Travis and Julie are one of a kind. I don’t think I’ve ever met a couple whose intimacy breeds inclusivity the way theirs does. Julie and Travis fell in love in Thailand years ago, and just a few months ago returned to the place their hearts first embraced to exchange their vows. They’ve travelled the world, pushed through 2 years of long distance, and have loved each other, Jesus, and those around them radically in the process.
Q: How did you two meet?
THEM: We both decided to take a gap year before college and go on a 9 month long mission trip with Adventures in Missions going to Nicaragua, Thailand, and Kenya. We met on the first night of training camp, sitting right across from each other at dinner, and became good friends from then on.
Q: What’s the most impacting memory you two have with each other?
HIM: Four days into our honeymoon we were in Pai, Thailand and got awful food poisoning. We both needed taken care of, but we both felt terrible. We took turns throughout the night singing to each other, praying for each other, and scratching each others backs. A few days later I woke up to Julie with the sudden realization that she is my family now. I said, “You’re my family” over and over again with tears coming to my eyes.
Q: When did you first know you were in love?
THEM: We started developing a love for each other toward the end of our time in Thailand. For first two months we were in Chiang Mai together, but for our last month all of the guys on our team went to Burma and the girls to Phuket, Thailand. Our friendship had grown so much while we were in Chiang Mai, and before parted ways for the next month, we both knew that we were both in love.
Q: How did he propose?
HER: I thought we were just going out to California to visit Blake and help her move back to Arkansas. We had an awesome week on Newport Beach and as we left to go to San Diego, we made a surprise stop to Salvation Mountain, a beautiful place Travis and I had been wanting to go to for a while that we found out about in one of our favorite movies- Into the Wild. Even when we got there I had no idea he was planning on proposing, and then he pulled me around the corner, took off my sunglasses, said some beautiful things, and proposed. It was still to this day the most joyful moment of my life, we couldn’t stop laughing or crying or smiling.
Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from one another?
THEM: The biggest thing we have learned from each other is honesty with our own hearts. In our experience, a lot of people are quick to give advice, especially when it comes to relationships and marriage. Everyone has different opinions, and no two relationships are the same. But we’ve found that we’re much happier when following our hearts. And this is what led us to getting married in Thailand. We weighed the pros and cons of various times and places to get married and realized that we had to take our first step in deciding what kind of family we wanted to be–a family that listens to and follows their hearts.
Q: How has your relationship changed over the years? From traveling non stop together for 9 months, to 2 years long distance, to married?
THEM: Well all of those seasons we have been through being in a relationship together have been so drastically different. In each of them we have learned such different things. On the mission trip, community, friendship (with each other and others) was a huge focus, along with seeking God’s heart for people together. While doing long distance we learned a heck of a lot about communication, being present where we were, and about sacrifice. Not the burden or pain of sacrifice, but the joy- Sacrifice just feels like passion when you are in love. In marriage, we learn everyday the gift we have getting to be so close with another human. It is the most beautiful time of my life yet.
Q: What’s your favorite quality in each other?
HER: My favorite quality in Travis is his confidence in his own heart and his assuredness in who he is as Travis Harris, a son of God. He doesn’t walk in insecurity and brings freedom to everyone he meets.
HIM: One of my favorite qualities of Julie is her ability to see the best in people and her ease in making people feel known and most themselves.
Q: What is a word you feel that has marked your relationship & marriage thus far?
THEM: Fearlessness – we haven’t let the “what-if’s” keep us from going where we know Holy Spirit is leading us. From falling in love on a mission trip, to over 2 years of long distance dating, going on a ladyboy mission trip in Bangkok, to then getting married in Thailand right after, and now living in Atlanta in our little studio apartment.
Q: What does it mean to love?
HIM: To be present.
HER: To honor.
Q: What are some of your dreams for the future?
THEM: Going after the parts of God’s heart that are highlighted to us at the time, whether it be a specific country, people group, family member, business model, or creative project.
We realize that obedience to what Holy Spirit has put on our hearts is the number one way to enjoy life and that is our aim.
*All photos by Sterling Graves