Today is a special day for us. It was five years ago that Chris and I met in person for the first time.
It was also the day we had our first technomadic adventure.
We had been corresponding online since the prior June, just a couple months after Chris gave up his San Francisco apartment, traded his beloved Prius for a Jeep and hit the road full time in his tiny 16′ T@B teardrop camper.
I was living on the coast in Florida, had just put my home up for sale and bought a Prius with intentions of driving across country to California to start a new life there.
I was researching hacks for my Prius’ onboard computer, when I stumbled on a post from Chris in a LiveJournal Prius forum saying good bye to his Prius that he had taken to Burning Man and used as an aircraft carrier (for his paramotor).
I had actually recognized his name and user pic, as we had friends in common. I had already been spending the prior year traveling frequently to California and experimenting with running my software business remotely while traveling and developing a new social network. I dropped him a quick reply saying hi (I’m ‘serolynne’, he’s ‘radven’), that we had friends in common and hoped to be attending the burn for my first time in my Prius. (He seems to have taken that as ‘Hi, I want to move into your little trailer with you!’)
And that struck off months of correspondence that led to finding that we had much more in common than a Prius.
My house didn’t end up selling due to the housing market starting to crash early in Florida due to hurricanes. I didn’t end up making my cross country move to California. And I didn’t end up meeting Chris at Burning Man for our first planned date.
But I did keep the dream alive of eventually moving from Florida and planned another trip to San Francisco to keep in touch with my growing social network. I checked in with Chris, and he was still bouncing around the area. We set a date – October 18 – to finally meet in person.
He asked when I needed to be back, and I said I didn’t have anything planned until the next afternoon. But, I would need to work – and I was already sporting a tethering capable smartphone to get online with my laptop. He offered solar power and an incredible office view.
So the date was set – we’d met, camp somewhere overnight in his T@b and I’d get some work done the next day.
Kinda crazy for a first meeting. But after months of correspondence and friends in common to vouch for each other not being axe murderers – if felt right.
Chris picked me up. We headed to downtown San Francisco and spent the afternoon getting to know each other in person. We dice-walked the entire day, allowing serendipity via the roll of the digital dice to decide our every move. Do we turn right or left? Do we eat at this restaurant or this one? At one point, only an hour or so into our first meeting, we were taking a snack break out the back of his T@b kitchen, and a couple comes up to see the trailer. When Chris explained that he lived in it, they asked if I did too.
He smirkily replied ‘Not yet’.
They turned to me and told me that I should totally move in with him.
That was the furthest thing on my mind at the time, but how prophetic they were. As it was just 6 weeks later that Chris showed up at my doorstep in Florida, to start a series of nomadic trial runs that lead up to me joining him on the road full time… starting in that tiny 16′ T@b (did I mention it had no plumbing??).
What an amazing 5 years it’s been – this life and love of ours that has grown pretty much entirely on the road. Continuing to listen to serendipity at every turn.