This is my first time writing a more personal travel story so bear with me 🙂
I’m willing to bet that most, definitely not all, solo travelers are single. One of the reasons you are able to hop on a plane and travel to faraway places is because you have more free time and don’t have to think about someone else’s plans when you disappear.
I’ve been single for a while now making it really easy to get up and go on a random trip here or there. That isn’t to say that I don’t want a relationship or someone to come on these trips with me. When I’m home I do try and date, mainly through dating apps like most people do now.
The dating apps have become a bit of a game in a way. It is something that is done to pass the time. Sometimes If you just go on to see who likes you with no intention of meeting up. It’s strange.
That habit carries with me when I’m traveling too. It’s like checking my Instagram when I’m on my phone. I just sort of end up on Bumble or Tinder seeing the type of woman that might match with me in another place.
I’ll usually start a conversation with my matches when I’m traveling. I find people from other areas fascinating and it’s easy to pick up a conversation with a stranger on a dating app than it is in the streets of Paris.
Earlier this year when I was in London I did match with someone on Tinder that I had to meet though. She was gorgeous. She was from Ukraine and I love an Eastern European woman’s accent. And…she wanted to meet me which is possibly the more important part.
Before you start thinking I’m a creep, I wasn’t planning on meeting her to get laid. It was the last day of traveling solo for two weeks around Europe and I was getting a little lonely. I hadn’t really had any meaningful conversations with anyone since I was in Rome a week earlier so I just really wanted to sit down with someone.
She told me to meet her at 7:00 at Covent Garden.
I had a whole day of sightseeing ahead of me before the date so I got out and got on one of those red “hop on hop off” busses. Normally I wouldn’t use those but I (1) only had the day and wanted to see as much as I could and (2) I had broken my leg in Barcelona a week earlier so the less I had to walk on crutches the better.
I started my touristy day at Buckingham Palace which took a lot of work to get to since there was a marathon happening that day. The crowds were huge.
Apparently the marathon also cut right through the city so my bus plan wasn’t going to work out that great. We only got to see some of the landmarks, not the Tower which is the main thing I wanted to go to.
I got off on foot (and crutch) and started wandering around. It became apparent pretty quickly that the British like to party during marathons. So do as locals do. I started bar hopping and getting friendly with locals.
Normally I’d use that type of opportunity to get a little wild and run with the day, but I was actually really looking forward to my date. I stopped drinking and crutched my way back to the hotel to sober up and clean up.
I was early. I’m a pretty punctual person to be completely honest.
There was a street performer with a huge crowd right outside the entrance to Covent Garden that I’m glad I got to watch. He put on such a great show that put me in a great mood before heading off to a date.
Only while standing there watching the show did I realize I forgot to tell my date about my leg. I feel like it’s probably a big surprise you don’t want someone to have when they see you for the first time and you’re leaning on crutches.
I shot her a text…well, a DM since we were talking on Instagram for whatever reason. I told her to keep an eye out for the guy on crutches.
“You’re making me nervous.”
“Sorry I should have told you I hurt myself last week.”
“Oh. I saw your posts today. You were drinking. I thought you got very drunk and fall. I don’t like drunk men.”
“I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing then. I only had a few beers in the day. No drunk man here.”
“Is OK. I have crutches too.”
OK, so she definitely has a sense of humor. Or we are going to look like a couple that got into a bad accident together.
I feel bad, she showed up just as the street show was ending.
She was even prettier in real life than on her profile or Instagram. It’s a good thing I had my crutch to keep me balanced.
I’m really glad she wanted to meet at Covent Garden. It is a cool little market area that I wouldn’t have known about had she not recommended it. This is one of the benefits of meeting up with locals when you travel.
We walked around trying to figure out what we wanted to eat while talking about each other’s backgrounds. I’ve never met anyone from Ukraine before so I was fascinated with learning about what life is like there and what their thoughts are on Americans.
Thankfully she likes American men. We are apparently more romantic than Eastern Europeans. Her words, not mine.
She tried a few times to get a visa to take a holiday in the US, but each time was refused. Being an Eastern European single woman living in another country must put up some red flags. She doesn’t want to go through the process or cost of applying again so gave up on trying to visit America anymore.
It was a nice stroll through the area, but we did need to find some food. She was suggesting sushi and I immediately heard screams from my wallet. Luckily, for my bank account, the sushi place was packed and we couldn’t sit there.
We ended up wandering into this upscale looking restaurant called Tuttons. I really liked the place for a date vibe. It was somehow a good mixture of laid back and a little swanky.
The menu at this place had some interesting items that I really wanted to try, but you never want to push the envelope with someone the first time you eat with them. I mean…should I expect her to split the venison carpaccio appetizer? That seems aggressive.
We had an amazing conversation throughout the dinner. There were really no awkward moments or long pauses that you often get the first time sitting down with someone. She had a very interesting life story that brought her to London 4 years ago. She’s obsessed with gelato. And she loves American accents.
We also shared some of our worst date stories. She was telling me about a horrible date from a few weeks ago where she had to sneak away when she excused herself to the restroom.
She excused herself to the restroom a couple of minutes later.
I sat there wondering if I was being ditched.
The bill came. I paid it.
Still sat there. Oh boy.
Then she came back. Phew.
“I have a great idea. My favorite bar is right here.”
We went downstairs to a really cool bar called Dirty Martini. This bar had a great cocktail menu of different martini options. She insisted on paying since I paid for dinner.
She still wanted to hang out some more despite an early work day tomorrow, but she also doesn’t like to drink too much so we left the bar. She wanted to take me to her favorite gelato place.
I had just left Rome a few days before so I had a pretty high standard at the moment for gelato.
We went to this place called Amorino. I figured it had to be good since it was after 9 on a Sunday night and it was cold out. Not exactly gelato weather.
I was drooling over the gelato and waffle combos, but I went for the gelato rose on a cone with tiramisu and salted caramel. She tried to tell me to get the Amerena cream and black cherries flavor, but I figured I’d just steal a bite of hers. I should have gotten my own because it was really good!
So we took our flowery gelato cones and walked around London on a cold night.
Her favorite place to walk around is Piccadilly Circus which isn’t too far from Covent Garden. Luckily I was just using the one crutch that night otherwise that walking and the gelato would have been tough.
We walked and talked for a while after. She smiled a lot.
We’d walk by a subway stop and she’d just say she’d get the next one instead. Each stop we’d slowly walk when we’d see it in the distance. Eventually, she had to go home so she wouldn’t be dead tired at work the next day.
We said our goodbyes at the top of the subway stairs. She leaned in for a kiss and then it was goodbye.
We still talk every now and then on Instagram direct messages. The day after the date she was telling me she really liked me and wished I didn’t have to go so soon. We’d make up plans to meet somewhere in the world, but that hasn’t worked out yet.
Have any of you tried to have a date while traveling solo? Tell me how it went in the comments.