Confession: I’m in love. I know you’re probably surprised by my vulnerability, what with my dark, brooding eyes and tough exterior, but you can’t control love.

It started about three years ago on the eve of my trip to Kathmandu. I was working late—and stressing about what to pack. My colleague assured me everything would be fine; she had someone for me to meet, in fact. Someone she thought who may want to go to Nepal with me.

When I first saw her, I was speechless. She was beautiful and slender—but strong. I could see her backpacking, climbing, and skiing, and I immediately began fantasizing about what our life might look like together. I wondered if she would come to Nepal with me.  

It’s nerve-wracking to ask someone on a date, let alone a three-week trek. We didn’t know anything about each other. I told her I loved the outdoors and I loved taking photos; I loved getting dirty and pushing myself. She said she was up for the challenge, and, with that, we set out for Kathmandu together.

Traveling with a new lover will put things into perspective quickly. You learn new things about each other and your compatibility is quickly tested. For us, it was a match made in heaven. She had no qualms about the abundant yak dung and, in fact, even seemed to enjoy it. She wasn’t afraid of heights and didn’t even get altitude sickness as we traversed the Khumbu and climbed higher than either of us had ever been before. She never complained about her load. When she fell, she didn’t even show a scratch. Love does exist.

Though, it was possible, I thought, that we could be in the “honeymoon phase,” hypnotized by the majesty of both the Himalayas and a new relationship. Back in Colorado, we continued to see each other once a week, then twice a week, and, before we knew it, every day. I was totally smitten.

Now that I had a travel partner who was equally dependable and beautiful, I planned a 45-mile trek through the Jordan desert for us. And once again, I melted for her. So we went to the Peruvian Andes in rainy season and then the British Columbia backcountry in winter, each trip more fulfilling than the last.

Now, as we’re approaching our three-year anniversary, I wanted to celebrate her in this open letter of admiration. She may look a little beaten and battered from the years and miles, but so do I.

I love you, F-Stop Satori. Thank you for all you’ve given to me and all you will continue to do. I promise I will get your zipper fixed before our next trip.




Andrew Bydlon
Partner @cavemancollective
Multimedia Specialist @backpackermag
Proprietor @andrewbydlon
Mobile @763.458.9868