Welcome to Big Ox Little Bird! This website is where we document our never-ending shenanigans, contemplate how to live our best life, eat our way around the world, capture beautiful moments through our lenses and most importantly NEVER take ourselves too seriously. So grab something frosty, make yourself comfortable, and get ready to laugh with (and mostly at) us!!
Big Ox is a hearty New England boy who has a severe case of itchy feet. He’s never lived in one city for more than four years. If he could choose one word to describe himself, it would be Neophile. (Go ahead and google it at work, it’s not as creepy as it sounds). He grew up a latchkey kid, and was definitely the black sheep of the family and pretty much the small town he grew up in. He played sports since he could walk, then left NE as fast as he could and never looked back. How he wants to be remembered by and what he wants his epitaph to read is: Here is someone who truly lived a 1,000 different lives.
Little bird was born in Beijing, China and grew up playing math. She was a good comrade until she abandoned ship and immigrated to Canada at the age of 13. She is a Chinese-Canadian currently living in the US of A (Mmmuricaaaa). She is a dietitian by trade and a wanderluster by nature. She wants to save all the animals. Everywhere. She is passionate about helping people become their healthiest and happiest selves and believes in leading by example. When she’s not in scrubs, one of her favorite activities is daydreaming in front of a world map that’s bigger than her and wonder how long it’ll take her to visit every country in the world.
WTH is this whole Big Ox Little Bird thing anyway?!
This question usually only comes up after 1 or 7 adult beverages. Not because it’s not a cool story, but mainly because neither one of us really likes talking about ourselves. But just for posterity….
Little bird’s Chinese name is Yiming (一鸣) and comes from the idiom 一鸣惊人. Yiming literally translates to “One chirp”, describing a bird making a single sound that surprises everyone. This can be interpreted as “to amaze the world with a single brilliant feat”. No pressure, still working on chirping over here. Little bird is a much more poetic name than one chirp, so she is sticking with it.
Big Ox got to experience the thrill of picking his own name. Most English names have a standard translation in Chinese. If you knew Big Ox, you would understand that he wants nothing standard. Big Ox is a close phonetic translation of his English name and is extra exciting because he is also tall and strong like an ox. Bonus point: Big and Ox are two of the simplest characters in Chinese. He has high hopes that one day he’ll be able to write his own name.
Having traveled through parts of Southeast Asia together, the sound of Big Ox Little Bird conjures up an image of a water buffalo with a tiny bird standing on its horn. Thus, with help from a very talented graphic design friend, our Big Ox Little Bird logo was born.
Random facts about us
– To date, we have traveled through 9 countries together. Independently, we’ve been to about triple that number each.
– We eloped in our backyard on Leap Day wearing jeans. Our pseudo uncle, who was our neighbor, performed the ceremony and it was a special moment we carry in our hearts. Bonus point: Big ox only has to remember the anniversary once every four years.
– No kids in our lives! Our fur baby, Bella, who is the sweetest geriatric chocolate lab you’ll ever meet, is the absolute love of our lives.
– Big Ox loves Chinese food more than Little Bird (and most other Chinese people). He proudly holds the record of eating 43 dumplings in one sitting.
– Our first date literally took us from the bottom of the sea to the top of the world. We went from scuba diving in sunken WWII Japanese royal fleet ships in the Philippians to trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Spoiler alert: Our first date lasted 7 months.
How does a girl born and raised in China who has lived in Canada since age 13, meet an American boy raised in a small town in New Hampshire where they can’t even spell diversity, halfway across the world? “Strings, yo. Strings.”
It all started with…
“Is that Burt’s Bees?!”
From across the room, the girl looks up from her backpack. It’s 6 am, and she is exhausted from an overnight trip. All she wanted to do was to unpack and crawl into the capsule bed. She turns and sees a very tall guy starting to undress and about to head to the shower. Although this can be considered completely normal behavior in a co-ed hostel room in front of a stranger, she was a little startled and replied: “Yes, uh, it is….”
She didn’t know at the time, the boy had been looking for the stuff since he left the States, three months ago! This started an interesting conversation, which leads to the two hanging out in a group on and off for a day and a half exploring Kuala Lumpur together before parting ways for good (or so they thought at the time).
It is mind-blowing to think back to that exchange, something so innocuous, had the power to alter and bind lives together permanently. Consider all the hostels, in all of Kuala Lumpur, let alone in all of Southeast Asia, in all the moments in time, within that same hostel and that same co-ed dorm room; the chance encounter seemed infinitely impossible. Neither of them remembers seeing or talking to anyone else in that 18-bedroom. To both their surprise, a month later, they found themselves on the longest first date ever, traveling together 24/7 for seven months through Asia and into North America. Let’s just say, six years later, they are as inseparable as ever.
Since their life-changing backpacking trip, they have lived in Arizona and California. They work full time but are constantly looking to squeeze shenanigans into their lives weekend warrior style. They are on a dedicated path to financial independence, stoicism, and minimalism. They are counting down the days to when all of their worldly possessions will fit into two backpacks again so that they can return to the simple days of nomadic living and world exploration.