This one sits close to my heart. I generally don’t like to post publicly about my personal relationship because it is just that: personal. But I want to put some of this down on paper, and I think it’s a great story, so I decided I would share it here. With that said, this is thee story of Jess.

I met Jess in 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. I had just ended my RV book tour and was unsure of my next move. Jess had just turned away from the thing she had spent her whole life doing, studying biology. So we were both at a sort of crossroads when we met one day in June on a mutual friends’ sailboat.

For a while we were but friendly acquaintances. Summer turned to fall, and we developed a more intimate relationship. Some months past, but my work soon took me to South Carolina, and Jess moved back to her home in Brazil.

The time we shared in Santa Barbara, though it was short, was special. She was honest with me and that made me feel like I tell her the truth. I trusted her. She was rich and caring by nature, and had a fierce determination to sharpen herself up against reality.

She meant a lot to me. We shared romance, and I was attracted to her, but I had too much unsettled in my personal life which left no space for a relationship. Leaving to go to South Carolina was an easy decision for me, and Jess had her own commitments that pulled her back to Brazil. We left on great terms and I was always really thankful for the impact she had on me. I had the feeling she would be a part of my life for a long time, at least in some capacity.

The years went by. We kept in touch, reconnecting over the phone for hours 2 or 3 times a year.

Then in 2019 I visited Jess in Brazil. I needed a break from work, I had never been to South America, and I saw an opportunity to reconnect with someone who had a big impact on my life.

It had been 3 years since we last saw each other in person, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So much had changed in both of our lives that I couldn’t possibly predict what sort of dynamic we would have in our reunion. I surely had my own questions and curiosities, as did she, but I resolved to go in with no expectations and intend on simply being present and enjoying my trip to connect with a really good friend.

We hit it off immediately and it became apparent that we were both ready for the more involved relationship neither of us were ready for three years before. So we decided to try to make it work, and it felt right then as it does now.

We have a huge barrier in between us. I live in America and she lives in Brazil. Neither of us have dual citizenship or any special visa, and we are also limited by our work schedules and financial ability, all of which makes it difficult to see each other on a normal basis. We’ve been forced to build our relationship mostly through remote means, usually packing lots of time together into short visits. While we have suffered in some ways for the distance, in other ways these limitations have brought us closer and made us stronger.

I’ve since been to Brazil 3 times and she’s been to America once. We had a lot more travel plans for 2020, but coronavirus threw a wrench in all of them and we had to adjust.

Jess has taught me so many things, but one of the most important one is to trust my gut. Sometimes things don’t seem practical at first. It’s difficult to map out a scenario that really makes sense and sounds doable. But sometimes you must look past what you can reason out and follow your gut feeling. This is what drives us to change our scenario in ways we couldn’t imagine before. Your gut forces creativity.

This relationship has been one of the richest parts of my life, and I owe that to my gut. I like our story and I’m curious to see what happens next.

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