The Time I Met Tiffany

A cool morning wind swept through an oddly German town delicately settled on the cold sea waters of Namibia.  An off-white van peeled through the morning dew and then stopped abruptly allowing the sliding door to swing open just long enough for me to pop in.  With a quick “hello” we shot off to the brilliance of the coastal dunes for a morning of sand boarding.

We arrived under blue skies and stood deep in the shadow of an imposing dune.  We stuffed our snowboards under our arms and snaked our way up a ledge of sand towards the top.  In a group of 7, I was the only guy, and I didn’t have a problem with that, but I’d long come to the conclusion that I couldn’t have another relationship until I settled, or at least slowed down.

But within seconds of seeing her, I had changed my mind.

Tiffany Wuest

The first time I saw Tiffany (of World meets Girl) she was sitting on a ledge of sand trying to catch her breath.  And well I’m not one to believe in love at first sight, I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t bungee jump through my stomach when I saw her.  I pretended to be short of breath so I could plop down for a moment beside her, catch her name, find out where she was from, and ask her what the hell she was doing on a sand dune in Namibia.

There was an instant connection, and for the rest of the day I constantly found myself trying to be near her. I was intrigued.  However, after a couple runs on the board, I managed to smash my face for 5 stitches worth of damage.  With a Hitler-esque band-aid-stache, I rode off to the clinic, and Tiffany went another direction.  We met up for dinner as a group later, and I again vied for her attention.  When I had it, I couldn’t help but fall into intrigue.

Tiffany Wuest

What happened next can only be summed up by a passage from my up-coming book from Africa:

“There’s desperation in the evening wind as we walk away from the restaurant.  I feel like every step is leading me towards the expiration date of this moment, this stupid feeling that clings hopelessly to my desires.  I walk a half step behind her, and fight the urge to say something cheesy, something honest, something about how I feel.  The corner approaches and I grab her by the waist and twist her into a casual hug.  I restrain my tequila-inspired thoughts, and simply wish her goodnight.

At the corner, she turns left and I right.  In the morning she’ll head north, as I travel south.  The road is cruel sometimes; it’s a constant reminder of what you don’t have, or what you could have.  In the films, I would turn around and run after her.  But in reality I know that doesn’t work.  I’ll never see Tiffany again, the road has taught me as much.”

You see, I’m not the type of person to miss someone, certainly not someone I just met.  Sometimes I long for some sort of stability in my life, and I imagine things to be different than they are.  It’s always a girl with me.  It’s always a girl that makes me think that I could settle, or that I should travel north when I’m headed south.  But at the end of the next day, I’ve usually forgotten their name and am again intoxicated by the road.

But four days later, as I crossed the border into South Africa, I was still thinking about Tiffany.  I couldn’t stop.  Two weeks later, as I arrived in Cape Town, it was still this pretty Swiss girl from a sand dune in Namibia that is dragging through my thoughts and causing me to second guess the night I let her turn left, and let myself turn right.  I should have chased after her.

However, travel has also taught me that you can’t predict the future. The road can always surprise you. This time, it was a facebook message that turned it all around.  “Are you in Cape Town?  I’m in Victoria Falls and on the next flight there.”

In Cape Town, we had a week of sushi, road trips, and wandering through the city.  A week of laughter, storytelling, and a fair amount of unsuccessful wooing on my part.  A week we spent together in Cape Town before I again moved south, and she north.  But on the night I left, I saw in her eyes, that she was feeling the same as I was.  I knew we’d eventually be together.  I just needed, again, to let her go.

Tiffany Wuest, Holland

Yesterday, after one last-minute cancelled flight, and one flight I somehow booked for the wrong month (don’t ask), I arrived at the airport in Amsterdam.  Yesterday, after some 90 days, a couple dozen silly snapchat photos, and a couple hundred thousand facebook messages, I got to see Tiffany again.  Yesterday, after some 2160 hours, a couple skype dates, and more stupid emoticon kisses than I’m willing to admit, I got to have a first kiss with my girl.

Today, I start a new adventure, and this time she and I will take to the road together.  You see, when I met Tiffany she was a bit lost.  Sometimes she tells me I saved her, she tells me that I put her on a path to happiness, she tells me that I’ve helped her escape from her cage.  But what she might not know is she’s the one that saved me.  I was alone, wandering this world in search of self-satisfaction and finding only loneliness.  I was in love with the road, and depressed by the fact I had no one to share its beauty with.  I couldn’t look out at a beautiful view, or be inspired by the world without looking to my side and feeling like my life was missing something.

Happiness really means nothing, if you have no one to share it with.  Happiness becomes momentary rather than residual; it pops out for moments than disappears into the shadows.  When you’re alone, you find yourself chasing those moments of happiness, but the longer you’re alone, the shorter those moments feel, and the farther you have to search to find them.

Tiffany Wuest, train

Tomorrow, Tiffany and I will leave Amsterdam and head east.  Where we go from there is an open book, and for the first time in my life it doesn’t really matter to me where I am.  Like me, Tiffany wants life to be adventure, she wants to explore.  Like me, she is driven, passionate and wants to succeed.  And like me, for Tiffany success isn’t defined by money or fame, but by happiness.  And me? I’ve never been happier than since the day I met Tiffany.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. nice trip Brendan. nice photo…

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  2. Falling in love is just about the best feeling ever (besides becoming a parent, which I can say because I’ve done both). Thanks for being honest about how traveling by yourself was a lonely time…your next journey is sure to be amazing. Europe with a new love? Can’t get better than that.

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  3. Congrats! How very cool to find a special someone along this journey called life. Although I’m always excited about new things along my solo travels I know what you mean about wanting to share it.

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  4. Hi Brendan,
    Who knew you were such a romantic guy (LOL) ….. you’re writing from the heart and you made me cry with joy for you both.
    Well done on all accounts: the writing, the girl, but most of all.. the unfolding, untold journey that lay ahead for both of you. May it be a long and winding road, that stands the test of time …. and be the next chapter in your unwritten book!!
    best wishes,
    Anthea 🙂

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  5. Good job Brendan, happy you found love … hope your coming adventures together are the best yet!

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  6. Awww, I love a good love story! 🙂 Traveling with someone you love is the best experience ever, I wouldn’t change my past year and a half for the world!

    Your girl’s a beauty too! 🙂

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  7. Awww what a great story Brendan. I’m glad you two met and you are so happy 🙂 I’m waiting for my story like this to happen 😉

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  8. This post was incredibly sweet. It seems like you two have such kindred spirits and I wish you all the happy travels in the world!

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  9. omg…so relatable…woaaa i love this story as it reminded me of my mean guy i met along the way last month, during my photo tour in da nang vietnam. wowww in a way ure such an amazing guy and ure right happiness isnt money or is when u find the soulmate of ur life to share with u the rough roads, chilly mountains, snapchats, coffee, tequila, sand dunes, wild waves and so on. im happy for both of u! <3

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  10. Congrats! I’m looking forward to reading all the collaborative posts ahead. 😀

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  11. This is really beautiful!! You are such a romantic!! Happy travels to both of you. 🙂

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  12. Oh so awesome! I am so happy for you. What an amazing adventure you will have together. Off to check out Tiffany now!

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    • awwww what a beautiful story! so well written! Its funny how you can think your life is amazing and then someone just comes into it and it seems to get better just as you thought it couldnt. congrats!

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  13. This is a wonderful story, I absolutely loved reading it. Your brightened my day. Thank you!

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  14. I do believe that we are all travelers and we’re destined to meet a special someone along the way that will complete our journey and will make our future adventures worth taking. I’m glad that you’ve finally found yours. I can’t wait to see more of you and Tiffany traveling together. You’re such a lovely couple.


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  15. congrats, congrats!! what a restoration in faith in fate when you find someone so special. so happy for you and can’t wait to read of your travels together. don’t forget to post!

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  16. Nice entry for your woman here. Traveling is such a nice way to get to know your partner more. Enjoy the trip!

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  17. Congrats Brendan, what a great story! Amazing how close you can get with someone through skype, huh?

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  18. Very well done Brenden – a terrific and inspiring tale!

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  19. Soooo cute. And I’m very happy for your both! Here’s to some great adventures – together – ahead.

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  20. This is such a beautiful story!! 🙂
    I am happy that you found someone not only that you like and likes you back, but who’s also into exploring and getting lost on adventures.
    Wishing you both a lot of happy moments together. Traveling with the person you love is the greatest thing EVER!

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  21. This is ridiculously cute in so many ways! I think a relationship is always about saving each other and helping each other be found – a beautiful love letter Brendan 🙂

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