Travis & Liz met at a Veg Speed Date event in Berkeley, back in 2011. Now they’re married and have started a family with an adorable daughter. Read on for their heartwarming story, and be sure to sign up for a Veg Speed Date event near you to create your own love story!
VSD: So, when did you two meet?
Liz: The Veg Speed Date event was in a café in Berkeley in July of 2011, I think? I DON’T FREAKIN REMEMBER THIS, TRAVISSSSSSSS.
Travis: It was August 2, 2011 in the back room of Saturn Café—vegan/vegetarian/”veg-curious” speed dating, aka “Veg Speed Date.”
VSD: Ha! Well done, Travis! Had either of you ever gone to a speed dating event before?
Liz: No. Never. I was midway through what I was calling “The Year of Yes,” so I had no other choice but to go.
Travis: Once, many years prior, I stumbled into one on accident, but nothing much came of it. When I saw the 2011 event was happening, a couple of friends encouraged me to attend for, if nothing else, a good story. I recall parking across the street and contemplating if I should actually go in. So glad I did!
VSD: How long have you been vegan or vegetarian?
Liz: I’ve been vegetarian for 14 years (since reading Diet for a New America in 2003) and vegan for 9 years.
Travis: I almost never ate dairy or seafood and gave up red meat and pork in 2000. I ceased eating poultry after Thanksgiving one year—maybe 2006 or 2007—and went vegan at that point. So it’s been about a decade.
VSD: Awesome! So, do you think you would have met if you hadn’t gone to the Veg Speed Date event?
Liz: We like to hypothesize on this one late at night. We had a fair amount of geographic overlap. We lived four blocks away from each other in San Francisco, shopped at the same grocery store, and ran regularly in the same park. We even took the same cooking class (with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!) in Oakland, albeit at different times. I think there was enough magnetism between us that sooner or later one of us (probably me – he’s the shy one) would have sauntered over to the other to make an introduction.
Travis: Maybe. Coincidently, while me met on the other side of the Bay Area in Berkeley, we lived only a few blocks away from each other in San Francisco. I’d like to think that we’d have stumbled across each other somehow, but who knows? Definitely no guarantee.
VSD: What was your first impression of the other person at the event? When did you first notice them?
Liz: I didn’t really see him until we had our three minute mini-date. He was in business casual clothing, and that was a red flag for me. But as he spoke, I kept noticing the cut of his jaw and how well he made eye contact. We were exactly midway through the event, and I think I’d become… more direct as a result of the repetitious questionings. He handled my playful sass with such a warm genuine smile and returned it in kind. It became clear pretty quickly that we had a strong verbal chemistry, which was important to me.
Travis: When I sat down, Liz was wearing a sleeveless shirt, exposing a tattoo on her upper arm. I asked her about it. She said it was a long story and didn’t want to talk about it. She asked about my occupation. I told her I work in baseball, but didn’t want to talk about it. Honestly, we struggled for the first two-and-a-half minutes. Then we started discussing our similar degrees and family lives and the conversation took off.
VSD: What was something memorable from your mini-date at the event?
Liz: Serendipitously, the half-time break fell right after our three minutes were up. While people snacked and mingled and took bathroom breaks for the next ten minutes, Travis and I stayed put and just kept talking. The time flew by. Yes, I know that’s cheating, but can you blame us?
Travis: At the three minute mark, just as we hit our stride, the bell rang to move. But it was time for a break—restroom, drink, whatever. We continued to talk for another ten minutes or so. That actually made a big difference and set up a lot of our future email correspondence until we met again.
VSD: How did you do your follow-up afterwards?
Liz: He was travelling when I first emailed him, but it kicked off a rather obsessive back-and-forth emailing that lasted almost a week. When we finally met again, it was for a drink at a bar in our neighborhood. He showed up with a jar of his family’s home-grown tomato sauce and we talked for hours until he walked me home. The next date (at a local jazz bar a week later) lasted three days. There was no question after that that we’d be together.
Travis: I hung around for a few minutes after the Veg Speed Date event to say goodbye, but Liz was still sitting in her seat talking to a guy (turns out it was a friend that she’d attended the event with). After that, we connected via email and kept the conversation going. I was on vacation across the country. I’d come in from the beach hoping to have a new email, and there it would be—our conversations made it a great week! When I got back to San Francisco, we met at a neighborhood bar. I brought her homemade tomato sauce that I’d helped jar from my parent’s garden. Conversation was easy, we spoke open and honestly, and it was a really nice night. I walked her home. Arriving outside Liz’s building she said, “Am I supposed to invite you in or something?” I laughed and told her she didn’t have to. We met up a few days later and have been inseparable ever since.
VSD: What’s the best thing about your relationship?
Liz: We’re raising this fierce, fearless, amazing daughter together, and Travis is utterly devoted to showing her that she can be anything she wants to be. It’s a constant juggle with our careers and school and doctor appointments (and bath/meal/bed times), but I can honestly say that we’re doing it all together every step of the way. I’m incredibly lucky to have found him.
Travis: We can completely be ourselves. There are no games. No secrets. We support each other, listen, and do a great job of growing together. We’ve made great strides together and a lot of huge life decisions, but none of it has seemed overwhelming. We laugh at lot, or at least I try to make her laugh. I love Liz and respect her tremendously.
VSD: What are the top three things you love about your partner?
(1) He’s genuinely interested in other people’s stories. He’s kind and compassionate.
(2) He’s comfortable in his own skin. His humor style is creative and wacky and often self-effacing in a totally charming way that makes it hard to stay cranky.
(3) He’s affectionate. With words, with hugs, with big romantic gestures. He takes the time to sit with me at the end of every day and reconnect. I feel like as a result, it’s harder to take each other for granted in the everyday crush of things. And I genuinely look forward to seeing him every night. Still!
1) She’s fierce. She’s taught me a lot about asking for what you need. To stand up for yourself. I see that in her all the time.
2) She’s grown. Buying a house, having a child – those things were outside Liz’s comfort zone. It would be easy for anyone to shut down, hold steady, or walk away. Liz gave these things a lot of thought and trusted our union enough to take chances. And it’s strengthened us and made our lives infinitely more enjoyable.
3) She’s genuine. Liz is wholly herself all of the time. She laughs hard at things that amuse her and stays stoic when I tell a really lame joke. She loves tackling and playing with our daughter and loves time to sit with a cat and look out the window. I couldn’t ask for a better love and best friend. Sometimes we look at all we’ve done and where we’re at in life and, without any context, simply say, “Veg Speed Date.”
VSD: So, I hear congratulations are in order! When did you get married? Also, what were some of your favorite things about your wedding?
Liz: I would say that my favorite things about my wedding is that it reinforced to me that our Big Life Priorities (saving for a house, starting a family) were aligned. I didn’t have to talk him down from spending too much money on a lavish ceremony. He never asked me to make a sacrifice to please his extended family or their expectations. We just knew, and the basis for that seemed to be a mutual respect for each other. He never seemed to view my no-frills approach to it as a lack of commitment to our life together. That said, someday, when we’re done raising this high-energy child, we are going to take a KICK BUTT honeymoon. Or else!
Travis: I’d definitely like to stress that we didn’t have a fancy wedding at all. We were saving to buy a house, which is a significant investment in the Bay Area, and while we kicked around a few smaller ideas they came with all sorts of familial expectations. So we decided to do it at the courthouse in Oakland with only a couple days prep – and only my parents in attendance – the day before Thanksgiving 2014. We haven’t regretted it as we’ve built a happy, healthy life in our home.