some photo tricks”.
In the next few days, we talked on the phone and hung out at the dog park and around town. We discovered each of us was planning to move out of AZ. Neither of us had decided to where yet. And that each of us was planning a big trip before moving. His to Europe mine to Africa. He asked if I would be interested in combining the two trips into 1 for around the same price. I think my answer was an enthusiastic but skeptical, “Ahhh, yeah!”
Sometime toward the end of March, I had one of those moments where you feel pummeled right between the eyes because you all of the sudden see something familiar in an entirely different way. I would like to call it an Aha moment, but it wasn’t as fancy and beautiful as my past Aha moments. It was an assertive “bam” in the face with lots of eye blinking and maybe even a star or two. I am not exactly sure how it happened, but Matt had won me over in a romantic way. We spent a lot of our free time hiking the AZ mountains planning and dreaming of all the places we would go together.
By mid-April, we had planned our two month trip to Europe and Africa and a move to Washington DC upon our return in July/August. By May, we had quit our jobs and embarked on our first weekend trip together to Zion, Utah (a lot more on this trip later).
After we returned from Zion, we left for the Netherlands, Prague, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, South Africa, Lesotho, Rwanda, and Uganda (we will be posting on these adventures soon).
It’s been three years TODAY (Happy Valentine’s Day!) since I met Matthew. We have been to 18 countries, 22 states, and countless cities together. We were engaged on August 9, 2012, on a beach in Siquijor, Philippines, we don’t have a wedding date (we have to plan the honeymoon first) and have more travel plans than years to travel.
Serendipity sounds like either a made up word or something straight from Marry Poppins, but I assure you just as John Cusack found out it does indeed exist. Today marks three years since the day that fate finally let serendipity play a hand in my life, and after being just minutes or feet away from meeting her for years, I walked through the doors of the right gin joint at the right time and Wham! Admittedly at our first meeting, I don’t think I wowed her with anything a particular, but I was sure this girl and I were in store for great things.
Now I don’t want to give away too many trade secrets, but let’s just say I met this super-hot girl on February 14th and by the midway point of May I had her leaving her job and packing a suitcase for a two-month journey through Europe and Africa. That trip has forever changed me, and it has created a bond between us that is very special; if you ever want to see what kind of relationship you have with someone, travel together.
Our Next Adventure
Upon our return from this little adventure we set off on a two-week drive across the country (Arizona to DC) with the dog in the back seat to start a new life with not so much as an interview lined up, I have always just felt that things have a way of working themselves out. We spent our first week as official residents on the living room floor with a few blankets, pillows, the dog and a laptop full of pictures from our recent journey and I couldn’t imagine a better time.
Now we are coming up on three years here in the capital, and we still plan weekend trips to new sights and new towns, and systematically check local activities and festivals off our list. I will say yes to almost anything when it comes to adventure, and knowing that no matter what hair-brained idea I come up with she will be right there with me sharing the experience truly makes everyday extraordinary.