How We Ended Up Here


Posted by Tabitha Yeasley

A song came on the radio the other day, “Maybe I’m better off alone.” It was just background noise, but I couldn’t help but think that I don’t believe that, that anyone is really better off alone. I think maybe if you feel that, maybe you just haven’t found the right person. That person who believes in you more than you do. That person who makes you happier than you’ve ever been to be alive, and more scared of not being so than you ever thought you would. 

We met at a happy hour in the Fall of 2015. Not long after, we were at his favorite Portland bar, sitting under a map of the world on the wall, when Michael told me he wanted to spend a year traveling abroad. In those early days of our relationship, I convinced him that we should travel together. I lived alone in a somewhat expensive neighborhood and I knew I needed to save money if that was going to happen. That was one of the biggest reasons why after only six months of knowing each other, we made the decision to move into an apartment together. What was practical to us may have seemed a little crazy to others, but we spent the next six months of our short term lease saving and confirming that we really liked being around each other. In May 2016, my dad got sick. And he nearly died. And we came home from the hospital and realized it was time to stop talking about the life we wanted, and to start living it.  

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If you’ve followed along on our story you’ve heard some of this before. But what you may not know is that finding Matador was one of the happiest accidents of my life. Of our life. I can’t really call it just my own anymore. 

We wanted sponsors for our first long term international travel adventure. Michael was just starting his career in film, and he had the idea of making videos while we traveled to help fund our trip. I told my friends at my job about what our plans were, and one of my coworkers suggested we look up something called Matador Networks, a site with a lot of travel videography. I googled “Matador” and clicked on Matadorup.com. Not the Matador Networks she was talking about, but as I scrolled through the page I thought, “No, this is even better.” So I sent an email. The first of several of its kind to potential sponsors, but for some reason, this one stuck. 

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Now I know first-hand that they get a ton of emails like this. Maybe it was perfect timing, but I guess we just got lucky that we actually sparked their attention. So the conversation began and we agreed: we would take Matador’s gear with us to Europe and produce their product videos while we traveled, in exchange for some monetary support. We became some of the first Matador Brand Ambassadors. We had no idea how small the brand was at the time. We had no idea how fast they were growing.

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And we had no idea that that would be the email that eventually led us here, to Boulder. When we got back from Europe in January 2017, we kept the relationship going and continued to make videos for Matador. We loved their products, and we loved making videos together. Cut to that summer, late July. Michael took a road trip, and visiting Matador at the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah was a priority stop. This happens to be the same trade show that they were attending when they received my email a year earlier. Michael mentioned my operations background, that we weren’t necessarily tied to Portland, and that Boulder seemed like a great place. They mentioned they were looking for another person to add to their team. 

The next week, it was my turn to receive an email. I asked my questions via phone and email and the next thing I knew we were flying out to Boulder to visit. I went through the interview process. We explored the town and the mountains nearby. We went back to Portland. I got the job offer. I accepted. We moved. And here we are. Now I’m answering those emails. And we’re slowly but surely making new friends, and finding our place here. And the truth is, it’s not always easy, there are still growing pains, but we’re not doing it alone. Because at the end of the day, as long as we’re together, I’m always home.

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It still blows me away that sending an email can change the course of your life this much. And then I look at Michael and think, hell, it blows me away that a happy hour can change the course of your life this much. But you just never know. 

Because you make all these plans, and you have all these dreams, but you’re never really quite prepared for what life throws your way. So if you’re wondering if you should, you probably should. Talk to that stranger. Make that call. Accept the invitation. Actually go. Write the words, build the new thing, stand up and do what you’ve always wanted even though it scares the hell out of you. Send that email. Share it with someone, anyone, because none of us were meant to be alone. 

I promise you’ll be better off.