Romance on the Road: On Being Chased Around the World

Mar 21, 2016    /    most popular posts, philosophy, stories & photos

This story begins in Medellin, Colombia—the only place in the world that I genuinely hate.

And yet the place that changed everything.

Or at least the place that set the wheels in motion.

It’s hard to say when it started. Perhaps when I scheduled that first digital nomad meet up: a night of cocktails and sushi with other full-time travelers. He was there, though we didn’t talk much that night. I told my best friend that I wanted to see him again—the nice guy, the nerdy one, one of only two others who headed home early to get a good night’s sleep.

Then again, perhaps it started midway through December, when I scheduled a fourth meet up and nobody showed, except him. I sat for an hour savoring my hamburger and reading a zombie novel. He—Chad—told me he’d be late, so I waited. And then we talked for a few more hours, past our bedtimes—about growing up and entrepreneurship, cycle trips and podcasts, audiobooks and anxiety—and I was glad for the rest of the no-shows.

In the week that followed, I made him dinner. It was a culinary disaster, the recipe awful, but the company was nice. We talked about marketing and relationships. And we took a long walk in the forest and came back for smoothies. It was all very easy, a bright spot in an otherwise dark time of my travels. I didn’t know if we were friends or something more; I was just happy for the easy laughter and the long walks and the honest conversations.

Then came my last night in town—New Year’s Eve. He’d asked if he could take me to dinner. I wore a dress for the first time in a month. We wandered the town and talked and ate and eventually he took my hand and then gave me my first-ever New Year’s Eve kiss (though he didn’t know that).

The next morning, I left for Flagstaff.

We talked about him coming to Arizona, but no tickets were booked or dates were set. It was a single date, built on a few weeks of comfortable, laughter-filled friendship. Something beautiful. But not something I decided to count on, having been too often disappointed before.

And so I went to Flagstaff and dated.

I went to a steakhouse with another writer and to sushi with an addiction counselor. I went on my first Tinder date and met another world-traveler online. I had margaritas and cups of tea and game nights and hikes.

In the meantime, we kept talking occasionally, but it didn’t feel serious. Until January was drawing to a close and he told me he wanted to come to Arizona. For real. Soon. To date me.

First, I told him no. My heart was tangled up in too many things. There was too much risk. What if he flew across the country and there was no spark? What if things got serious with one of the other guys? Things seemed to be headed that way. It wasn’t fair to let him come, I convinced myself. And so I told him not to.

But he wouldn’t let me go so easily.

He wasn’t pushy or loud. He didn’t show up on my doorstep the next morning. But he was insistent. He wasn’t going to go out without making his case.

I was worth the risk, he said. I was what he wanted. We share the same values. We had something in Colombia. If he’d known that four weeks apart would make me feel uncertain, he would have come sooner. He couldn’t just let this go.

He was right, of course. Something was there. And if he was willing to fight for that? Well, I had to see what would happen. My best friend said I’d regret if I just let this go. And she was right.

So I told him to come.

And a week later, he was here, stepping off the plane in Flagstaff with a bicycle box and a newly grown beard (and you know how I love beards).

For two weeks, we walked and talked and went to literary readings. He took me out for a multi-course dinner (the way to my heart) and we discovered we were on the same page about more things than we’d even realized. And then one weekend I made him my own multi-course dinner and told him I’d like to be exclusive.

He said yes.

And so everything shifts.

We’re mapping routes and booking accommodations for Park City and Minneapolis and New York and Montreal. We’re browsing Airbnb rentals in Vancouver and planning adventures in northern Arizona’s slot canyons. And in between, we’re walking in the sunshine downtown, working quietly in the local coffee shops, making dinners together, watching Big Bang Theory, hiking the Grand Canyon, and making the most of a Flagstaff spring made more beautiful by all the changes its bringing in our own lives.

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53 Comments
  • HeatherHR
    March 21, 2016

    AWW! yay! so happy for you!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thank you!

  • Carol C
    March 21, 2016

    Lovely! Enjoy the journeys.

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thanks!

  • Motowngirl
    March 21, 2016

    Wow! So happy that your awful time in Columbia yielded this happy result! See, you just never know I guess! Woot! Happy for you!!! ENJOY!!!!

    Would love to meet you both when you are in Minneapolis!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thanks! Would love to grab a drink!

      • Libby Walkup
        March 22, 2016

        Same here i.e. Minneapolis, and this great news that has me in tears. I’m a sucker for a good love story especially on this terrible day for Belgium, I don’t live super close to Minneapolis, but close enough. Let me know dates and I’ll plan a visit, would also love to get a drink.

        • gigigriffis
          March 22, 2016

          Absolutely! It would be so fun to meet in person.

  • Karen Lagerberg
    March 21, 2016

    Good for you! Enjoy your travels with someone and see everyone with a new vision! Best of luck to you, your guy and Luna!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thanks!

  • Valeria
    March 21, 2016

    Wonderful wonderful in every sense of the word!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thanks!

  • Karen Lagerberg
    March 21, 2016

    I ment everything, but I guess everyone works too! lol

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      :)

  • Barb
    March 21, 2016

    That’s so exciting! Super happy for you!!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thanks!

  • Linda
    March 21, 2016

    I am so thrilled for you!! Best wishes for a very happy future!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thank you!

  • Kat
    March 21, 2016

    Yaaaay!!!

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Yes, indeed!

  • Judith
    March 21, 2016

    It was really nice news. That’s not so easy to come by lately, so thanks for being happy.

    • gigigriffis
      March 21, 2016

      Thanks for sharing my joy. :)

  • Jessie (Holling) Sharps
    March 21, 2016

    Everyone loves a love story, including me. Beautifully written as usual. Congratulations!

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thank you!

  • Ali
    March 21, 2016

    Yay!! Can’t wait to meet this guy!
    Ali recently posted…Central America TransportationMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      I can’t wait for you to as well!

  • Jane Halsey
    March 21, 2016

    Hurrah for love!

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      :)

  • David O'Hara
    March 21, 2016

    Lovely read and lovely story! You guys should come Ireland and SUP to the Lake Isle of Innisfree! Delighted for you, delighted you told the story so well, may you both enjoy long happy sunny days together from now to the end of time!

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thanks! We may well take you up on that. 2017 is tentatively back to Europe.

  • Victoria
    March 21, 2016

    Aw, what a lovely story :) beautiful romance <3

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thanks :)

  • Lara
    March 21, 2016

    So happy for you Gigi, there’s always a flip side to every situation so glad Columbia had a surprise in store for you- I’m just smiling for you xxx

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Yes, indeed. Thank you!

  • Melissa Paul
    March 21, 2016

    What a lovely tale of love in bloom! thank you sharing its joy with us.

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thank you!

  • Kathryn
    March 21, 2016

    THAT Gigi is right up there with the best news I’ve heard all year.

    I can’t even describe how absolutely delighted I am for you.

    But I am absolutely delighted for you.

    I wish you significantly more long walks, easy laughter and wildly fun adventures.

    For two. Actually three (Luna).

    You deserve this and so much more!

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thank you!

  • Susan
    March 21, 2016

    This post quite literally made my day. Falling in love is the best … so happy for you (and him! :)

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      So glad!

  • Aunt BT
    March 21, 2016

    Happy dance…. Had a good feeling about the journey to South America

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      :)

  • Dave Likens
    March 21, 2016

    Now the most important question, does Luna approve? Congrats!

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Yes, she’s replaced me with Chad even. :)

  • Andrea
    March 22, 2016

    Congratulations on love finding you …

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thanks.

  • Loni
    March 22, 2016

    Fabulous Gigi I loved reading this !

    • gigigriffis
      March 22, 2016

      Thanks! I’m glad. :)

  • Rebecca
    March 23, 2016

    Woot! That is so awesome! I am so happy for you. I hope things work out it seems to be on the right path. Heck he came half way across the country to be with you that tells you something right there. Not sure most other guys would do thesame.

  • Anna
    May 30, 2016

    Hi Gigi,
    I just read this wonderful news. Life is better if you can share it with someone you love and who loves you. I think love always comes when you don’t expect it (and that’s the best way!)
    Now you have to come back to Verona and celebrate it ;-)
    I wish you all the best for you all (and Luna, of course!)
    Ciao!
    Anna recently posted…Dietro le quinte del web è stato pubblicato!My Profile

  • Rufus
    July 3, 2017

    Wow, very beautiful and inspiring love story. I am currently a single guy traveling, and this story is the stuff of dreams. I also learned the power of choice from your story. Wondering souls find it each other all the time, but the choice to wander together is truly a loving choice, especially for travelers.

    Best of luck to you both!

  • Seila
    August 20, 2017

    I have been reading your stories all day long so inspiring, especially this one!
    I have a question would you elaborate a bit on why you hate Medellin? I am thinking to settle there since I am Venezuela and can’t go back home but would like to be close to my family. thank you :)

    • gigigriffis
      August 20, 2017

      Hi Seila!

      I was in Medellin for a month and was pretty severely harassed every time I left my apartment (men tried to follow me home, screamed in my face, grabbed me in public). It was the worst harassment I’ve experienced anywhere I’ve traveled to and it really ruined my trip. I spoke with a lot of other women travelers (though I can’t speak for the locals) to see if this was common and every single one had experienced some form of harassment during their stay. For some, it was really minor – just cat calls and whistles and things like that – while others had more intense experiences of being touched, followed, and one woman even sprayed down with a construction hose when she refused to look at a strange man who was calling to her from a construction zone. :(

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