Christian in Tajikistan sitting on his Rally Car during the 2016 Mongol Rally
My flight from Greece back to America had a stop over in Brussels, Belgium. I had never gotten the opportunity to see much of Belgium outside the stables during my 3 months working there so I thought it was a good idea to turn my stop over into an over-nighter. I arranged my flights so that I would spend one full day and night in the city. I rented an apartment for the day and I contacted my nearby friend to see if she would be interested in exploring the city with me but she was unable to come so I thought to enjoy the city on my own.
Due to an Airport Strike in Athens All the Flights were Cancelled
Christian got the message that my flight in Greece was cancelled. Two months in the rally together had caused our bond to grow very strong and I found myself messaging him when I was in need of rescuing. He jumped at the chance to help and spent the evening trying to come up with backup plans for me to catch a bus/train or ferry and make my way to Belgium in time to catch my flight to America. When I boarded the plane that morning, he had no idea I was on my way to Brussels. When he woke up at 8 am and saw my message, he jumped in his car and drove 6 hours non-stop to try and meet me.
I, of course, didn’t know any of this. I landed in Brussels, tired and defeated from my hellish night “sleeping” at the Athens airport. I caught a bus and walked, bag in tow, several blocks to my awaiting apartment for the night. When I saw the comfortable bed awaiting me I dove in the covers and sent Christian a message before falling asleep. I sent him a screenshot of my blue dot in approximation to the train station. “This is the train station closest to me,” I messaged him. “Can you help me look up a train ticket to come visit you?”
I knew Christian adored me, but during the rally I was terrified of letting him get too close. Although there had been several opportune moments (when he seriously should have kissed me but alas never did) I figured that my complicated, chaotic, messy life was not suitable for his spotless, organized, German life. He had a 9-5 job. He had a shared flat with roommates—one of which about to move out. He had never left Europe prior to the rally and had not really lived more than an hour drive from his childhood home.
He simply couldn’t handle my lifestyle, I had rationalized again and again during the many hours spent driving in the rally. And I wasn’t about to start something and fall for a guy that was doomed to end. I wanted a relationship that would last, not burn up in flames after a few months of long-distance messages or failed attempts at visiting one another. I was too old for that shit.
But Christian was persistent. While I was in Greece, he knew my predicament. I was homeless, jobless and penniless. I had no plan after the rally ended and had bought a return flight to America after my FEI Course in Greece simply because I had no where else to go. I figured I would visit my family and sort out some loose ends before choosing my next destination to spontaneously take off to.
Christian had another plan.
“Why don’t you move to Germany?” He had messaged me. “My roommate is moving out, and I can pay the deposit for you and your first months rent until you find a job near here!” His sneaky way of inviting me to basically move in with him was not lost on me. But there was something intriguing about the idea.
Christian took a while to message me back after my screenshot of the train station location in Brussels and I was too tired to wait for his reply. I fell asleep and awoke nearly 4 hours later. It was mid-day, I hadn’t eaten or showered. I was a mess. My head was spinning. I didn’t know if I should catch my flight to America tomorrow or miss the flight altogether and book a one-way train ticket to see Christian’s soon-to-be empty room.
I looked at my phone as it beeped. It was Christian. “Hey, I am happy for you to come to Germany! I think we should talk about it in person though.”
The next message I received was a screenshot of his location. And it was OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT. My eyes widened as I leapt to the bathroom. I quickly tried to brush my hair and make myself look presentable as I went outside to find him.
I couldn’t believe he had driven all this way for me. I was in total shock... but at the same time, he ALWAYS went out of his way for me.
We hugged and grabbed lunch before wandering in the city like the good-old rally days. We walked back to my apartment and I knew I had a big decision to make.
“Krystal,” he asked me once we were inside. “I have to go back soon because I have to be at work tomorrow morning at 8. Do you want to come with me to Germany?”
I knew that this was it. If I went to Germany with him, he would win my heart over for good. I would be powerless to stop it. We would fall in love and try our best to make a relationship work but most likely fail—as these things typically do. I didn’t know if I could risk another broken heart. But if I stayed in Belgium and got on my flight to America the next day…would I be missing out on something? Something grand?
I took a deep breath. I knew in my heart that I had to go with him. I got in his car around 10 at night and we drove 6 hours back to Germany. He arrived at 7am and rushed straight to work while I slept peacefully in his room.
I didn’t know it then.
But 8 months later, we would be happily married and living together in England.
I know how it feels. To be so independent, so far gone from reality, so lost in my own world that love and stability seemed incapable for me. I was a nomad. I was a wanderer. And that would never change for some guy. Though I didn’t know it then, Christian never threatened to take my freedom. Since marrying him I found the teammate in the rally—and in life—I never had. He supports my crazy adventures, encourages my nomadism, allows me to chase my wanderlust and has never interfered with my independence or constant need to roam. He has supported me, encouraged me and enabled me to not only continue the life I have been living but also to strive for the life I’ve always wanted. He proved to me that being a nomadic girl does not mean I have to “settle down” and become “stable” in order to have a successful relationship. In fact, it was the opposite. He found a way to merge my travel-lifestyle into a life that fits us both.
Photo: Since He Captured me in Belgium I thought it only fair to Capture him later in Germany...
Since meeting him, we have traveled in less than a year to over 20 countries together and have lived in two. I realized something I wish I had realized years ago. In all the moments in my life when I was lost or alone or worried that no man could ever have a life with me when my life was so chaotic. For all the times I felt lonely and sad or as if the strength inside me had been stolen from me. I realized that with the right person, it is EASY. Effortless. Everything that used to be so complicated and difficult before simply fell into place. Just. Like. That. And I learned that the right person would never ask me to compromise my lifestyle or personality—because let’s face it, travel is in my blood and soul—but instead valued me for all those things. What others had felt as a burden, he felt as a privilege.
So, to all the nomad-girls out there who sometimes lose sight of the shore and in weaker moments forget that life doesn’t have to be so complicated. YOU CAN find love, despite your need to wander or move every six months to a new continent. But only with the right person.
I didn’t know that day I got into his car in Brussels what would happen next. I had reached my breaking point. The point where I had given up completely and accepted my fate as a world-traveling SOLO woman for all of eternity. But you know what they say. Those are the words spoken by someone about to fall in love.
I hate it when their right.
Christian and Krystal on their Wedding Day in Lake Tahoe, Nevada 2017