The saying goes, ‘you’ll find love when you least expect it’, and that was certainly the case for 35-year-old Jane Chynoweth.
After trying everything from Tinder to blind dates, she unexpectedly met her now partner after signing up for a dinner party on Mount Everest in what was a very extreme form of First Dates, with a cool -35C breeze around the table and champagne that almost instantly froze on pouring.
‘If you’re looking for love, I don’t suggest you sign up to the next trip to summit Everest based on my experience, but I was in the right place at the right time and that’s the beauty of travel,’ Jane says.
The management consultant admits that she was facing burnout on the dating scene, after travelling non-stop for work and living amid the bright lights of Los Angeles and New York, where romances would come and go as quickly as subway trains.
But just as she’d sacked off dating for a while, she embarked on a pretty extraordinary trip that changed the course of her life.
The native Australian accepted an invitation to join an expedition to achieve the Guinness World Record for the highest dinner party.
This would take place on the North Col of Mount Everest, at 7,056 meters (23,149ft).
Always up for a challenge and with a love of remote places, Jane raised the funds required and jetted off from New York for a few weeks, leaving her desk job behind.
On landing into Kathmandu, she joined thefriend who invited her, and a crew of other expeditioners, one of them being her now-partner, architect Jonathan Beswick.
Jane said she had an instant connection with Jon, 39, although she was ‘definitely not looking for romance on the trip’.
She recalls: ‘We first spoke at the welcome dinner in Kathmandu and I instantly realised we had a similar energy.
‘We are both outgoing and just enjoy life. I warmed to him as a friend straight away and there was lots of laughter.’
As the weeks went on and the dinner party team wound their way through the wilds of Tibet to Everest Base Camp and towards their lofty dining spot, Jane and Jon got closer, bonding through the experience and hardships along the way.
Finally, the moment came when the team dined together in minus 35 degrees Celsius with Everest in view and a feast rustled up by celebrity chef, Sat Bains.
Jane, who wore a velvet gown and fur hat for the occasion, says it’s a dinner date she will always remember.
She chuckles: ‘I will definitely remember spending 45 minutes just getting my climbing boots on in preparation. We had around 50% oxygen at that altitude, so everything was slower.
‘The gale force winds whirling around our table was an equally unusual experience.
‘Then we had champagne and a cocktail which tasted delicious at altitude. But the highlight for me was seeing Jon fall over backwards in his chair, with the kilt he was wearing – yes, a kilt! – spread all akimbo.’
From the get-go, Jane was hooked by the non-awkward dinner table banter and Jon’s live and let live attitude.
Following their sky-high supper, Jane went on to return to New York and Jon to London, but the two stayed in touch.
After a period of trying to keep up communications long-distance, Jane decided to leave Manhattan and try out life in London.
Fast-forwarding two years, the couple are very much loved-up.
Although they have only been together a short time, they managed to pack in a wealth of adventure before the pandemic struck, travelling to more than 20 countries, and doing wacky things like running a marathon in Afghanistan and climbing the three highest mountains in Africa.
This past year, they chose a bit of a different adventure, purchasing a house in the UK and welcoming their first child.
The couple chose Danger as their son’s middle name, reflecting their passion for adventure.
Jane explains: ‘Our son’s name reflects our intrepid attitude to life and doing off the wall trips. We also want it to remind him to never take himself too seriously – life’s too short!’
The adventurous duo plan to take their son to the Himalayas later this year, where Jon will be attempting to set the world record for the highest bike ride down one of the peaks with some of his former dinner party crew.
‘It will be good to show our son where mum and dad met,’ Jane muses.
Before going off to Facetime with her family in Australia, who she is hoping to see later in the year, the new mum concludes: ‘My trip to Everest opened up the possibility for a life less ordinary.
‘That’s the beauty of travel, you never know what’s around the next corner. For those single ladies and men out there, I really advocate for living the life that you want and you’ll attract the kindreds out there.
‘If travel is your passion, then keep putting yourself out there. As with anything, mine and Jon’s meeting was the age-old story of love finds you when you least expect it; at a windy, cold dinner on Everest.’
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected].