How We Met
Brandon and I grew up in the same small beach town of Ventura, Ca – we went to the same High School and our parents even knew each other from working at the hospital (Brandon’s mom remembered my mom because they were pregnant at the same time!) – but we somehow never met. I was living in New York after college, and we finally crossed paths when I came home for Christmas – through mutual friends. We knew each other casually for a couple of years and were both usually dating other people. One night, Brandon was out in New York with a few of his friends for a guy’s weekend, and they ended up meeting me out at a bar – it was the first time we really got to hang out one on one and we just immediately connected. We stayed out all night talking and dancing and getting tacos on the street at 4 AM, even though it was the middle of November. Eventually, the friends we were with left and It felt like we were the only two people in the world.
A few weeks later, I came home for Christmas, he picked me up at the airport, and we ended up being inseparable for the next two weeks – we took a spontaneous road trip up to Big Sur and barely made it home for Christmas Eve dinners. At the end of my trip, he told me that he was going to move to New York, and 3 months later there he was.
From as soon as we started dating, travel was such a big part of our life together, and 2 years into us being in New York together, we decided that working just to get to the next trip and planning travels 10 months in advance wasn’t the life we wanted – and decided to leave our careers (I was a photo producer and Brandon worked in finance), travel full-time together, and pursue our true passions. We spent a year planning and saving and realized in that time that we were starting a business. A year later, we founded our photo and video production company, left New York, and have been traveling the world and working as Away Lands ever since!
How They Asked
Brandon has always tried to make my birthday special because I had a series of terrible birthdays before we were together (one of them involved a hurricane hitting NYC). We had just returned home from a job the night before my birthday this year, and when we woke up, Brandon told me to pack a bag and we were going somewhere – I had no idea what to expect. He ‘confiscated’ my phone, and we got all the way through airport security without me ever finding out where our flight would be landing. We boarded a flight to San Jose, and I still had no idea what our destination was, until we started driving and I realized that just south of us was Big Sur – our favorite place in the world, the very first place we ever traveled to together, and where we had always talked about having our wedding. We drove that amazing coastal drive and got down to Pfeiffer Beach just before sunset. We walked far down the beach and were sitting on some rocks surrounded by the iconic purple sand. Right before Brandon was about to propose, a woman walked down the beach, stopped at us and said: “you guys just look so perfect together right here, do you want me to take a photo for you?” We gave her our camera, and so we ended up with a photo of the exact place and moment. As soon as she left, he pulled the ring out of his pocket and asked me, it was simple and perfect. He didn’t get down on one knee, because that wasn’t what either of us wanted, he sat right next to me as equals. He didn’t take photos or film it, because we spend so much of our life on camera and publicly, that it made the moment so much more special to have it be between just the two of us.
That night we had dinner at Nepenthe, one of the nicest restaurants in Big Sur. On our very first trip, we came here for dinner after a friend of Brandon’s recommended it to him – not realizing that it was such fine dining. That first night, he was so embarrassed that he had accidentally taken us to such a nice restaurant, and it was something we have laughed about ever since. The night of our engagement, we ended up being seated at the very same table we had our first dinner at – it could not have been more perfect.
The moment before it happened!
A few days later, we traveled to the Cook Islands to celebrate. And in the next couple of months, we traveled to Dubai, Amsterdam, Germany, and Hong Kong and shot our engagement photos around the world, the only way that would ever be right for us!