↠ HOW WE MET ↞
Andy likes to say he “found me online,” which is true but that is the short version . . .
What did happen — “in L’s side of the story,” Andy would say — is that I was starting to open up after being a recluse following my divorce. I yearned to return to the simple way of life when, as a child, the sun would coax me to wander under the green leaves of canopies in the warm months or the brittle brown limbs of trees in the cold. The trees never ceased to offer an escape and protection so that when the sun disappeared, I would return home covered in dirt but filled with happiness. This was the feeling I craved to find again as an adult so I realized I needed to learn the way of backpackers . . .
Here, I sent a message to our large apartment complex asking if I could gain knowledge on forest excursions.
Meanwhile, Andy was a new resident in my apartment complex. He had just moved from England to America for a short-term work placement — He was tasked with helping an American engineering company improve productivity and research in manufacturing. I like to picture him weathering the high seas on his voyage to America, determination in his heart and an order in hand to help his piteous colonials succeed so that he could report back to the queen his triumphs. Let’s pause here: Maybe Andy is right — This is my side of our story . . .
Regardless, after a month in America without a friend, Andy decided it was time to take a step towards socializing. Because of this, he was one of several people to answer my message for a hiking partner . . . but he was also the only person I accidentally forgot. To make matters worse I realized this the moment my newfound hiking group was on the edge of some glorious mountain cliff where waterfalls cascaded directly below our feet. Seconds after I returned home, I crafted my best apology message, which apparently worked because he responded a day later, slyly saying I could make it up to him over beers and burgers. That scorching Virginia summer evening, we met at a dive-of-a-bar a few blocks from where we lived.
It was here, without even realizing it, we met on our first date and fell in love. Andy was an incredible conversationalist, and I was immediately captivated and wanted to get to know him further . . . though at the time, that meant finding a way to make him my primary hiking partner so that I could learn the ways of the wild to allow me to set off on the Appalachian Trail solo. Meanwhile, he confessed later that he could tell I was different, that I was special and that he too was drawn in.
Turns out, hiking was glossed over as we filled the hours talking about traveling, only to learn what passion made both our hearts beat. We stayed in the bar until we got kicked out at closing time then wandered along the city’s canal, talking and laughing more — innocent and light — and I can honestly say our relationship is still identical to when we first met.
↠ BECOMING US ↞
With an excuse to discuss hiking, the following day we met again and from that moment on, we quickly realized we were inseparable. Every weekend we found ourselves lacing our hiking boots to walk forest trails.
The forests are where we prefer to be, too — at any given moment — because we can roam wild and free. We are seekers of peace and escape to find that in nature as we chase a different life, one not dictated by society.
For good or for bad, our life is not normal. For us, international love defined “long distance relationship” and visa acceptances encompassed all our wishes so that we could even have a shot at being together. Our mistakes and secrets spanned from ones a lawyer reprimanded or commanded us to tell. However, we knew only a little world built on chance — a world we had created together from the beginning — so we jumped in, taking each day at a time and figuring life out along the way.
In the end, Andy was hired by an American company and miraculously he won the elusive “lottery visa” — nicknamed this due to the slim odds of being chosen. This combination meant the official start of our love story.
Since that time, we have focused on our original dreams that were uttered the first day we met: Andy’s has been to restore a classic vehicle and mine has been to live a life of travel. This is why — after a maybe not so good decision of sharing his eBay account username and password with me — a bid was placed in an online auction for a vintage RV.
Crossing our fingers, we won so on a scorching July day in 2019, our dreams collided when our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome arrived on the back of a flatbed tractor trailer after being hauled across country from California to Virginia. This steel beast singlehandedly fueled our two most burning desires — It required possible every bit of restoration work possible, which Andy and I aimed to do ourselves; and it would lead us to a nomadic lifestyle.
A year after our Cortez arrived and our overhaul began, Andy and I decided to elope. Listen, if you can maintain a relationship through a classic RV restoration — let’s just say marry that person and marry that person fast. We took this advice and set off to the one place we felt most secure — the mountains — where in the same forest on the same cliff edge that Andy proposed, we got married.
↠ ABOUT ANDY ↞
Through my words and our adventures, you will have met my Englishman, Andy. He is the illustrator behind our stories on YouTube and the mechanic-guru for our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome restoration . . . but he is also much more. He is the expresser of mood-capturing facial expressions, the both proper and furious British-cuss word verbalizer, while also being the shy worder. He is the romantic, the whisperer of hopes and gratitudes in my ear each night as we fall asleep. He is the optimist, the logical thinker, the idea-creator, and he has planted a garden of blooming dreams in my mind.
↠ ABOUT ME ↞
I, on the other hand, am the impulsive do-er, the jumper, the one tugging us out of our comfort zones and challenging us to embrace a life of sheer surprise. I am the pursuer of stories, the writer, wanderer, and tomboy who prefers hiking boots over heels and dirt instead of make-up. I am a fierce nature protector and overemotional animal lover. I am a learner, an idealist but most of all I am a seeker, forever a seeker.