Erin McNeaney

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It was our 13th anniversary on Sunday. We’re not actually married and—barring some stringent immigration requirement somewhere in the world—we don’t actually plan on being, so we celebrate the date we officially started going out.

This isn’t that well known. Erin is a very private person.

Which is why she’s going to hate this.

Erin Elizabeth McNeaney is a reality-bending powerhouse, and she always has been. Before we left, she was working at Community Arts Northwest where she co-ordinated one of the biggest community festivals in Manchester—the Exodus festival—drawing in crowds of over 10,000 people. This free event was more professional and better run than some paid festivals and everyone, from the workers to the performers, loved it.

But you wouldn’t know it to talk to her.

She is modest and self-effacing. Polite and quiet. She hates public speaking (though that hasn’t stopped her doing it when duty calls) and doesn’t like to brag.

Flowery artists and Ideas Guys are everywhere. They’re the “I’m just waiting for my big break” folks. You can’t swing a cat without being scratched to death hitting someone who has some grand artistic vision or great business idea.

The Erins of the world, though, are a much rarer breed.

They don’t wait for their Big Breaks. They just start breaking. Every dream she has had, she has made happen.

Erin looks at her ambitions (and mine, for that matter), figures out a rough direction, and starts walking the path, one step at a time.

We sold up everything we owned because of her.

We’ve been to some of the most exciting and exotic destinations in the world because of her.

We’ve had some crazy, life-changing experiences because of her.

And this website is happening because of her.

According to Steve Jobs, “real artists ship”. Erin does the majority of the writing for the site. She set a schedule and she has missed maybe 2 posts on this blog in 2 and a half years.

She delivers. Quietly and consistently; without bravado or any desire for glory. She is humble and dedicated. She doesn’t claim to be a writer, but I know self-proclaimed writers (often proclaiming very loudly) that haven’t published half the words that she has.

Erin is the very definition of the word—someone who writes.

She has shot tens of thousands of photographs and spent thousands of hours working on her art, but she would never call herself a photographer, let alone an artist.

The only concession to titles is that she will call herself a Travel Blogger, and in doing so she raises the standard of the name.

Almost every day I have a moment where I chuckle to myself about how crazy fun my life is (getting a few strange looks into the bargain). I’m often astonished at where I’ve ended up, and it’s almost entirely down to Erin.

I love her. And I am so immensely proud, humbled, and honoured to be living such an amazing life with such an amazing person.