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Jonathan and Kach take in the view while traveling around Laos by motorbike. (Photo: Kach Medina)
Who: Jonathan Howe and Kach Medina
Where: Luang Prabang, Laos
When: May 2013
Relationship Status: Engaged
(As told to Brittany Jones-Cooper)
I was living a pretty normal life in the U.K. I went to University and got a job like I was supposed to. But no matter where I moved or where I worked, I felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere — I felt stuck. I had been talking about traveling since I was 18, and at 27, I realized that it was now or never.
I didn’t want go on a short trip just to come back home. I wanted to travel long-term. So I quit my job, packed up my stuff, and said goodbye to my friends and family.
I started my journey in Southeast Asia and traveled to Cambodia before meeting up with some friends from the U.K. in Bangkok. We heard good things about Laos, so we hopped on some motorbikes and headed north.
That’s where I met Kach.
We were at a bar filled with backpackers, and she immediately caught my eye. I thought she was beautiful, and she was also the loudest one in the place! We started talking, and I learned that she had almost drown that day while swimming in the Kuang Si Falls. No wonder she needed a drink!
The first ever photo of Jonathan and Cach in Luang Prabang, Laos. (Photo: Kach Medina)
During our initial conversation, Kach told me she was born and raised in the Philippines, but had been working in Kuwait and Dubai. Like me, she had just quit her job, left the Middle East, and was now backpacking around Asia.
There was something special about this girl, so I asked if she wanted to join me and my friends on a motorbike tour. Lucky for me, she said yes, and we spent the next few days riding through the mountains of Laos and visiting different waterfalls. It was amazing.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and after a few days we went our separate ways. Kach was on her way to Thailand for a month-long yoga course, and I was headed to Hanoi, Vietnam to start teaching English.
The couple snorkeling in the Maldives. (Photo: Kach Medina)
When I got to Hanoi, I rented a house with a few guys and got into the routine of teaching English. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Kach. We kept in touch through Facebook for a few months, and eventually I convinced her to come to Hanoi for a visit.
She asked how long she should stay, and I told her to just book a one-way ticket and we would play things by year. We had the best time riding around and exploring Hanoi by motorbike.
Apparently we lost track of time, because a trip that was supposed to last two weeks lasted seven months.
We liked being around each other, so we figured that we might as well go traveling together. During those seven months in Hanoi, we saved up plenty of money teaching English and buying and selling motorbikes. As we prepped for our next adventure together, we started our blog Two Monkeys Travel the World to document our travels.
We traveled to India in 2014, and in addition to teaching yoga, we got trained as Ayurvedic massage therapists. Essentially, we wanted to learn as many skills as possible so that we could always earn money while on the road.
Hitchhiking in Peru. (Photo: Kach Medina)
After a few months there, we spent a week in the Maldives on the cheap. We found affordable flights from India, we were able to stay for less than $200 a night at a local-run guest house. The water in the Maldives was some of the clearest I’ve ever seen.
Then we hopped on a plane and went to Peru where we spent six months exploring, teaching English, and giving massages. Up next was Bolivia, and I’ll never forget our adventures in Chile where we hitchhiked down the Carretera Austral.
Earlier this year, we lived in Costa Rica for three months working at a hostel near the beach in Manuel Antonia. In addition to surfing frequently, we also bought a car for one-thousand dollars and drove it all around the country. We went from the Pacific side, up to the mountains, and around to the Caribbean side.
Kach had to wait a few days to post their engagement news because there was no Wi-Fi on the San Blas islands! (Photo: Kach Medina)
We took a boat from Costa Rica to Panama, and along the way, we stopped at the San Blas Islands — a group of small, isolated islands where there is no one around expect for the local Kuna tribe. One evening, we took a dinghy from the boat to an island and I asked Kach to go for a walk with me. At first she refused because she was tired, but I finally convinced her to go for a stroll. In this beautiful and exotic place, I asked Kach to marry me. She, of course, said yes!
Now we are in the midst of planning one of our biggest trips to date — Antartica! It’s been a lifelong dream of Kach’s to visit the continent, and I’m excited that we’ll get to experience it together.
After that trip, we plan to visit Venezuela, Suriname, and Guyana before heading to the Philippines to get married in August of 2016. It will be my first time visiting Kach’s home, and I can’t wait to see the islands through her eyes.
I’ve always been a guy with a lot of ideas, and my friends could never predict what I was going to do next. But by finding Kach, and letting our love grow while traveling around the world, this time I’ve even surprised myself.