The Essence of Jojo and Bill

Blessed ~ Loved ~ Favoured ~Content ~ Precious ~ Talented

This Essence Portrait was initially about Jojo, but it soon became obvious that I needed to make it a couple’s portrait.  It will still lean heavily on Jojo. 

I didn’t even know Joice (Jojo) Martha two years ago. My first meeting with her was a phone call that I had with Bill Green in the summer of 2022, weeks before our annual fishing trip. She was in Bill’s van camping out.  

She had recently flown in from Indonesia. As incredible as it may sound, they had daily online and video conversations for nearly six months. It was truly incredible that Bill, a man of few words – would be talking six to eight hours daily. 

 Bill discovered that she was coming to the Toronto area. After all those phone calls, he was convinced she was the one. Fortunately, she also felt he was the guy she was looking for. 

Let’s set the stage. Bill has made an easy decision for him and one that would be challenging for most people. He wanted to live off the grid and has been working on a camper component attached to his pick-up truck.  This would be self-sufficient, including kitchen, shower and office complete with internet. He had a fibreglass top that was basically a sealed unit so he could control the air to alleviate allergy issues. He uses a combination of solar and battery systems for electricity. Water use is optimized and filtered. On the first appearance, that is a tiny space. However, Bill is all six feet and a bunch of inches; adding a second person would be a challenge JoJo must address.

 Their challenge is that she needs to be ok with his chosen lifestyle.  When not at the house, He wanted to be off-grid, when possible, often travelling in the camper and enjoying remote locations.  Six months of online chatting and getting to know each other halfway around the world allowed them to try that off-grid thing. 

 Bill had already made up his mind; he was all in; he would commit to her “forever.” She came to Canada, and within a week, he proposed. She bought into the grid lifestyle and worked, cooked, and slept in the camper. She was game for anything and everything.

Some of the timeline I’m describing is guaranteed to be out of whack. It’s because of how fast things seemed to be moving. For Bill and Jojo, some system trials and tribulations may have felt like a slow-motion dance.  

It was time for the annual fishing trip – the two people that started this trip have been doing the one-week-a-year trip for fifty years.  An assortment of us have hopped on board over the past thirty. At first, this was a flying-in fishing trip. We would fly into a lake with one cabin and two or three small boats for fishing.  However, age hasn’t been kind – our collective acceptance of roughing it was too overwhelming. We needed running hot and cold water, inside facilities that you flush and easy access to the boats. It was a guys-only trip. 

Circumstances made one of the guys unavailable for that year. Circumstances also meant that Jojo would be coming along as well.  Jojo and Bill would use the camper, and we were in the cabin.  While we would go fishing, she stayed behind to do some remote work with her company.  She had every intention of staying in the camper. The guys would have none of that – “There is always room at the table.” Besides, I always bring too much food. She would dine with us.  There was also an available seat in the boat – so she could go fishing with Bill and a third. At first, on my insistence, no one else besides me would be allowed to go in the boat. I had to interrogate this crazy lady who came halfway around the world to stay in a camper with our Bill.

 It must have felt like a trial by fire – not only was she roughing it by most standards, but she would also be cast (pun intended) into a group of gruff guys on their men-only fishing trip.  She came through with flying colours.  She survived the one-on-one interrogation by me and the group question period by the fishing gang. She passed with flying colours. She was thoughtful with her answers, graceful under pressure and with an apparent tough softness about her.  She won us over. Another observation was her comfort in the boat, often standing in the middle to take a picture or handle the fishing rod. This lady had an incredible inner strength that was hidden behind her gentleness and calm demeanour.

More importantly, our beloved Bill was smitten with her. He confided in me, and now you, just how appreciative he was to fall completely in love.  I’ve known him for close twenty years. That period has been an unbelievable roller coaster ride for him. It was delightful to see him so happy.

Fast forward to October 15th – the wedding at Bill’s house.  It was a truly amazing event that was Bill and Jojo to “T.” It was a homemade event, including the flowers, meal and set up.  Friends from near and far participated by doing everything.  The cooler was an inflatable canoe. It was put on the patio and filled with various drinks and ice.  The wedding ceremony would take place in the living/dining room. Immediately afterwards, it was converted into a banquet hall, and tables were set up for the roast pig and other delicacies Bill and his friends cooked that day.  I had to include a picture of Bill at the BBQ coating the roast pig.  

 I participated in the only way I could by being the photographer.  Jojo has not only won Bill’s heart but ours as well.  She has an inherent gentleness about her. She obviously is accepting of his choices and is flourishing in their relationship. She/they were a natural fit to launch my blog site’s “The Essence of…” series.

Could you describe a fork in the road?  You must have had access to all these guys online. Why Bill?

… cos he was kind, thoughtful, honest, and entirely in love with me (and still is); when he proposed, he said he wanted legal status to keep me, which won me over. I want to spend the rest of my life with him, too; I love him as much as he loves me. We have connections and many things in common – our interests, vision, and goals. I immediately believed he was the one!

 That commitment has changed my life; sometimes, we barely notice ourselves walking through the doors we once prayed would open.


2) What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it? 

Our relationship is getting to know each other, making adjustments, compromises and shifting priorities. We overcome by feeling grateful that we have each other and know this is what we want (The vision) that we want to spend the rest of our lives together, therefore, we will never give up. Our best days are ahead and not behind us.  There is so much more to our story.


3) Who are you? You are allowed six words to describe yourself. 

 Blessed, loved, favoured, content, precious, talented.


4) What one gem that you learned on your journey that you would love to share? 


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