Romance on the Road: On Being Chased Around the World

by gigigriffis

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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57 comments

HeatherHR March 21, 2016 - 6:31 am

AWW! yay! so happy for you!

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 10:11 am

Thank you!

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Carol C March 21, 2016 - 9:13 am

Lovely! Enjoy the journeys.

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 9:39 am

Thanks!

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Motowngirl March 21, 2016 - 9:34 am

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!

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 9:40 am

Thanks! Would love to grab a drink!

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Libby Walkup March 22, 2016 - 10:28 am

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.

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 10:38 am

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

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Karen Lagerberg March 21, 2016 - 9:51 am

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

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 9:58 am

Thanks!

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Valeria March 21, 2016 - 9:52 am

Wonderful wonderful in every sense of the word!

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 9:58 am

Thanks!

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Karen Lagerberg March 21, 2016 - 9:52 am

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

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 9:58 am

:)

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Barb March 21, 2016 - 10:05 am

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

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 10:29 am

Thanks!

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Linda March 21, 2016 - 10:13 am

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

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 10:25 am

Thank you!

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Kat March 21, 2016 - 10:17 am

Yaaaay!!!

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 10:25 am

Yes, indeed!

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Judith March 21, 2016 - 10:25 am

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

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gigigriffis March 21, 2016 - 10:29 am

Thanks for sharing my joy. :)

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Jessie (Holling) Sharps March 21, 2016 - 11:17 am

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:26 am

Thank you!

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Ali March 21, 2016 - 11:33 am

Yay!! Can’t wait to meet this guy!

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:26 am

I can’t wait for you to as well!

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Jane Halsey March 21, 2016 - 12:52 pm

Hurrah for love!

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:26 am

:)

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David O'Hara March 21, 2016 - 1:28 pm

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!

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:27 am

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

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Victoria March 21, 2016 - 1:51 pm

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:27 am

Thanks :)

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Lara March 21, 2016 - 2:11 pm

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:28 am

Yes, indeed. Thank you!

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Melissa Paul March 21, 2016 - 2:32 pm

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:28 am

Thank you!

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Kathryn March 21, 2016 - 3:04 pm

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!

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:28 am

Thank you!

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Susan March 21, 2016 - 3:31 pm

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:28 am

So glad!

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Aunt BT March 21, 2016 - 4:11 pm

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:28 am

:)

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Dave Likens March 21, 2016 - 4:37 pm

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

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:29 am

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

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Andrea March 22, 2016 - 2:19 am

Congratulations on love finding you …

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:29 am

Thanks.

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Loni March 22, 2016 - 2:59 am

Fabulous Gigi I loved reading this !

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gigigriffis March 22, 2016 - 9:30 am

Thanks! I’m glad. :)

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Rebecca March 23, 2016 - 7:42 am

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.

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Anna May 30, 2016 - 9:27 am

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!

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Rufus July 3, 2017 - 12:05 pm

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!

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Seila August 20, 2017 - 8:16 am

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 :)

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gigigriffis August 20, 2017 - 10:48 pm

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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Alysse Chase November 7, 2019 - 9:52 pm

Beautiful story! I can’t believe you two met, it seems so unlikely but so so lucky! 💕I’m curious as to your thoughts on Fairytrail which seems to promise romance on the road?

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