The Story of Fel and Wes
“How did you two meet?” and “What’s the story behind Feather and the Wind?” are among the most popular questions we get asked from our friends and followers. Today, I’m answering both (but I get sidetracked easily so this might turn into a long read).
Have you ever heard of the old Chinese proverb that claims those who are destined to be are connected by a red string throughout life until they inevitably meet? It says: “The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances.” Now I don’t know if you believe in destiny or serendipity or soulmates but, either way, we both remember that fateful day we met in Edmonton as if it were just yesterday.
Our Meet Cute
“But if she’s from Toronto and he’s from Vancouver, how did they end up in Edmonton?”
Ah, good question! Well I (Fel) had essentially just landed my “dream job” which took me away from my home in Toronto to the city of Edmonton, Alberta. After a 3-month long interview process, I was accepted as a Finance Management Trainee with an international hotel chain and I couldn't be happier. I had never been to Edmonton before and I remember my mom, knowing how much I love to travel, casually saying to me one day, “I never knew Edmonton was a place you wanted to see.” And it wasn't. I mean, I don't think Edmonton is on many bucket lists out there but I felt like I just couldn't pass up this job opportunity. I'd be putting my Accounting degree to use and had the chance to work in an industry I was really excited about. I was ready to focus on my career and nothing else.
At least that was the plan.
Technically Fel and Wes met online but not how most couples do. A week into my time in Edmonton (one week!), my whole focus-only-on-your-career-and-nothing-else plan went out the window the day I found Wes' ad online. Wes had also recently moved to Edmonton for a job opportunity and was looking for someone to take over his lease at an apartment he has eager to get out of. While I was looking for an apartment to rent, I stumbled across his ad and called to set up a time to meet. We met at the apartment a few days later and everything clicked - everything except the apartment. I didn't end up renting his place but we kept in touch and he was able to get someone else to take over his lease. Since neither of us had friends or family in Edmonton, it was nice to share the 'living away from home' experience and the 'what the heck is there to do in Edmonton' experience together.
During our first year of dating, we went on road trips in Alberta, learned how to snowboard together and flew out to meet each others' families. Wes introduced me to Netflix and I introduced him to Spanish. He was eager to speak a second language and was learning a new word each day. There was the time we attempted to meal prep for the week and instead made 4 pizzas. And the time Wes came home with a 'great find' from the flea market that led to weeks of putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. The late night hours spent in Emergency which is a story for another day. Movie and bingo date nights. It was a good year.
When my lease was up the following spring, it made sense to move into together. We found an apartment that we could call our own and the memories continued. This is where we had our Friday night ritual of dinner and drinks at the pub around the corner from our new place and we'd dream up ideas of what to do with our lives.
Quitting Our Jobs
Because we were both so career-driven in Edmonton, we were working hard and our weeks were long. Wes was often out the door by 6 am, six days a week and always working overtime. It was common for me to stay at the hotel until dark and go in on weekends during our month-end closing operations. I accepted a great promotion and was on track for the career path I was "supposed" to be on. We were putting in so many hours but it almost felt normal since this why we had both come to Edmonton: to work. We were each saving quite well but it became obvious that neither of us could see a future in Edmonton. Don't get me wrong, I grew to love the city and made amazing friends along the way. I won't miss the -30 winters but I do have a soft spot for Edmonton after having lived there. Anyways, I hate to sound like a spoiled millennial but we were tired of 12 hour days and needed a change. It wasn't an easy decision but we each gave our notice in the fall and started planning for our first trip.
Our First Time Abroad
Most couples like to ease into their first travel experience by taking small vacations here and there to get a feel for what it's like together. And that makes total sense. But instead, Wes and I went all in. For our first trip overseas, we would go backpacking through Europe. In the middle of winter. When neither of us had ever backpacked before. Forget two weeks, we were packing for two months and ended up enjoying every minute of it. We learned a lot on our first trip abroad both about ourselves and about the type of travelling we enjoy. Our first of those two months was fully planned and we started in Geneva, crossed the Swiss Alps, spent a few days in Vienna before moving on to Hungary. We made a brief stop in Bratislava and by the time we got to Prague, we felt drained. The go, go, go way of travel was getting exhausting and we felt like we were ticking off things on a list that wasn't even ours. We felt some of the 'top sites' were overrated and we wanted to enjoy Europe's beautiful cities on our own terms.
When we got to Germany, we switched gears and ditched the schedule. We spent about ten days in Bavaria and enjoyed exploring all these little towns in the region. Suddenly, with no set schedule we had more freedom. And in the small village of Rothenbuch, with less than 2,000 people, we had our first taste of living like a local (dog included!). We were staying with family friends and I remember one night sitting at the dinner table with our hosts trying to decide where we should go the following day. They were gracious enough to lend us their car and we pulled out the map to see which picture-perfect Bavarian town we could visit next. That's when I noticed the photo. We were using this calendar that I got from my dad's store to plan out our trip and the month of March had a photo of a place called Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Then our host told us it was less than two hours away and would make for the perfect day trip from where we were staying. Neither of us had ever heard of Rothenburg before but we took it as a sign and hit the road. It's a really charming town and I think we had so much fun because we went in blind not knowing what the tourist attractions were or what we were 'supposed' to be doing there.
Looking back, that week in Bavaria is probably what sparked our plan to travel more spontaneously. We would focus less on the hot spots, must-dos, crowded sites and long lines and instead enjoy our time wherever we were in the world, doing whatever we wanted to do. We wanted to have more fun while spending less money which are two things that are still at the root of Feather and the Wind. With this new impulsive outlook, we skipped Belgium entirely and opted for a few days in Marrakech before flying back to our last city, Paris.
Even though we weren't vlogging back then, I wouldn't change a thing about those two months backpacking. We grew so much as travellers and learned a lot about our likes and dislikes on the road. Our time in Europe was also really memorable because I witnessed Wes experience so many 'firsts'. Like his first hostel experience in Geneva, his first espresso ever in Budapest, his first time driving on the autobahn and his first visit to his father's hometown in Hungary. And, after having this travel bug in me for so long, I was equally delighted with my first taste of long-term travel. I remember writing postcards at a cafe in Montmartre, walking in the Swiss Alps as fresh snow was falling, being so graciously greeted in Morocco and discovering the foods of Central Europe as if I had just opened a secret treasure chest of comfort.
The Story behind Feather and the Wind
After those two months in Europe, we came back to Canada knowing that was just the beginning of a new lifestyle for us. We hadn't quite figured out a plan (heck, we still don't know where we're going half the time) but we knew we wanted to at least give it a try. The months that followed included my champagne birthday celebration in Toronto, a cross-Canada camping trip and time spent working in BC while saving up for the next backpacking trip. We knew we needed an outlet to share this love for travel and so came the idea for our travel blog.
When we were first brainstorming ideas for our blog name, we wanted to make sure it was a name that would work through the years, regardless of where this journey takes us. So we opted to avoid words that had anything to do with backpacking, wanderlust, vagabonds and other overused, travel-related words. We wanted a name that spoke to Fel and Wes and no one else. I actually remember sitting at a makeshift desk in his mom’s basement writing out a list. One column listed things that started with F and the other had words that started with W. I wish I still had that list actually because I can’t really remember how we narrowed it down to the words feather and wind.
If you haven’t picked up on it, I’m the feather and Wes is the wind. I like to take my sweet time with everything and am incredibly indecisive. I’ve always had this incessant urge to travel but never really did anything about it. Sure, I did my fair share of solo travelling before I met Wes but I was still that girl pretending to want to be an accountant sitting at a desk and dreaming about where to go next. Wes on the other hand is a get-things-done kind of guy. He’s quick to come up with a plan of action and he goes for it. You’re also not going to find him in one place for too long before his restlessness gets the best of him. So whenever he saw me reading other people’s blogs or watching other travel videos, his reaction was something like, “If that’s what you want to do, let’s do that.” So practical, right? And, well... that’s how this whole thing came to be!
Without the wind, the feather would go nowhere. Without the feather, the wind wouldn't be travelling.
Another thing I love about the name Feather and the Wind has to do with the final scene in Forrest Gump. The movie ends with a feather floating in the wind and I actually didn’t know about the symbolism until just last week when Wes’ uncle brought it up. More on that at the beginning and end of this clip (the middle is all CGI stuff).
YouTube and Travel Vlogging
This brings us to December of 2015 when we were headed to Mexico on a 6 month journey from Cabo all the way to Cancun. Somewhere in the middle of our time in Mexico, we spontaneously picked up our camera and filmed a video of us eating Mexican street food in Guanajuato. We cringe at the thought of watching our old videos but I'm glad we started when we did. To this day, the colourful city of Guanajuato holds a special place in our hearts because it's where we started our travel vlogging journey and developed a passion for capturing our travels through video. Since then, our YouTube channel has grown to over 10,000 subscribers and we've somehow built this global community of amazing people that we can call our friends.
Through editing those little travel videos, Wes developed an interest in videography and has taught himself everything he knows about video. He made a point to practice a new skill every day and is now freelancing and getting paid to do something he enjoys. It's inspiring really, to watch someone develop a passion for something and excel in it. He went from editing in iMovie to Final Cut Pro X to Premiere Pro which is what he uses to edit our videos now. He has edited over 100 travel vlogs on our channel and countless other videos for clients. For anyone looking to get into video (or develop a similar skill for working remotely), I hope his journey inspires you to give it a try. You don't need to go to film school or have fancy equipment to get started. If you're eager and willing to learn, you'll find everything you need online. I often say, "where there's a Wes there's a way" and his determination still motivates me every day.
So there you have it. A long story of how we met and why we went for “Feather and the Wind”. I have yet to master the short and sweet version of this so extra hugs to you if you made it to the end. It’s kind of funny though. Writing this I realize I’m still just a girl, sitting at a desk and dreaming about where to go next. Except this time I actually will go. And I won’t be going alone.
Also, this week we celebrated our anniversary. Fel and Wes went on their first date four years ago. Here's to many more adventures around the world. ❤️