We met like any other strangers would meet at a B&B in Puerto Rico on a travel date. There was a knock on the door and an exquisitely awkward hug.
I'm sorry, what? I had never heard of the site, let alone the concept of travel dating before. Was I out of the loop? Was I about to potentially pioneer a new trend in the dating world?
I perused the MissTravel site and found that it works like a regular dating website -- except you're agreeing to grab a drink in a faraway land (or your hometown). But hey, at least you'll know that you and your date have one major thing in common: You both like to travel.
Also, I have this theory that everyone considering marriage should travel with their SO because when traveling you learn how much of a person you can tolerate, and also if there are things about that person you don't like.
I wondered what would happen if you started off the relationship traveling with a potential SO and getting all of the awkward moments out of the way right off the bat.
On MissTravel you can choose to go on a travel date with someone that will either: Pay your way, split your fare in half or wants you to pay their way.
In a world of swipe this way and that, and dating websites galore, why not add another one? On a scale of one to seedy back alley I was skeptical, curious and only slightly concerned for my safety.
The thing is this: I don't enjoy dating. I think people are weird, dating is clumsy, oh, and people are weird. But I also can't say no to an adventure. So, I said yes.
Needless to say, this might be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever done.
So, here are 45 thoughts I had on my first travel date:
1. Cool, three days of texting and now we're going on vacation together. Well, that escalated quickly.
2. I just traveled 1,721 miles for a date. A blind date to boot.
3. What if he's a serial killer? Or worse, what if he has a large collection of stuffed animals in the back window of his car?
4. What if this is actually a reality TV show, with a camera crew hidden everywhere? I'm positive that bush just moved.
5. Oh god, the receptionist just asked what brings me to Puerto Rico. Do I tell her about the travel date?
6. Red alert! Telling her was a mistake. I hope she doesn't make good on her promise to knock on my door tomorrow to find out how it's going.
7. What if we really like each other? Logistically speaking, how would that work?
8. It would be a cool story if it did.
9. OK, I'm getting ahead of myself.
10. I think my hair just tripled in size. Damn humidity.
11. I need a cocktail. Stat.
12. I wonder if “I need to go switch my laundry” will work as an escape on this kind of date.
13. Maybe I should take up the B&B's offer for 6 pm meditation to calm my nerves.
14. Eh, nope.
15. His room is directly across from mine? And there's a shared bathroom? Goody goody gumdrops.
16. Oh no, I have to pee. He's arriving any minute and I don't want our inaugural meeting to be me coming out of the bathroom. Ugh, why didn't I go earlier? I'll just hold it.
17. The suspense is killing me.
18. Oh, god. He's here. Must. Answer. Door.
19. It's happening. Do we handshake? Hug? A combo of the two?
20. Well, that was comically awkward.
21. Give me all the adult beverages. Nooooow.
22. It's humid AF. I'm sweating in places I didn't know I could sweat. Can he tell?
23. Has he been on a travel date before? What are his expectations? What the hell, I'll just ask.
24. I'm a touch disappointed that he's a travel dating newbie and can't regale me with stories of previous travel dates.
25. Is he going to try to kiss me? I hope he doesn't try to kiss me on night one. Maybe I should tell him I don't kiss on the first date.
26. A travel date rule book would've been good.
27. Wow! He just opened the door for me. Chivalry is not dead.
28. Is he going in for a fist bump?
29. Nope, it's a hug. That was graceful.
30. This is so weird and tomorrow will be even weirder.
31. Oh man, we're spending the entire day together. Entire. Day. What if we run out of small talk?
32. He's mentioned his love of Taco Bell more times than I can keep track of. Maybe I should've been keeping track, that'd be a fun game.
33. I hope he's a good driver seeing as we just rented a car and I'm the passenger.
34. Did he just hear my stomach growl? That would be unfortunate to introduce him to hangry me on the “first date.”
35. This beach is pretty. Oh, I want to go in that cave!
36. How do you not have a good time with someone when adventuring like this?
37. I could use some space. How can I suggest some solitude time without sounding like a jerk?
38. We need a cab. But that would require going to reception and facing the over-eager, super-fan receptionist.
39. Abort! The receptionist is looking at us together like she just won the lottery.
40. This is a really long, uncomfortable silence and I should probably fill it with nonsense.
41. I don't think I'm catching any gushy feelings. Is he?
42. Please don't make a move. Please don't make a move.
43. Maybe I should change the subject with a random dating topic like “worst dating story." Annnnnd go.
44. It worked.
45. Well, that was an interesting whirlwind. What now? I'm good with a new pen-pal buddy.
All in all, travel dating is just like any other kind of dating -- a risk, an adventure and more often than not, a shit show.
I see how it could heighten emotions and create more of an opportunity for love-y feelings to blossom.
You're (most likely) in a new place that's picturesque, fun to explore and you're experiencing new adventures with your chosen companion. It all sounds remarkably fantastic.
Vacation inspires people to be relaxed, free, to act without abandon and to be more of their true selves. It sure seems like an ideal way to meet someone as your “best-self.” But, will that survive in the real world?
Travel dating does force you to deal with situations that probably wouldn't come up on a first date, or even pretty early on in a relationship -- like my hangry-ness -- but that doesn't necessarily mean a relationship will survive off of it.
You can't predict when sparks will soar but it's a chance we all take by putting ourselves out there in the world. With travel dating it's meant quite literally.