Our story began with a four wheeler ride through dusty unpaved roads of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. If it hadn’t been for a canceled flight a few days later, it might have ended there too. I like to think fate had a bit of a hand, because through all of the challenges, and more than one occasion of almost deciding to go our separate ways, here we are - 8 countries, countless US States, and nearly 100 flights later - still as wild and wandering as ever.
Sean and I met while staying at a hostel in a trendy surf town. I had met up with several of my cousins who were living in Santa Teresa hostels for a good chunk of the winter and spring and had arrived at Believe Yoga and Surf Lodge the previous afternoon after a grueling mile and half walk in the scorching tropical heat along the only dusty road in town.
Sean sat across from me on my first morning at breakfast - he’s always the first to make introductions. He asked me what I did for a living and when I responded that I was a flight attendant I think his response was something like,
I think he could tell from my voice how worn down I felt from the job even then.
Sean was traveling solo, his company had gone remote during covid and he was using the opportunity to study Spanish and do some surfing. He was an engineer and had made quite the career for himself, especially for a 32 year old. He valued hard work and success, but I could tell from our first conversation that he was absolutely in love with Costa Rica and the friends he had made traveling.
The opportunity to be a part of a community of travelers and live together in a communal environment is something most people don’t get to experience very often in their lives, and when they do it just might change them forever. Sean was in a period of transformation, experiencing the magic for the first time after years of climbing the corporate ladder.
As I mentioned our romance began with a four wheeler ride through the hot and dusty streets. After breakfast I attended what was probably the most difficult yoga class of my entire life on Believe’s gorgeous yoga deck, which overlooked the pool below. Sean and his gaggle of lady friends were relaxing down by the pool, and I couldn’t help but imagine he was looking up and laughing at me as I struggled my way through the advanced poses.
Hot Yoga is one thing, yoga outdoors in 98 degree heat and tropical humidity is entirely another beast. I was feeling exceptionally proud for making it through the class by the time I made it down to the pool and jumped in.
“How was that?” Asked one of the girls with a smirk. I gathered that everyone present had attempted the class at one point or another, which made me feel better.
In no time at all we were all laughing and joking like old friends, and they’d invited me to a rooftop pool party in the nearby mountains.
“It’s got a beautiful bar, and a killer sunset. Everyone from Believe will be there!”
The only problem was that it was cash only and the nearest ATM was an hour walk each way. Sean had just left to go into town apparently, and one of the girls suggested that if I hurried I could catch him before he took off.
I yelled after him, quickly jumped on the back of his quad and we rode off into the sunset.
Just kidding, but we did have a fun afternoon navigating several broken ATM’s and then picking out some Chilean wine. We returned to the pool and swam and drank wine with our friends until it was time for the party.
Sean was the life of the party, whereas I was shy and a little bit reserved. He was wearing sunglasses, and carrying a wine glass in one hand and a folded hand fan in the other which he would snap open and closed in an impression of a glamorous starlet.
He was funny, and everyone loved him. Women were quite literally hanging off of him in the pool, playing pool games and partying, and as the night continued to grow more wild I realized that despite our earlier flirtations, this guy was decidedly not for me. I pegged him as a party boy right then and there.
Afterwards, a smaller group of us all went out for late night sushi. I returned to the hostel with one of the girls, and Sean went home to another’s hotel. I knew he was leaving for San Jose the next morning, and so I assumed we wouldn’t see each other again.
When I awoke, shockingly not hungover, the next morning and Sean was there in the hostel packing his bag. I couldn't deny how excited I was to see him again. He helped me down from my bunk and asked me if I wanted to go for a swim in the ocean before his flight.
We spent the morning swimming, body surfing, and talking in between waves. He was smart, funny, and his travel plans mirrored my own. We both wanted to go to Colombia next, and eventually live in Central America.
The conversation was so nice that Sean ended up pushing back his hopper flight so that we could spend more time together. We ate smoothie bowls and talked until the last possible minute, then added each other on WhatsApp and Instagram, promising to stay in touch and meet-up if we ever found ourselves in the same country again.
A few days later, my flight was scheduled to leave from San Jose, but when I arrived at the airport and looked at the board it was canceled. Sean and I had been texting about the beauty of travel and how it makes one more flexible and able to live in the moment just seconds before, and the irony was too much.
When I told him that my flight was canceled he called me immediately. The plane I was departing on was the same flight his mom was coming in on that day. Both were canceled, leaving us both free and in the same city. I got a cheap hotel room and then hopped in an Uber to meet up with him at his AirBnb in the cool art district of San Jose.
All day we walked around the city. It was a cool rainy morning, which we both loved after the heat of Santa Teresa. We stopped in every cute coffee shop and boutique and shared a romantic dinner.
The time flew by and the conversation never faltered. When it had gotten late and was finally time for me to call an Uber and return to my hotel, Sean kissed me and asked me if we could make plans to see each other again. It was the most romantic night of my life up until that point - although he’s continued to top it ever since.
A few weeks later I was on a plane to meet up with him in California wine country, and then extended my trip for nearly a week at the house he was renovating in Denver.
We’ve been galavanting around the world together ever since. At times we didn’t see each other for weeks, and it was tough, but we have always found a way to return to each other. He’s my best friend, my travel partner, and the love of my life. I know he’ll always be up for any adventure and that with him I’ll never grow bored.
The best part of all is knowing that we share the desire to prioritize travel for the rest of our lives, and each experience helps us grow as individuals. Finding a partner who supports your desire to see the world is a treasure. Finding one who shares the dream is a miracle