The Journey Begins
In late April of 2015, best friends Katy Armstrong and Kendall Anderson met in Bali for a vacation together. Since learning to dive in Honduras the year before, Katy had been sharing stories of underwater adventures and Kendall was excited to follow her lead by testing for an Open Water Scuba Certification in the sleepy town of Tulamben, Bali.
After the hard work of co-founding a software development company, Stephan Winkler was ready to make the most of location freedom by taking his design work on the road. In August of 2014, he set out on an open-ended world travel with friends André Richter and Melanie Scharbius. After exploring Thailand and Laos together, André and Melanie settled in to work as Scuba instructors on the Gili Islands. Stephan travelled to Bali, where met his parents, Elke and Herbert Grüne, who came for a visit. After a 2 week family vacation together, Stephan saw his parents off at the airport, then made his way North to check out a famous shipwreck near Tulamben.
On May 1st, after a perfect morning of diving, Katy took a snooze poolside while Kendall relaxed with a book on the front porch of their bungalow. Stephan had just checked in next door and came by to greet his new neighbor, Kendall. The two hit if off and talked until it was time for Kendall's Scuba class to resume with an afternoon dive. Stephan was smitten. As they walked to the dive site, Kendall told Katy about the dreamy guy she had met. That evening, the three shared a memorable dinner, during which Katy vetted Stephan with a Barbara Walters-style interview and palm reading. That night Stephan asked Kendall for a kiss. When Stephan learned that the ladies were to depart for Ubud the next day, he changed his travel plans. They fell for each other over the next 10 days. By June, Stephan had joined Kendall in San Francisco.
Their romance continued, first with Stephan traveling to San Francisco, and later with Kendall journeying to Germany. Over the next two years, the couple answered mutual visa-restrictions with a nomadic lifestyle. By freelancing and working remotely, they were able to change location often and explore many new places together. They've travelled and worked from Honduras, Guatemala, Nepal, Switzerland, and Scotland, as well as many parts of Germany and the United States.
In the first few minutes of 2018, after a champagne toast in the bathtub, Stephan asked Kendall if she'd like to spend her life with him, presenting her with a ring made by her best friend, jewelry designer Adam Neeley. She said: "Ja, natürlich!" (Yes, of course!)