Viktor: Hey, folks! Thank you for letting me interview you! To be honest you were the first couple who reached out to me, while including their photo. Also after your email the idea to do interviews with couples was born and as you can see this had a huge impact on the site. Thank you! So as usual let’s start with a couple words about yourself.
Rachel: I’ve been living in NYC for about 16 years now, Brooklyn for the last decade. I work as a women’s fashion designer and I make pottery, hike and attempt to surf in my free time.
Liam: I live in the UK and I work as a surveyor on offshore wind farms and map the seabed for a living. It gives me a lot of free time as I get half the year off from work so I try to travel and get outside hiking, cycling, surfing and snowboarding.
Viktor: Sounds like a long distance relationship is coming, but we will get to this later. How did you find out about firedating.me?
Rachel: It’s amusing, we both saw the Millennial Revolution blog post. I’m not a regular reader but I had just finished their book “Quit like a Millionaire” and wanted to check out their site. The FireDating post was the first one I saw. I read a lot of the comments and decided I needed to check it out for myself.
Liam: I read quite a few fire blogs and came across the piece on the millennial revolution site, I had the tab open on my browser for quite a while and in August thought I'd give it a shot!
Viktor: Oh, wow, what a coincidence that you both came through that Millennial Revolution post. I think we can call FIRECracker a matchmaker now. What was your first impression of the site?
Rachel: Having Internet dated my fair share over the last 15 years, I loved that the metrics at the top were all about personal finance. I also liked that you could only upload one photo at the time, I felt like it encouraged considering the text more seriously.
Liam: it was fun being able to write things about fire that wouldn't ordinarily come up on a regular dating site, the chance to find out someone's actual goals rather than just that they like baking and holidays.
Viktor: I like baking though. Just kidding. Also users requested uploading more photos, so now one can upload up to 5 photos. Did you think you would meet someone through the site?
Rachel: It turns out that I’m a fairly optimistic person, so the short answer is yes. I thought it would be easier because it immediately eliminated the huge barrier of lifestyle that I run into in New York. I was right!
Liam: I didn't really know what to expect as I had to set my range fairly wide as there didn't seem to be many UK based users. I'm glad that option existed now though!
Viktor: Oh, Rachel, you might be the first person who actually expected to meet someone here. Perhaps such optimism is the key to actually meeting your partner. Did it take you long to be matched with each other?
Rachel: I texted/chatted with one or two others, and had several phone calls with another person who was truly lovely, but Liam was clearly different from the start, I stopped looking for other options.
Liam: There are 10 daily matches that you can send a link to connect to, Rachel was the fourth on that list and I sent her a message and then stopped looking after that, so in total I spent around three minutes I think before only chatting to Rachel.
Viktor: 3 minutes - that’s impressive! This should be an ad for firedating - meet your partner in 3 minutes. For the record nowadays one can see 12 profiles per day. Anyway, what was your first impression of each other's profiles?
Rachel: Ugh. He lives in the UK, that’s never going to work. Then I saw his picture and reconsidered. He also mentioned surfing in his ideal day, so I figured he was worth the extra effort. I assumed he wouldn’t message me, but I was pleasantly surprised when he did.
Liam: I work internationally so the thought of dating internationally didn't really worry me, I thought Rachel was very interesting and even though there was only one photo I thought she looked like someone I'd like to get to know better.
Viktor: Surfing saved the day. Also +1 point to the team “long distance”. Liam already mentioned that there were not that many users from the UK back then, but, Rachel, how come you didn’t limit your search geographically?
Rachel: Originally I did limit myself to locals, but there weren’t enough users, I was seeing the same profiles over and over. I decided to open it up because my dream is to travel as much as possible anyway, so why not consider people living outside of my region? Obviously it paid off to be open minded.
Viktor: So who sent the request?
Liam: I made the first move.
Viktor: And what happened next?
Liam: We messaged over a day or so before switching to WhatsApp.
Rachel: I think we only chatted on the website for a few messages before I suggested we switch to WhatsApp.
Viktor: To be honest, I understand, because the existing messaging system can be challenging (back then in mid 2020, it was even worse). But I am working on improving it. When did you understand that there is a connection?
Rachel: I think for me it was during our second video call, when Liam stayed up for the entire night to talk to me. And then again the next night, and I think the night after that.
Liam: I was on holiday at the time so had a lot of free time luckily, although the time difference meant that the evening for Rachel was 5am for me. Rachel was lovely to talk to and I think we hit our stride conversationally really quickly which was a lovely surprise.
Viktor: Yeah, joys of time difference. So as I guessed above, you started in a long distance relationship.
Rachel: Very much so. We started video chatting every day in late august and kept it up every single day (except one perhaps) until the day we met in person on November 7.
Liam: We started chatting every day which was challenging while I was at sea but it was worth the effort.
Viktor: Oh, you’ve even met already. How did it go?
Liam: We had planned to try and meet in person which was complicated to do safely in 2020, luckily we had the chance of Barbados as a first date! We got on in person incredibly well and I travelled from Barbados and had a great time in the US, it went much better than expected!
Rachel: Yes, on November 7th! We met in Barbados because we couldn’t meet in either home country due to Covid. We spent two weeks there and then came back to the states for another 10 days. In my opinion, it couldn’t have been better.
Viktor: I am so happy for you! I bet meeting each other during a long distance relationship is magical! It is amazing that you found a way to meet during such challenging times for travel . What are your plans as of today?
Rachel: We’re still in the acquisition stage so I’m continuing to work in the States full time for at least another year. Because of Liam’s flexible schedule he’ll be in NYC with me as much as possible. Hopefully in a year we’ll be able to be together more or less full time.
Liam: Being able to combine savings and working between two people means we'll be able to accelerate our fire goals considerably. My work is really flexible so I do a month at a time and then get a month or more off so I'm going to be travelling when I can to be with Rachel until we're both able to travel full time, which will hopefully be in the next couple of years.
Viktor: Happy to hear that you are already exploring options to stay together. Could you tell me more about your email to me? What motivated you?
Rachel: Viktor’s passion for helping others find love really comes through on the website. We both wanted to share our immense appreciation with Viktor for changing our lives in such an incredible, positive way. I owe Viktor a huge debt of gratitude for connecting us.
Liam: There's not a chance we ever would have met in normal life, we live over 3000 miles apart so without the firedating site I don't think we would have found each other. Firedating has become literally life changing.
Viktor: Thank you for your kind words! I think the fact that I am a backend developer also comes through in the website inadvertently. But I just try to be honest and it is a lot of fun to develop this site. Since you had such great success on the site, could you give advice to others?
Rachel: Don’t limit yourself to regional matches. There are some gems out there, but possibly not next door.
Liam: Yes I think you have to look outside the box a little and take some chances, it can be worth it!
Viktor: I can’t agree more. This is also not the first time couples have advised to relax geographic preferences. If you have to compromise on something, location is the easiest to fix. In other words, it is likely better to find someone amazing somewhere and move rather than just someone not matching you well nearby. Would you like to add something?
Liam: I feel so lucky to have met Rachel and to have the hope for an incredible future together. There's no way we could have hoped for better! Without firedating none of this would be possible.
Rachel: I’m so excited to spend my life with Liam surfing, hiking, cooking & traveling. I have FireDating to thank for connecting us, so if you’re considering signing up but haven’t done so yet, give it a chance!
Viktor: Yes, give it a chance! Each sign up makes Viktor smile during breaks between coding :) Also if you are a couple who met through the site, please, please, please, reach out to me! It is a lot of fun to do interviews together and this helps the site enormously and motivates me to develop it even more (which means even more FIRE couples).