Everyone loves a good love story, and when it involves travel it’s even better. This guest post from Stephanie Yoder explains why. And how.
Keystone in June will be my third time at TBEX. I’m becoming quite the veteran. I’m sure it will be an awesome event, as it was last year in Vancouver, but the truth is that neither of them could ever live up to my favorite TBEX. That’s because my first year, in New York, is when I met Michael.
They always say meeting the right guy will happen when you least suspect it, but in my case it was more like “it will happen when you’ve already definitely decided it’s not going to, not for few years at least, stop bugging me everybody.” I was planning to quit my job and travel around Asia, my travel blog was picking up in popularity and boys were absolutely the last thing on my mind.
In true blogger fashion, it all started on Twitter. While procrastinating one day I started chatting about travel budgets with some guy who had a blog called Art of Backpacking. After some playful back and forth banter (Twitter flirting? Is that a thing?) he sent me a Facebook friend request. “Wow, that guy is actually pretty cute,” I commented to a friend before promptly putting it out of my mind.
This was a couple of weeks before TBEX 2010 in New York City. It was to be my first major professional event and I was extremely intimidated at the idea of being around so many people that I felt connected to yet had never actually met. In a few darker moments of doubt I considered not going, but by the time I arrived and was sipping cocktails at the Thursday night PRE-BEX event I was glad I’d braved it. Everyone was so nice and so friendly.
That evening, at an Irish bar in Midtown, I finally met the cute boy from Twitter. He was tall with a mess of curly hair and really cute glasses (I have a weakness for glasses). He greeted me with a huge smile and a hug. Then he bought me a beer. And that was that. By the end of the weekend we were inseparable.
The stars weren’t perfectly aligned: He was headed to China to teach English for a year, and I had my own travel plans but it didn’t seem to matter. I just wanted to be close to this guy. The very next weekend he came down to DC to see me. Shortly after that I changed my flight itinerary to pay him a visit in Xi’an.
That was two years ago. Two years of traipsing around China, Thailand, Colombia and more with my new favorite travel companion. We’ve been white water rafting in Ecuador, wine tasting in Argentina and eaten our way through Vietnam. We share a love of exploring new places, meeting new people and the endless possibilities that travel brings. And eating, we both really, really love eating.
Sometimes I joke that I’m only dating Michael for the tech support, but in truth dating another travel blogger has all kinds of awesome perks. He helps me when my site goes down and I proofread his articles. We both understand the crucial importance of free wifi and that all food must be photographed before eating. We look at new sights with two different perspectives and our work often overlaps in fun ways. We inspire each other.
I will admit that sometimes it feels a bit nerdy to tell people that we met “at a travel blogger convention.” Everyone loves it though, and as a result TBEX will always hold a special place in our hearts. We’ve both made so many great friends and connections via the conference and learned so many things.
Through TBEX we haven’t just found each other, we’ve found a true support community.
Plus, it makes it hard to forget our anniversary!
Photos courtesy of the author