Alesha and Jarryd
How We Met: I was working my last shift at the bar of a backpackers’ hostel in Vancouver, Canada in November 2008. Three girls approached the bar and I instantly became infatuated with one’s captivating beauty. Remembering I had a job to do, I asked for the young ladies’ ID, at which point the source of my adoration took one look at my dishevelled appearance – cut-off sleeves, unkempt hair and handlebar moustache – and declared that I obviously didn’t work there, and that her friends shouldn’t show me their identification. I protested the claim, but they eventually snuck by. Being my last shift, and the fact that I was blown away by one’s gorgeous style, I let it slide.
They took a seat next to the door, and I quickly used this as an excuse to abandon my post and join them for a chat, in the hopes that I could get to know the one who had already stolen my heart.
Her name was Alesha.
Over the next few hours we chatted and laughed, and soon the bar was closing. Alesha’s friends were tired and ready to call it a night, but I managed to convince Alesha to come to another one of my favourite bars around the corner, one that was a bit more intimate and allowed for deeper conversation. She agreed, and we have seldom been apart since as we have backpacked our way around the world.
How He Asked: We were taking part in a 5 day expedition to explore Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave in Phong Nha, Vietnam. We were 14 months into our current ‘Thailand to South Africa without flying’ adventure, and I had already decided I wanted to propose – I just needed to find somewhere that was deserving of Alesha’s beauty to do it!
On day 3 of the tour we climbed down through a section called ‘Watch Out For Dinosaurs’ and were standing at the bottom of Doline 1 – a large natural sinkhole. A sunbeam was penetrating from the jungle into the enormous chamber, and I knew this was the spot. I set up my camera and asked my friend and caving expert, Howard Limbert, to take the picture when the moment came.
I grabbed Alesha by the hand and told her, ‘Let’s go get a photo’ on a limestone formation at the base of the doline. When we were in position, she asked me how we wanted to pose for the shot. I said that I have an idea, and dropped to one knee.
Underneath the sun’s illuminating rays, beautiful jungle on one side of us in the centre of the world’s biggest cave, I declared my never-ending love for Alesha, teared up slightly, and asked for her to marry me. A second of disbelief passed before she welled up and said, ‘of course’.