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Fate, it Seemed

In May of 2014 Lowell Bennett was about to wrap up an extended stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A few days before he hopped a flight to Luang Prabang, Laos, Yvette Landman flew into Chiang Mai, arriving via Kuala Lumpur from Langkawi Island, Malaysia.  In Chiang Mai they may have passed on the street, but did not meet. A few days after Yvette arrived in Chiang Mai Lowell flew to Luang Prabang (LP).


[Video Slideshows: Langkawi IslandNorthern ThailandLuang Prabang]


A day later Yvette took a boat, arriving LP two days after Lowell. Both for several days in this very small town along the Mekong River, they most certainly must have come close, but did not meet.


Wrapping up a week in LP Lowell flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia. After two days of touring and shooting photos, on the evening of May 22 he caught a tuk-tuk to the center of town and happened into a small cafe and cocktail house popular with expats.


Yvette, having caught the same flight to Siem Reap from LP two days after Lowell, was across the street at her hotel, tired after a hot day touring the ancient temples. She was on the verge of calling it an early night, getting some sleep, but at the last minute she felt the urge to get out, maybe grab a glass of wine. Moments later Yvette Landman walked into the cafe and met Lowell Bennett. When they first locked eyes, he would later say: "It was like jolt of electricity went down my spine."


[Video Slideshows: Ancient Siem Reap, Siem Reap at Night, Phnom Phen]


A day later they reluctantly parted company, Yvette proceeding as planned, with bus ticket in hand and hotel reservations already made along the southerly coast of Cambodia. Lowell remained in Siem Reap for two additional days, touring, shooting photos, working at his laptop and plotting out a return visit to the US. In the end, rather than stick to his original plan and fly from Siem Reap, he opted to catch a minibus to Phnom Phen, spend two days there then fly to the US.


Plans set and tickets booked, Lowell dropped a note to Yvette, asking where she was heading after the beaches and islands of Cambodia. She replied that in two days she would be on her way to Phnom Phen, there to catch a flight back to Holland.


And so they had another day and a half before Lowell had to make his US flight. This parting was carried out with more reluctance than the first.


A month later Lowell was on a flight to Amsterdam. The following three months he was with Yvette in Holland, maxing out his allowed visa stay. The day came for another flight to the US and the reluctance to part this time was, for both, extreme. A month later it would be Yvette on a flight, on her way to meet Lowell in the US. After two weeks along the Gulf Coast of Florida came another separation and an ensuing 94-day long distance relationship. It held.


[Video Slideshow: Amsterdam]


On Christmas Eve of 2014, after three months apart, Yvette returned to the US. She had resigned from her job and stored her things. Ten days later the two were on their way to Central America, loaded down with dive gear, computers, camera equipment and not much in the way of formal clothing.


They traveled a bit in Costa Rica, crossed the northern border and settled in Nicaragua for a few  months, mainly in the historic colonial town of Granada, with substantial time also spent driving the mountainous backroads and residing in a beach house along the Pacific coast.


After a while, though, both were ready for a change from the parched and dusty landscape of Nicaragua. They headed south. And the further they headed south the greener and more lush the land became. Finally, they settled in Puerto Viejo, along Costa Rica’s very colorful (and character rich) Caribbean coast.


Here they reside, meeting new friends while looking to new experiences, new ventures and a future together.

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