Stephen is from Britain met his American educated Chinese partner in Venezuela. After a long-distance relationship, they now live in Beijing.
Stephen and riends having tea in Kashgar
Where are you from?
I’m originally from the south coast of England, but moved to London for university and stayed for work.
Hailan (Helen) is from Beijing, but attended school and university in Texas, and then went to work in New York.
Where and how did you meet?
I’d just taken voluntary redundancy from a city job in 2009 so set off to volunteer in Central America. I lived in Costa Rica for a couple of months, building houses with Habitat for Humanity. This was enough time to learn a bit of Spanish, so I travelled south to Colombia to start a circuit of Latin America.
I met Helen in Venezuela on Christmas Eve. We travelled together for a while, then went our separate ways (her to Antarctica, me to Easter Island) then met up again in Argentina.
She was just being posted back to China, so I followed along.