#RealTravel: This Couple Fell in Love After Meeting on an Indian Camel Safari

Yahoo TravelJune 13, 2014

Yahoo Travel profiles readers who came back from a trip with the best souvenir ever — true love. Got your own story? Tweet at us with the hashtag #YahooTravelLove.

Who: Travis Katz (CEO of Gogobot, an award-winning travel recommendations company) and Ingrid Katz (nurse and stay-at-home mom)

When: 1998

Where We Fell in Love: India

Relationship Status: Married with two kids

Ingrid and Travis Katz, when they met in Jaisalmer, India. 

(as told by Travis)

I quit my job at the World Bank and went on a 14-month solo trip around the world. I spent every penny I had managed to save up for that trip: $12,000 in 14 months.

Ingrid and I met in Jaisalmer, India. We had taken the same overnight bus and met briefly at the bus stand, looking at our guidebooks, trying to decide where to stay. She had an amazing smile and bright blue eyes. She had her hair cut short and had a really amazing energy about her. 

We ended up booking the same camel safari — a three-day ride through the sand dune deserts. Before the trip, Ingrid and I went turban shopping together (she got the hot pink, two meters; I went classic white, three meters). Then off to the desert. 

A camel safari in Jaisalmer. (Photo: Thinkstock)

The safari itself was pretty platonic. My camel was faster than hers, so I liked showing off a bit, galloping by side saddle in my white turban, leaving her in the dust. At night we hung out around the campfire, and I played guitar while drinking whiskey with the others. We camped on the sand dunes beneath the stars, but we slept on separate sand dunes, me next to another American guy I had been traveling with: the artist Ian Ingram. She shared her sand dune with a mousey Australian who was studying the health benefits of auto-urine therapy. Close enough that we could yell over to each other but not whisper.  

We traveled together south to Udaipur and spent another week together on the lake. Then we parted ways — she to southern india, me to trek the Annapurna circuit for a month in Nepal. We exchanged emails and assumed we’d never see each other again. Instead, five weeks later, I missed my flight and got stuck in Kathmandu for a few days. We bumped into each other randomly on the street there and had a few fun days together.

Kathmandu. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Then we said goodbye for real and didn’t see each other for four years, when I got sent to Austria for work. I dug up her email and we ended up meeting in a snowy Salzburg during the Christmas season.

We did long distance for a year (San Francisco to Salzburg) and decided to meet up in the middle a few times (once in the Bahamas, once at a hotel on Central Park in New York). Finally, we decided that since I didn’t speak German she would move to America to give it a go.

Her work visa kept getting delayed, and just when she was about to get deported, we decided to do a last-minute trip to Vegas and got secretly married at the drive-through wedding chapel. Didn’t tell anyone, including our families. We got married for real the next year in Salzburg.

Now we have two bilingual kids and have lived in L.A., London, Maui, and Menlo Park (my son was born in Maui). We brought our daughter to Japan when she was 3 months old (she’s 7 and has been to 13 countries). We’re hoping to infuse a love of travel in their lives, too.

The Katz Family in Croatia.