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A Special Person

It’s a beautiful life when you genuinely look to the guidance of your significant other. The last three years I have been fortunate enough to be dating a superhuman. The statement speaks for itself. Ryan Wix is undeniably a superhuman. He is kind, compassionate, strikingly intelligent, and full of surprises. His moral compass is unparalleled and his ability to achieve (*crush*) goals is awe-inspiring. He is confident and calm in all situations and can always drive successful outcomes. He shows gratitude and appreciation in all of his actions and fills in gaps where he sees opportunity. I’ve learned more than I thought possible and have found a match to challenge my ego. He teaches me in all situations and acts as an excellent guide. I appreciate and love him more and more everyday. In simple terms, I’ve become a much better person from knowing this kid.

In the past three years Ryan Wix has taught me a few of the following things:

  1. Learn to laugh out loud. You will never have enough opportunities to laugh out loud. Everything Ryan does he hopes to entertain those around him and give them a reason to laugh. Even when I don’t want to laugh or make fun of a situation, he can make me laugh uncontrollably. Look for these opportunities and share the gift of light heartedness.

  2. Don’t take things so seriously… It’s your choice to be happy. I am by default a very serious person and it has taken three years for Ryan to encourage me to let go of things. Stop sweating the small stuff and recognize your own personal worth. When you arrive upon these realizations the world, in cliche terms, becomes your oyster. Ryan is a tremendous role model, he seizes every opportunity to have the most fun and be the happiest version of himself.

  3. Faith can carry your worries. I’ve always been a spiritual person, but never quite religious or 'faithful.' Ryan has taught me a lot about how to have good faith in all types of situations. This past spring was a difficult time and early on Ryan advised me to transform my worries into faith because that is how he has learned to percivere through some of his difficult situations. It was immensely helpful. I developed a new trust with the universe and with my own personal religion. I never again feel alone and for this suggestion I am forever grateful.

  4. Making educated risks can drive results and happiness. Ryan is a risk taker and I am a self proclaimed worrier. He has shown me that some of the most epic things are rewarded by taking risks, but make sure you know what you’re doing before you get into them. Ryan has taught me the art of rationality and the ability of checking the quality in situations. "Verify and check" he will say. Some of my greatest risks have reaped the biggest rewards.

  5. How to change a flat tire and put snow chains on a van. It’s the little things in life, am I right? He is a handy person who can fix just about anything. He’s shown me quite a bit of real life skills that are useful. I helped him and his parents stain his cabin and learned a lot in the process. His engineer mentality is demonstrated through small repairs, like fixing a button on a pair of blue jeans to creating a fire pit ring out of spare turbine parts. He really couldn’t be more handy.

  6. Living out of a van is one of the most fulfilling things to do. Just do it. It's a mobile storage unit that allows you to sleep just about anywhere. Van life is in fact the best life. Kudos to the amazing places the van has driven thus far.

  7. Invest into your friendships. I admire this point a lot, Ryan has some of the best friends I’ve ever met. They’re all incredible people with great values and kindness. Two of my best friends I wouldn’t have met without Ryan (Hi Mikayla & Kara). He cares so much about all of his friendships and rightfully so. I am thankful for having met his people they are wonderful.

  8. How to properly defog a scuba mask. This is a harder task than anticipated, but I now know how to avoid a fogged up mask and how to dodge schools of stinging jelly fish.

  1. Your feet can carry you further than you think they can. With Ryan I have had some of my most adventurous moments that have tested my limits as a person. I am WAY tougher than I thought that I ever was. With the guidance of Ryan I have literally accomplished great distances and overall feats. The Routeburn Track in New Zealand we docked a 24 mile day, Avalanche Peak left me scurrying across the top on pin needle peak scared to death, and trekking into the Wave with a copied topo map and zero since of direction. He challenges me and helps me along in so many different ways.

  2. Pack more food than you think that you would want. I tend to eat my words. Even if he suggests a can of tuna, gladly accept to prevent fainting later. You will be hungrier then you think you will.

  3. You can be right and left brained. I still don’t understand this, but then again he is a superhuman, Ryan is both right and left brained. He can paint beautiful watercolors, learn to play guitar, and crunch and manipulate numbers. One of his very few faults is spelling, but we have autocorrect, so it isn’t even really a fault.

  4. Keens are ugly, but on the right person you can find them attractive? This one even surprises myself. Never would I have ever thought I would say this... On another note, it is absolutely okay for a couple to share matching hiking boots. We can both happily wear our Solomans together and enjoy the mutual love of ankle support.

  5. Quality over quantity. This might be something I have naturally learned as I have gotten older, but Ryan has helped me with understanding that less is not always more and to hang tight to the quality moments, things, and situations, you don't always know when they will come back around.

  6. How to smile and enjoy life. Ryan has taught me what it genuinely means to smile. He has brought a new happiness into my life I never thought possible.

  7. Generosity, Kindness, Appreciation & Respect. Ryan treats everyone with such incredible kindness and appreciation. He treats every walk of life with respect. One small example of this is his love of fish. When removing a fish hook he is so cautious and caring you would think he was removing it from a human's lip. Another example, is being courteous and leaving generous tips. This maybe confidential knowledge, but Ryan is a heck of a tipper, he shows so much respect for those in the service fields, and this has rubbed off on me immensely.

  8. Good Rhythm & How to Dance. I am not a good dancer. I am awkward, gangly, and lengthy, but Ryan has helped me with my rhythm and how to groove and dance. One of my first encounters in our early stages of knowing each other was swing dancing and getting tossed over his head. I am five foot nine and not designed to be flipped over the top of ones head. Lesson learned. Do not flip me over your head even if you're entirely capable of doing so. It will not end well.

  9. Acceptance. This is something I seldom talk about, but has been pivotal in my acceptance of life and the cards my family has been handed. Ryan lost his brother, whom I never was fortunate enough to meet, his name was Johnny. This loss happened before I even met Ryan, yet I think of him and remember him every single day. It's strange to feel so familiar with a person that you have never even met, but his love lives on through Ryan, and both his beautiful mother and father. These people are so full of kindness and love that they live by all of their memories of him. Their acceptance of the situation is one of the most inspiring things I have ever encountered. Johnny's memory is beautiful and special. The Wix family models strength everyday.

There are times I feel inadequate, but you see, Ryan Wix has four extra years on me. That’s four whole years of figuring things out in the best possible way. Ryan Wix is my boyfriend, my teacher, my friend, my hiking companion, van captain, and someone so trustworthy. I look up to this kid and cherish all of my time and memories invested in him. He is a stud and I am so lucky. Looking into the future I have no exact idea of what significant things he will teach me, but I know he will always be there to lend advice and a helping hand or at least a good joke to laugh at.


Thank you for the past three years of love and friendship, they have been the best in my life. I love you today, tomorrow, and yesterday. Here's to many more years of "Well, do you want my advice...," "In my opinion...," and "Let's figure it out together." Hugs and blessings my dear Ryan Wix. I love you.

xox, Rachel Rae

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