Lisa and Sasha

How We Met

In April of 2016, I went camping with some mutual friends, including the handsome tall man whom I now get to call my fiancé. At the time, Sasha and I had only known each other for a few months in a friendship capacity. We were walking alone along a beautiful rugged path in Eastern Washington when he asked me what was on my bucket list. I remember thinking to myself, “wow, what a great conversationalist this guy is!” After telling him my bucket list items (which included extended world travel), I asked him in return and he said without hesitation, “traveling the world, flying a helicopter, and proposing to my future wife in Greece”. Wow! A guy who knew what he wanted and a romantic at that! Very shortly after, we started dating (that last bucket list item may or may not have been a big factor in that decision, ha!) He had visited Greece with a buddy when he was 21 and single and it was then and there that he promised himself that he would propose to his future wife in Greece. Sasha and I both worked in corporate management careers in Seattle that didn’t seem to suit what we wanted deep in our hearts, which was to travel the world. Two months after we started dating, we had a pivotal moment which planted the seed that would be the base of our decision for our future path ten months down the road.

We were hiking Ross Dam Lake in the beautiful North Cascade Mountain Range of Washington State. As we always do whilst hiking, we were having deep and stimulating conversations about life and our future. That was when he turned to me and proposed a question that would stick with me for 10 months to come. He said, “what if we quit our jobs and travelled the world on our savings for six months?” This question both excited and terrified me. The first thought that came to my mind was, “I could actually see myself traveling with this guy for six months.” The second thought that immediately followed was a realization that it was then and there that I knew I loved Sasha. I knew it was early and we still had a lot of getting-to-know-each-other, but the saying “when you know, you know” is absolutely true. Because we met through our best mutual friend, we skipped many of the niceties and first date awkwardness and immediately clicked. I had decided then and there that it would be my goal to save up as much money as we could, so that we could eventually leave our life in Seattle to explore the world together. And ten months later we did exactly that. We left our corporate careers, sold our belongings, fit our life into a 65-liter backpack each, and left the country to travel the world.

How He Asked

By July of 2017, we had been traveling together for nearly four months and had visited five countries. Greece was #6, and I knew it was a special one. The magic began at one of the most beautiful locations on Crete…Elafonisi Beach. The day was a beautiful one. We strategically arrived around 5:30 PM to have around three hours before the sunset and to have the beach more or less to ourselves. (This is a touristy beach during the daytime, so coming later was perfect.) We found a little semi-private cove and planted our belongings down.

Lisa and Sasha's Engagement in Elafonisi Beach, Crete Island, Grece

Ever since we arrived to Greece I had been waiting on pins and needles because I knew Sasha wanted it to happen there. However, we were in Greece for a total of one month so he really kept me on my toes! After a snorkel, a nap, a bit of reading, and a walk together to explore the other coves, we returned to our cove where I started to write words in the sand that brought me joy, such as “love”, “health”, “family”, “friends”, “calm”, “tranquility”, etc.

Where to Propose in Elafonisi Beach, Crete Island, Grece

He started filming me with the GoPro, which was not uncommon as we have documented much of this trip filming on the GoPro. He then handed me the GoPro and said, “let me add to this.” I knew then that it was coming. He wrote in the sand (way more slowly than I could bear!), the following words… “Look…under…the…hat!”… I handed the GoPro back to him and went to our towels where his floppy hat was sitting. I lifted up the hat and there was the ring, a gorgeous rose gold sparkling white sapphire.

He got down on (two) knees (which made him nearly exactly my height since I was on a bit of a slope and he is two meters (6’7″) tall! He proposed to me first in English and then in Russian (his native language). And, no surprise, I said yes!!! (Actually, I said Конечно), which, in Russian means “of course!” The moment was perfect and one I will never forget. The sun had just begun to set across a cloudless sky, and with a warm breeze kissing our happy faces, we decided to take some photos and engage in some acroyoga at sunset.

Sasha carried the engagement ring across four countries, which nearly gave me a heart attack! Thank goodness nothing happened to our luggage! The following evening we dined at a waterfront restaurant in Chania, a beautiful Venetian-style harbor where the sunset was again spectacular.We love silhouette photos, and since the background was so stunning, we decided to re-create the proposal for a photo that his Dad took.

So that, my friends, is our love story. We are looking forward to a lifetime of more adventures, happiness, a family, obstacles, challenges, and overcoming them together. Here’s to love, to manifesting your dreams, and to traveling. The world is calling and we must go. (The full story of our engagement can be found on my travel blog here. I documented our entire six months of traveling in ten countries and 50 cities).

Here is the link to the story with photos. NOTE: The video I submitted was using GoPro footage that we took ourselves (Sasha has really long arms!) :-) And the music to the video is me singing and playing piano.

Lisa's Proposal in Elafonisi Beach, Crete Island, Grece