Surprisingly, the question we get asked most is not “what’s your favorite place?”, but rather “how did you meet?”. I guess when you get down to it, people want to know how 2 people willing to take a leap of faith, quit their jobs, and take off on a 4-year trip around the world magically found each other. How did Travelin’ Stiles begin? Ask no more my friends. Here’s a he said/she said on how we met and started dating.
Kari’s Side of the Story:
I will never forget the first time I met Rob…mostly because of the injuries I sustained. It was the summer of 2003. Rob just got his cast removed after months of being on crutches. All his friends were out of town so he didn’t have anyone to celebrate with. Luckily Rob’s roommate Chad stepped in to save the day. Chad was dating my roommate Lyndsey. Despite being away himself, Chad knew Lyndsey would make sure Rob had a good time. We were going to a party in the Hollywood Hills so Lyndsey invited Rob to come along. I remember opening our front door to find this adorably smiley face with big blue eyes. All I could think was, “no one ever told me Rob was cute”.
I couldn’t help but be concerned for hobbling-Rob’s safety on the uneven terrain in our friends’ hilly yard. So I took it upon myself to make sure he could just sit down and relax, and brought him freshies all night. Looking back, it seems pretty apparent that I had taken a direct path to any man’s heart (with cold beer), but I swear I was just looking out for his safety. If only someone had been looking out for my safety.
On our way to the car I stepped up on the unlit curb, then stepped on what I thought was the sidewalk. It was definitely not the sidewalk! My leg swung through the air and I disappeared into a 4 foot ditch. I could hear my friends asking me if I was OK. Unfortunately, I am a silent laugher. I laid in the ditch laughing so hard that I couldn’t make a noise. Finally my gasp for air let everyone know I was indeed OK and just paralyzed with laughter. I finally climbed out of the ditch, bruised from shoulder to knee, but still uncontrollably laughing at myself. We continued on to our neighborhood taco stand for late night snacks, then back to our place, where Rob and I stayed up all night chatting about anything and everything (mostly the bash brothers-era Oakland A’s).
Rob and I began talking on the phone every night for hours, but I was new to Los Angeles and wanted to be single. I never even considered him as boyfriend material. I just thought I had found a new best friend; Rob apparently had different plans for us. Over the next couple of months I avoided every “date” he asked me on, would lean away when he’d lean in for kisses, etc.
Then, there was that one fateful night at a dive bar in Burbank. I don’t know if it was that his dad and brother were there, that he had just enough liquid courage, or that he had finally just had enough, but something got into him that forever changed both of our lives. Rob confronted me right there, with his dad, brother, and most of his friends watching. He was fed up with being my “best friend”. He was convinced I liked him more than that. What was I afraid of? He gave me the choice: I was either going to give him a chance and go on a date with him or I had to lose his number.
Maybe Rob putting his foot down made me more attracted to him, or maybe it was just a wake up call that I was letting a great guy pass me by. Either way, it suddenly hit me – Rob was the guy for me. I knew it the first day I met him, I just didn’t let myself believe it until I was at risk of losing him. We finally went on that first date and the rest is history.
Rob’s Side of the Story:
It was a night unlike any other. All my friends were out of town, leaving me with nothing to do. Freshly free of my hard cast, I was ready to celebrate. Luckily, my good friend Chad set up me up to hang out with his girlfriend, Lyndsey, and her new roommate. Chad had informed me that Lyndsey’s new roommate, Kari, was “The World’s Worst Person”. I thought, okay it’s either go out with my roommate’s girlfriend and “The World’s Worst Person” or celebrate alone at home. It was a risk…but the decision was easy.
I arrived at the girls’ place only to find that the “The World’s Worst Person” was actually a tall, hot, blonde. Not always my type, but hey, when it falls in your lap…especially considering, I had suspected “The World’s Worst Person” would resemble a hobbit more than a pin-up girl. I figured, “What does Chad know?” I had to find out for myself.
The Hollywood Hills home was, surprise, actually on a hill. We quickly deduced it would be tough for a gimp to navigate. Kari told me not to worry, to sit down and stay put…that she’d take care of me for the night. I never had to brave the terrain, nor was I ever without a cold beer. I had a great time and made a new friend. On our way out of the party, I was thankful to have escaped the treacherous landscape unscathed.
As we reached the car I heard a yelp, followed by complete silence. Kari had gone around to the passenger side and simply disappeared. Oh, the irony. I could see the headline now: “Girl Ensures Cripple’s Safety, Later Plunges to Own Death”. Kari picked herself up, still frozen by her silent laughter, and jumped in the car. I had never met anyone who could laugh at herself the way Kari did that night. She had such a great sense of humor, and a charming, caring personality. I was hooked. We left the party and went back to the girl’s place where Kari and I stayed up all night talking about everything under the sun (even sports).
We went on as “friends” for a few months. The “friends” thing was her idea. Guys don’t hang around beautiful blondes to just be “friends”. Apparently women are unaware of this. We would talk for hours on the phone or hang out almost every night. We had a lot in common, from our upbringings to our taste in music and movies. As the good times mounted, I fell more and more enchanted with her. She continuously rejected my advances to make something more of our relationship. She said no to numerous invitations to join me on a “date”. When we ate out together, she insisted on paying her half so it wouldn’t be misconstrued as a “date”.
Enough was enough. One night when my dad and brother were in town, I invited Kari to join us for drinks. A few beers down the hatch and something came over me. I think I snapped. It’s all a blur, but eye witness accounts paint a picture of me cornering Kari. Some claim there were raised voices, other attest to having witnessed “crazy eyes”. I told her I was into her and wanted more than friendship. I had no interest in just being friends. My memory and instincts tell me it was all or nothing. Had she said we should just remain friends, I may not have held to that, but I had nothing to lose…and everything to gain. It was a dirty trick, but no risk, no reward. Kari taught me that, without even knowing it.
She finally went on that “date” with me. In the days and weeks that followed things progressed and we grew even closer. Then there were months that turned into years and now here we are. How could I know that “The World’s Worst Person” would be my perfect match? (Note: Chad no longer dubs Kari with this title and has since apologized) I love Kari with all my heart. From that first night I knew she would be someone I could count on to take care of me and my heart, and do it with that smile on her face. She hasn’t taken a day off in 14 years. I couldn’t be happier to have Kari by my side whether it be at home on the couch, rocking out at a concert, or hiking a mountain in some far off place. Kari is the best chance I ever took.
What about you? How did you meet?
Share your romantic, embarrassing, unbelievable, or funny stories about your relationship’s beginning.