On July 28 I was in my RV heading back to Austin to surprise my friends.and family. As I drove, an e-mail buzzed in. A new comment on a Life Nomadic post, by a girl named Annie.
When I stopped in Dallas for the night I read the comment. A chunk of it:
I just found your website. Wow. I am a vegan, a writer and a budding entrepreneur, with a love for travel and minimalism. Every one of these themes is hit regularly here, so it's no wonder I love keeping up. I've read the whole blog.
Wow, indeed. I'm a member of a number of minorities. Most of them have very little overlap, and my stubbornness makes me look for the same things in a girl.
Healthy vegan. Non Drinker. No drugs. Non religious. In shape. Good with money. Minimalist, etc.
I don't expect girls to have these things in common with me. If I find a girl with just two or three, particularly the drinking and eating, I consider her to be truly exceptional. I meet almost no girls like that.
So you can imagine my excitement to read about a girl who was all of these things AND travels too. Impossible. She must be ugly.
She linked to her Flickr account in the comment, which I visited. After a few minutes of figuring out which one was her, I was shocked. She was really attractive.
I always sort of figured that I might meet someone through my site. Seventeen hundred people read every day. About ten percent are girls. That's 170 girls a day who could match up. And actually I DID date one, but my sister told her about my site and I had met her before.
I sent Annie a short e-mail thanking her for reading the site and telling her to check out this one, since it covers a lot of the same topics. She wrote back and said that she has it bookmarked and is going to read the whole thing in one day. Three hundred and seventy posts.
The next day I got home and surprised my mom, who still thought I was in Europe.
"Wow! Tynan! I can't believe it."
"It's great to see you mom!"
"Did you see that girl who posted on Life Nomadic? You need to e-mail her."
No exaggeration. The second thing my mother said to me after not seeing me for seven months was about Annie. She wants grandchildren REALLY badly.
We sent a few e-mails back and forth, confirming even more similarities. We both hate weddings and don't want to get married. We eat the same way. We have similar families and relationships with them.
A few days later we talked on the phone for and hour and a half. The whole call felt frantic, the kind of call where everything is agreed upon and there are no pauses for arguments. Saying "me too" is a terrible habit, but there was nothing else to say a lot of the time.
The next day came. What now? It was obvious we had to meet, but it was way too early. No girl is going to meet a guy that she met on the Internet after four e-mails and one phone call. Then again, if she really does think like me...
And of course, she agreed. Part of me was shocked, but the other part knew that there was no other choice she could make. The one catch was that we had to wait five weeks because her weekends were booked until then. That didn't sit well with my impulsive tendencies, but it was the only way.
The first two weeks went by dreadfully slowly and the last three passed before I even noticed. Our daily e-mails became longer until the last few days before the trip when we had nothing left to ask.
We never once mentioned dating or anything of the sort, even though it was obvious what our motivations were. It's dangerous to start going down that path with someone you've never met.
Every time I went back home my parents would offer advice.
"Are you going to get new pants?"
"Will you have flowers for her when she gets off the plane?"
"You're not going to wear SANDALS, are you?"
Well meaning, but simultaneously hilarious.
And then finally the day came and I found myself nervously waiting for her in the lobby of the Las Vegas airport. She came down the escalator with just a small backpack like me and "Scattergories", my favorite game, in the crook of her arm. When I saw that, all nervousness disappeared.
It didn't take long for it to feel like we'd know each other forever. We went to Whole Foods as soon as we got there and cooked dinner together (really she did most of the work. I just chopped pears).
We saw shows, went to museum exhibits, rode amusement park rides, visited the Hoover dam, and ran around finding mischief.
Before we met, I tried to temper my optimism with the thought that maybe once I met her there would be something horribly wrong, or that there wouldn't be any chemistry.
But she did everything right. I don't mean that in the sense that she was trying to do things "right", but rather that I wouldn't have wished she had done anything different.
As we walked through the airport to leave we started talking about our next trip, which will be to Boston in a couple of weeks. In an e-mail after the trip she said that she wasn't sad to say goodbye, but rather looking forward to the future.
That's how I feel too. Awwwwwwwww....
(I know the photo is not that great. Much to my mother's disappointment I forgot to take more photos of her.)
P.S. She's waffling on starting a blog. In the comments encourage her to start one. She's a really good writer (at least in e-mails, and it's what she does), and she obviously has a lot in common with me.
P.P.S Her sisters read my site now, too. Hi, Birdie and Pearl.