The life as we know it now, all started with a chance meeting in a small travel town bar in New Zealand.
Jackie & Andy here, assuming you are interested in our story. If you are… we have plenty of it. But for now we will keep it short.
The Quick Sip…
Jackie- from a suburb of Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Andy- from a suburb of London, England
Both of us traveling for our own reasons end up in the tiny travelers town of Paihia, New Zealand. We were working in neighboring hostels for the tourism summer and bumped into each other in the hostel bar. The rest is romance history. (See “The Whole Glass” for both accounts).
Since that historic moment (in our life), we have followed our noses through life. Attempting to balance life responsibilities, obligations and trying to hack away at the never ending itch of discovery.
… pen drop.
When we started traveling, we wish we had the knowledge we have now. We hope you find our posts both informative and inspiring. Our goal is to give a realistic approach to travel. From how you can achieve the simple goal of a stress free weekend trip to a year’s epic journey that will align your perspective to life.
There will always be a time to not reach… but eventually there will be a time you cant reach.
The Whole Glass…
I was traveling around New Zealand on my own, discovering in amazement the beauty of the country. I traveled around the North Island working at lodges and hostels to pay for accommodation before settling at the backpacker town of Paihia, Bay of Islands. I stayed in Paihia briefly on my journey around the first 2 months and figured it would be a great place to work for the summer before continuing on.I worked at reception of a hostel, The Saltwater Lodge, in the mornings for my accommodation. By noon, walked over to the beach (only a block away) to a mobile juice and smoothie bar where I worked for a few hours, then in the evenings worked at a Kabob shop in town where I would close up. This was my routine most days to save up for the next stretch of traveling to see the rest of the country. This town was amazing for any outdoor activity you can think of and the hub of great day trips.
There was a core group of backpackers from all over the world that were working there for the summer so most of us would gather at the local hostel bar, the Pipi Patch at The Base Hostel. This is where Andy and my worlds collide. Andy worked for accommodation that hostel by working as a “glassy” (barbacking). Our gang from the hostel frequented this bar to share war stories of cleaning the dorm rooms or difficult travelers.
Andy seemed to be paying extra attention for empty glasses in our area of the bar. After being introduced and him viewing my sick dance moves, I definitely got the sense we would be seeing a lot more of each other. One evening, he was walking me out of the bar, (my hostel only 2 doors down), we were chatting about plans to hang out on our day off and WHAM! A kiss right on the lips! It was obviously welcomed but I’m really good at being oblivious to these things had no idea it was coming. By his reaction, my face didn’t hide my surprise. He quickly said bye and ran off. From reports, he was convinced he messed it all up and was very upset.
Turns out I’m ok with awkward moments like that because I’m no smooth roller myself.We spent a the fantastic summer in the Bay of Islands. Andy then had to go back to England and I continued traveling with a good friend I made along the way around the South Island for about 6 weeks. We Skyped all along the way and figured it would be good to try out this long distance thing. He made the leap of quitting his job, coming to stay with me at my mom’s apartment for the amount a visitor’s visa would allow, 3 months, then go home and get another job. We took turns doing this. Though expensive, it turns out, it can work! 5 years later, we got married and the rest is history.
Sitting at another administrative temp job, trying to figure out the next global adventure, a random email from my good Dutch friend pops up, “Want to go to New Zealand?” Even before my resignation letter lands on the desk, my trusty backpack is packed and I’m on an 87 hour journey to the other side of the world. Little did I know, this trip would be the one that changed my life. We planned to explore New Zealand, North & South, then settle down to earn some money. Day 2- we travelled north to the paradise that is Paihia, Known as The Bay of Islands, and then did not leave for another 5 months. In those 5 months, the greatest love story ever told began (it gets soppier, stay with me).
I had found myself working as a glass collector in the Base Hostel Bar where we lived for free accommodation (and free beer). This allowed me to meet a lot of the new faces in town. One magical evening, as I completed my rounds collecting glasses, trying to stop people from playing “how high can we stack those glasses” on me, there she was.. the coolest girl in the bar. Sunglasses in a pitch black party bar… this girl has no care, she’s a free spirit, I must talk to her.
Now this is where the story may differ from Jackie’s. As I casually pretended to pick up glasses and made my way to where her group of friends were partying away, I zoned in on a girl throwing shapes like I’ve never seen before. Be cool Andy, be cool. With all the opening lines running through my head- Angels falling from sky, something about stolen diamonds in eyes, I composed myself and smoothly, at the top of my lungs, shouted at her… “YOU’RE SO GANGSTAAA”…
Jackie’s Immediate response, and the next hours after get a bit blurry but it definitely involved me being on my final warning from the bar as they ran out of glasses. Forward to the lights coming up, “Closing Time” coming out of the speakers and stumbling out of the bar, I’ve managed to keep Jackie engaged enough to get to a moment myself and Jackie argue over to this day…
Let me set the scene… in the romantic lights of the hostel parking lot, the sweet choir of the evening drinkers singing, “Sweet Caroline”. Our eyes meet… this is it. Without question, she wants me to kiss her… BOOOM! Sparks fly, magic happens. As I pull away… oh god… I’ve read this all wrong. We part ways, Goodnight.
Thankfully that aggressive approach to the first kiss did not ruin what has now been 8 amazing years of crazy adventures and journeys around the globe. From New Years in Edinburgh to Birthdays In Sydney. We’ve had a blast and I’m so glad you can join us for the next chapters… It’s going to get good
Though we resided in countries separated by an ocean, we learned we were not too far from each other a few years prior to meeting. Before heading to New Zealand for my solo travels, I spent a few months in St. Ives, England, with a family friend after graduating college (about an hour from where Andy grew up). Andy also spent 3 summers in a rural town in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, as a camp counselor (about 2 hours from where I grew up).
Turns out fate had a few misses before us getting to New Zealand.
Our journey continues from there.