Picture this: You have an awesome first date, and sparks are definitely flying. But very quickly into your budding romance, one of you gets the opportunity of a lifetime in the form of a trip around the world to work remotely. The catch? It lasts for a full year.
For Becca Siegel and Dan Gold, both 28, that’s exactly what happened when a chance match on Bumble resulted in a long-distance relationship across many oceans. When they started dating, Siegel told Dan that studying and working abroad in Hong Kong and Shanghai was the best choice she ever made, opening up her worldview and turning her into a lifelong traveler. So when Dan confessed he was accepted into Remote Year, a program that helps professionals take their careers to 12 countries over 12 months, Becca only had two words of advice for her new boyfriend: “Do it.”
As a way to stay connected while Dan travels and Becca remained in New York City, where they first fell in love, the two came up with an idea to combine their story and their shared passion for photography and travel: Half-Half Travel. As an Instagram account and website depicting two very different perspectives that mesh together — kind of like a couple of soul mates, you might say — they’ve gathered a following and created some eye-catching images. While he’s overlooking the sea in Lisbon, Portugal, she’s doing the same on a solo trip to Guatape, Colombia, or when he’s crossing the street in Prague, she’s doing the same in New York.
Here, they tell Jet Set about their adventure — both together and apart, on and offline:
On what inspired their creative project
It was never a question if they should break up or continue their relationship when Dan packed his bags for Remote Year. Since they both actively used their passports, they knew distance wasn’t an issue, while staying grounded and missing out on this grand opportunity would be a choice Dan would later regret. The idea of depicting their two separate experiences was actually a random fluke. “After stitching together a photo of our two cups of coffee, mine in Manhattan and Dan’s in London, and receiving a great response from my friends on my personal Instagram account, we decided to make more images and start the account,” Becca says.
On their favorite trip together
Since Dan left in May of 2016, they’ve only been able to see one another four times, but luckily, most of those reunions have been in various countries — Portugal, Spain, and Colombia — making for memory-making experiences. “We have are two favorites: road tripping around Portugal from Lisbon to the villages of the Alentejo, and down to the southern Algarve coast. Everything was beautiful, and Portugal is so laid back and full of culture! The second is backpacking in the coffee region of Colombia and hiking through the Valle de Cocora, home to the world’s tallest palm trees. The long bus rides to and from Medellin to Salento were worth every minute,” she says.
On how they stay connected
Apart from their shared view behind the camera, to keep their relationship strong, Becca and Dan also rely on tech resources to break the barrier between time zones and distance. The use Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Facebook, and Facetime — and they also go old-fashioned romantic with postcards, too.
On their favorite post so far
Curious to which one they like the most? Becca and Dan say this one: “Our favorite post is the one with our backs facing the camera, with half taken in Montserrat, Spain, and the other in Jardin, Colombia. When I finished it, neither of us could believe it worked so well, and the reaction on Instagram was awesome!”
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