Breathe in. Breathe out…
Why am I performing breathing exercises?
This post is making me nervous because it is taking me outside my comfort zone. I am allowing the reader to pry a little deeper into Victoria and my travel life behind what I generally show on social media.
I was a little skeptical about writing this post, but a wise friend told me “You have to be OK with who you are before you can be comfortable sharing. Or people can make u feel some type of way about it” (Thanks Toks)
I am very comfortable with who I am, open minded and I love sharing my experiences from a story teller’s standpoint. So I figured why not tell my story?
This post is divided in 3 parts:
- Making a connection
- Exploring the connection
- Severing the connection (when necessary)
Let’s get right to it!
Making a connection
It is relatively easy to meet people while traveling if you put yourself out there. The bulk of “meeting” in my case happened online and I was able to filter out the types of people I wanted to actually meet with in person. The apps I use most frequently are:
Tinder is one of my favorite apps for meeting people because you can get the feel of a person via small or not so small talk before deciding to meet up with them.
Tinder reminds me of how vain people could be because the probability of meeting up with someone is based on appearances and first impressions. A wrong message can lead to an unmatch.
I also like tinder because I can weed out the people who I feel would not suit me or people who come off too strong in their profiles or even in my messages. The general rule I apply with tinder is open mindedness and honesty. I carry out an honest conversation and I let people know that I am a traveler and the amount of days I will be spending in a particular place so they don’t expect too much or too little.
Usually people respond to that with honesty and say what they want. I decide if it is something I can give and if it is not, I politely turn them down, unmatch and move on. I enjoy using tinder to meet men or women who are also solo travelers and looking for someone to explore a city with.
Couchsurfing is a hit or miss. The main reason why Couchsurfing was created was for people to offer their couch or an extra room in their accommodation for travelers to use. It is a free platform and it helps offset the cost of lodging for travelers, helps people meet like-minded individuals abroad while also encouraging cultural exchange and immersion.
What Couchsurfing was not created for was hookups. Some people unfortunately try to use the app solely to meet women for hookups so extra care must be taken while accepting requests to hang out on Couchsurfing. The hangout feature of the app can be used to meet with people who are in the same vicinity. I have met few men on Couchsurfing, but details of that experience will be in the 2nd part of this post.
Instagram generally is a great platform for making connections depending on how the social network is utilized. In our generation where a lot of people are so engulfed in technology, meeting people online is very common. I mean there are millions of people who use the app daily.
I have an experience where I went on a date in Dubai with someone I met on Instagram. We will call him Mr. K.
Not only is Instagram a great place for meeting people, it also makes it possible for people to have a certain perception of the type of person you are before even meeting you.
This was the situation with Mr. K.
Mr. K reached out to me on Instagram when I was in Dubai and invited me out on a date. Mr. K and I had been following each other for months before I traveled to Dubai and I was aware he lived in Dubai. We picked a date to meet up, and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to attend Taste of Dubai which was happening later in the evening of the date we agreed on.
I informed him that the taste of Dubai cost approximately $20 to enter and he said he was okay with it. He suggested meeting at the Dubai Mall, and I agreed. When we met, I asked if he was hungry and he said he could eat. We went to a restaurant at the mall and I ordered a wrap while he ordered duck. When the check came, I looked at him so he could pay his half of the bill, but he balked a little and did not make eye contact with me. I felt like the situation was awkward enough, so I did not ask him for his part of the bill, I simply put my card down to pay for both meals. I felt since I paid for the meal, I would ask him to pay for the taxi fare to the Taste of Dubai.
We left the mall and got a taxi to the Taste of Dubai. When it was time to pay, he paused again and did not make eye contact. I was not having it so I asked if he could pay for the fare which was less than $20 approximately. He pulled out some rumpled cash from his pocket and paid. When I saw him pull out the cash, I was hoping that was not the only cash he had but I figured time would tell. We walked up to the entrance of the Taste of Dubai and the cashier cashier told us the price of a ticket. Mr. K was silent. I asked if he was going to pay for his ticket and he said he did not have any money.
I was LIVID!
He could have told me he did not have money before ordering duck at the restaurant and also before agreeing to head to the Taste of Dubai with me. I am the type of person that HATES awkward situations, so I eventually paid his share of the ticket. I was so frustrated at his behavior because I did not get the reason why he would come out if he was broke without informing me.
I thought he could have told me while we were making plans to meet up then I would have decided if I wanted him to come or not instead of mooching his way. I gave him a piece of my mind afterwards and blocked him. That was the last time I saw him!
The take away lesson from my experience was the fact that I always make concrete plans before meeting anyone and I always want to meet at events where no one is required to pay anything. If a payment is required, I make it very clear before meeting up with the person and I let them know to bring their share. This way, I am not blindsided like I was with Mr. K.
Exploring the connection
This is the most interesting part.
We have finished the portion of weeding the men out and at this stage, you think you have a connection and eventually agree to meet at a time and place.
These are my experiences in these types of situations:
Some men may not always look like pictures. Then what?
Some men can look a certain way in pictures but might not look the way you painted in your head in person. I sometimes ask for a man’s height and it does not deter me from meeting them in person, but I don’t want to be surprised. Some people do lie about their height and the realization can be surprising in person.
Another thing that does not really show in pictures is dental hygiene. I met a man in India who I thought looked good in pictures but when I met him the first thing, I noticed was the bad dental hygiene. This is a no for me. He tried to kiss me several times and I had to lie that I had a sore gum. This was the last time we saw😩😩
Exploring a connection does not always have to end up leaving a sour taste. Some men look WAY better in person than they do in pictures. I had this experience in Jaipur, India and *swoon*! Mr. F and I agreed to meet at a restaurant, and he came 30 minutes late because he had to work later than he anticipated.
Mr. F told me to get drinks while I waited. When he eventually arrived and I saw his face, I thought it was impossible to get mad at him for making me late. We had an amazing connection and I was happy that I waited. Mr. F paid for all my drinks and food even though I insisted on paying for my drinks and food.
On rare occasions, when you decide to explore a connection, you meet someone who you get along with so much that leaving them will leave a hole in your heart. This happened to me once with Mr. G in Malaysia and before I left, I considered the possibility of moving to Malaysia several times because of Mr. G!
Mr. G was a dentist in who owned his own practice. This fact was already a win in my book *wide grin*. Who does not want to date a man who has their stuff together?
We met via tinder when he was in Kuala Lumpur for a conference and he lived in Johor. Mr. G invited me to visit him in Johor after chatting several times and talking on the phone several times- which I did. Mr. G bought my plane ticket and planned dinner at a nice restaurant in Johor. We drank wine and talked in the park after the dinner. It was definitely a date to remember.
I saw Mr. G again on my way to India from the Maldives. I had a long stopover in Kuala Lumpur, and Mr. G flew in from Johor to spend time with me in the airport for the duration of the stop over and he flew back the next day. Super sweet right?
It was heartbreaking and devastating leaving Mr. G in Malaysia, but this is the main issue with meeting people while traveling- there is no good way to say goodbye.
Severing a connection (If necessary)
There are several reasons why I have had to sever certain connections before or after meeting someone in person.
I have had to sever a connection because the conversations aren’t interesting. I like to talk about any and everything, but some people make it difficult to chat. I sever the connection if I realize I am the only one talking or initiating conversations. There is no point especially since I am traveling and only passing by.
I severed a connection once as a result of a communication barrier. I was in a restaurant in Beijing where a Chinese man walked up to me and gave me his phone gesturing for me to put in my WeChat details. WeChat is a very popular chatting app used in China. His boldness impressed me because men rarely walk up to women of color abroad talk less of a Chinese man who did not speak English and I didn’t speak Chinese either.
He sent me a message on WeChat later that evening and we started chatting. I had to translate his Chinese to English and my English to Chinese before hitting send so we could effectively communicate. I would copy and paste sentences back and forth from google translate. This was exhausting after 24 hours because he really liked to chat. He eventually asked me to go see a movie with him and he told me the movie would be in Chinese. I wanted to meet up with him with an open mind but trying to communicate was already a hassle for me.
I concluded that the date would not work out for me because I thought how would we communicate in person when we didn’t understand each other? I canceled and felt bad- maybe I could have used that opportunity as an excuse to improve my nonexistent Chinese- maybe not 😩😩
Stay tuned for the 2nd part of the 2 part series.
I am convinced that I deserve a book deal!