julia-yarbough-aspen_web.jpgIt’s hard to imagine the gorgeous, former newscaster Julia Yarbough curled up on the sofa on a Saturday night, hoping the phone would ring.

After all, the petite, single lady is oozing with beauty, charm, intelligence and wit. To boot, the 44-year-old is a fitness buff, and has the svelte body of a teenager. 

Seemingly, men would be clamoring around the former NBC6 news anchor/reporter, hoping for their chance at a date with such a fantastic catch! But hold on – did we say, date?

That’s a million-dollar word in the life of this Emmy Award-winning news veteran – but not for reasons you might think.  In reality, it was way back in 2006, the last time she was actually asked to go on a bona fide date!

“Sadly, I can say that most of my Saturday nights were spent doing errands, or catching up on rest. I would go to events, or host events, and no one would approach.  Nothing.  Nobody calls. Nobody asks me out,” she recounted, surmising that many probably assumed she was taken.

But that was then. That was before she had the big idea to hit the road and look for her soul mate in a new project she calls, “Highway to a Husband.”

Some would later call the idea “crazy,” she said. Others would call it bold and adventurous.

“I was lying in bed one night, looking at the ceiling fan, saying, ‘What do you want out of life? You’re tired of being by yourself. You’re tired of being alone.’ I thought of all the books I’d read, which tell you that when you do what you love, things just connect. Well, I love to travel. I love to write and tell stories, and I would really love to have someone in my life,” she told herself.

And that’s when the idea came – she would take matters into her own hands and crisscross the United States by car, seeing the sights, and mount her own search for Mr. Right! She could also blog about her adventures. So there it was, after pontificating on her life at 2 o’clock in the morning, “Highway to a Husband” was created. 

She would combine a much-desired road trip with a fun-filled search for the man of her dreams.

So Yarbough and her BFF (Best Friend Forever), Silva Harapetian – also a TV news veteran, embarked on her quest in February, and thus far, it’s been the trip of a lifetime!  

“It’s been an amazing journey!” she quipped. “I’ve been on more dates in the last few months than I’ve been on in the last 4 years.”

She meets her dates the old fashioned way – through friends, family and friends of friends, etc. and even as a result of some media appearances (one of which was on “The Today Show” with Kathie Lee & Hoda.)

So far, she’s driven through the southern states, and as far away as Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Utah.

She recently flew to Los Angeles for a date to a military ball, and though she enjoyed the date, she was disappointed when the man suggested she was too “negative,” and told her it could be a turn off. Not all dates turn out the way she hopes, but she’s enjoying the ride (literally!)

Though she’s glad she’s following her heart, her novel idea has raised some eyebrows.
After 22 years in the news industry in a “comfortable” career, she left NBC6 in Miami last October, with many wondering how she could just walk away. 

“I was a little exhausted (from the hectic pace of the news industry.)  And I definitely miss being able to connect with the community in that way, but I wanted to tell more stories and bring something more positive and fun and light-hearted – and with this project, I’m able to do that,” she explained.

Others question the risks of meeting virtual strangers across the country. But she’s taking precautions. On a recent night in West Palm Beach, she made an appearance for the launch party of MyMatchChecker.com, a new website dedicated to keeping women safe from the dangers of online and regular dating.  The service offers various levels of background checks on prospective dates, with a price as low as $9.95.

The founders of the service, Andrew Scott and Robert Buchholz, both former law enforcement executives, say a service like theirs is perfect for Yarbough.

“We wanted to create a venue for daters either online or regular daters that could come to us and get information on prospective dates and hopefully have a better knowledge of who they’re going to be going out with,” said Scott.

Yarbough said her safety is paramount.

“You have to do everything you can to keep yourself safe,” she insisted.

So far, she hasn’t had any problems, but she has had loads of fun. Next up – hopefully TV – but not news.

“I would love to take what we’re doing to a television format because we’re seeing the country from the ground up. How many Americans have the opportunity to take that cross-country road trip they’ve fantasized about?”she asks.

There’s been some buzz about a possible reality TV show – something she would welcome.

But for now, the pretty newscaster that came into our living rooms every night says she hopes she’s an inspiration.

“I know I’m not the only single, professional, working woman who sits at home without dates.  There are a lot of us out there, and by me admitting the issue – that I hadn’t had a date in years – and by me saying ‘I’m going to change that. I’m going to change my life’…I believe that resonates with a lot of women. Will I find Mr. Right? I don’t know. But I think I’ve changed my odds!” she said, smiling.

To follow Julia Yarbough’s exploits, go to www.highwaytoahusband.com. For more information on safe dating, visit mymatchchecker.com

Photo: Julia Yarbough