The story Clara Bensen originally posted on Salon was mostly about her and Jeff's trip around the world, but The Expeditioner correctly guessed that we were hankering for more details on the relationship behind it all. Bensen opened up on the subject, and of course, it's every bit as whimsical as you'd expect.
For the record, they had met before they embarked on the trip together. This is how it happened, if you can believe it: "The first time Jeff and I arranged to meet in person, he gave me a set of geographical coordinates and told me to meet him at exactly 7:52 p.m. The coordinates turned out to be a blue-tiled star right under the giant marble dome of the Texas State Capitol building. 7:52 p.m. was sunset. The word “subtle” has never been in his vocabulary."
Seriously, someone needs to make this into a movie right now. Immediately. We might just close down operations at R29 and turn the place into a movie studio just for this — that's how intensely rom-com-able it is. Of course, that's not all there is to it. While she admits that the draw to the story was largely the OkCupid hook, for Bensen, the reasoning behind their adventure was really to explore their relationship with material possessions. "Some commenters have pointed out that millions of people in the world live with very few belongings and it was no big achievement for us to have gone luggage-less for a few weeks. That is a completely valid point and we wouldn’t deny it," she explains. "Still, as an American living in a culture that places a high value on consumption and accumulating stuff, it felt personally meaningful to explore my dependency on physical belongings within the context of travel." No kidding. As the saying goes, it's a lot easier to form a habit than it is to break one, and luxuriating in piles of mostly useless stuff is something many of us are all too guilty of.
This interview is every bit as worth reading as the original article, so please, do check it out. Oh, and in case you're wondering what happened to that green dress? "I haven’t worn the green dress since the last day of the experiment. It’s hanging in my closet as the only souvenir I brought back from the trip." (The Expeditioner)