She has been on 34 first dates in 19 countries in the past year. She is aware of this.
Loni James traveled to London last year from Washington, D.C. with an unconventional itinerary, a day pack, and a duffel bag.
Walk arrived late, and her plan was straightforward: to meet locals in each country she visited on a date while traveling the world.
After arriving in London, she swiped right on Tinder and met a French-British dual citizen who loved to travel. Pints of ale with him at a bar near the Zenith Framework changed into a five-hour dinner date and critical conversations about past trips.
She never saw the man again in the future. Nonetheless, her journey did not begin with a predetermined strategy. In the past year, James asserts that she has used Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble to go on 34 first dates in 19 countries. These romantic ceremonies were full of surprises, mystery, and cultural firsts.
Her most memorable date with a Muslim was the 13-hour trip to Cairo during the holy month of Ramadan with her man, who had statements about the “Companions” Network program on his Kindling profile. In Alexandria, she went on her next date with another Egyptian man. He informed her that he was engaged and expressed how much he had missed his first love during the date.
James states, “I was a safe space, and he clearly needed someone to listen.” I’ve had very intimate and private conversations with other people. Something special happens when people know they won’t see you again.
A charming classical musician took her on a nighttime scooter tour of the city’s many historic landmarks on a date in Verona, Italy.
Additionally, she had a disastrous date in Turkey with a man who promised to return when she turned down his physical advances and dropped her off at his paragliding shop. He never did. After waiting for hours during a storm, James spent the night sleeping on a bench in the store.
In Cape Town, she went on her latest date with a South African man who took out a deck of cards and started performing sleights of hand at the table.
James, 40, on the other hand, asserts that each of the bad dates has taught her something, and that even they have made her remember them.
I used to feel that dating was either a triumph or disappointment. “I considered it a failure if I went out with someone on a date and it didn’t end in a goodnight kiss or the second date,” she declares. I no longer give that much thought. I now understand how crucial it is to go on a date and be thankful that someone shared their story, opened up, and gave you their time.
“I’ve learned that romance comes in many forms,” she adds. Romance can’t be guaranteed in a set way, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. I experience it when there is connection and intentionality. This person is the one who pays attention to what you have to say, tries to make you feel special, wants to make you smile with a thoughtful gesture, cares about what you think, and wants to get to know you really well.
After her mother’s death, she took advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately, James decided to travel alone.
From the time she was 48 to the time she passed away at 63 a year and a half ago, she watched her mother fight early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It inspired James to seize the chance and begin her adventures.
As indicated by American culture, my folks had done everything right. They got married. She asserts that they paid off their house, raised three children, and held steady jobs. Despite their grand retirement plans, my mother never got to retire.
James, who is single and has no children, started saving for her trip two years before her mother’s death in October 2021. She moved from Seattle to Spokane, Washington, where she found a roommate and rented a cheaper apartment. She in the end sold all that she claimed and moved in with her folks to invest energy with her perishing mother.
She remembers a crucial piece of advice her mother gave her before Alzheimer’s disease took away her ability to communicate, but she didn’t get to tell her mother about her plans to travel before she passed away.
She says, “I told her about a boy I liked, and she told me to make sure he loved travel as much as I did,” and that’s what she meant by that. Even though she had a disease, the fact that she knew how important that was to me when I was looking for a partner was really impactful.
James’s trip to the world has coincided with an increase in solo travel, in part due to the pandemic.
“During a pandemic, travelers were wary of traveling in groups because of the uncertainty of being around others,” states Janice Waugh, founder and publisher of Solo Traveler. Many people continue to travel alone after discovering the advantages of doing so, such as flexibility, freedom, and personal growth.
According to Waugh, it is uncommon to date someone in each country you visit, even though solo travelers frequently interpret this as sentiment and fellowship.
James, on the other hand, has thrown herself wholeheartedly into the experience and accepted the good and the bad. She travels impromptu whenever possible by staying in hostels, Airbnbs, or with friends and even friends of friends.
At the hostel, people will simply ask each other, “Who wants to go here?” Who has free time for seven days? Do you want to carry out this?’ And all of a sudden you find yourself in a car with strangers,” she asserts.
I realized that traveling for a significant amount of time is very different from just going on a vacation for a week or two. By traveling extensively, I wanted to fully immerse myself in the culture and have an entirely new experience.
She does whatever it takes to safeguard her wellbeing
James guarantees that she reveals her goal to date somebody in every country she visits to her dates. With the exception of sharing a few photos, she promises them anonymity and declines to provide CNN with their contact information.
Her most enduring memory may have been the 13-hour Cairo date she had with the Muslim man last year. They discussed online dating, arranged marriages, Muslim culture, and more. They shared iftar, the meal that Muslims who were fasting eat immediately after sunset because it was Ramadan.
She discusses their day together, which also included excursions to museums and a monastery, a ride in a rickshaw, and a desert folk-dance performance at night. She asserts, “I’ve never had a man put so much effort into a date.” The food was so bright and copious. I tried a lot of new things here. Egypt’s food is amazing.
From that point forward, she has gone on dates in Jordan, Cyprus, Turkey, Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia, Norway, Iceland, the Azores islands in Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Namibia, and South Africa. Additionally, she has dated in Cyprus.
On her blog, Facebook, and Instagram, she uses the hashtag #ADateinEveryCountry to talk about her experiences, and a lot of women offer advice and comments.
James asserts that because she is traveling alone, she is concerned about her safety. In order to leave a date on her own, she uses a ride-sharing app, avoids alcohol, shares her location with friends, and ensures that her phone is charged.
She communicates with men via dating apps and does not disclose her phone number until she meets a date in person. She also never lets a date pick her up from her place of lodging.
Waugh, an authority on solo travel, suggests that women avoid asking for directions and meet up with dates in public places.
I take the first step to regularly meet new people. “I think that it is more likely that an inappropriate person will choose me than it is that I will choose them,” Waugh asserts. I choose who I talk to, where I go, and where I sit. When I need to ask for directions, I typically go first to a couple and then a family.
James has not yet felt unsafe, despite her frustrating dates. She has been raised two times by men: in Cape Town, South Africa, and Paphos, Cyprus.
Then there was the Zurich man who took her to a pricey restaurant in a Lotus despite her objections and ordered her food and a Chablis for $84 for her. After that, he requested that the bill be split, exceeding her weekly budget.
“I know it sounds glamorous, and some of my dates have been glamorous,” James declares. I’ve gone paragliding with dates in Fethiye, Turkey. I’ve also gone fishing with dates in the Arctic Circle. I have, however, been on some truly bizarre ones as well.
Her experience has moved her viewpoint on dating
Since she left in the spring of 2022, James has not come back in the US. Prior to going to Asia, Australia, and South America, she intends to remain a couple of additional months in Africa.
She wants to write a book that is both entertaining and instructive about her trip around the world.
A book about Tunisia, Namibia, or Egypt might not be picked up by anyone. “If they happen to learn these other things about this country during that dating story, then I consider that a huge bonus,” she adds. However, my romantic history might pique their interest.
I understand that Morocco, Namibia, and Egypt might not be on everyone’s bucket list. I maintain that individuals should be interested about these spots when I expound on them. Additionally, I want the stories to inspire people to dream, laugh, and travel across oceans to meet fascinating people from all over the world.
In the interim, she will travel for at least the next year. There is a plethora of additional things to see and do.
James hasn’t found a friend yet. She claims to be open to having a love interest in another country. She is, in any case, getting a charge out of pretty much every snapshot of her process regardless of whether it happen.
“I love having the different races, religions, styles, knowledge, and backgrounds,” she says. When you surround yourself with people from different parts of the world, there is simply so much to gain.
She asserts that meeting men from various nations has altered her dating perspective.
When she was younger, she saw dating as a means to an end: to find a husband. She asserts that today, however, it is a privilege to hear someone’s story and get to know them without having to deal with expectations.
“I’ve learned that the difficulties of modern dating exist everywhere,” she asserts. Ghosting still happens and individuals are as yet figuring out how to manage web based dating. Standing up is uncomfortable even on a picturesque island. Your insecurities don’t just disappear when you cross an ocean.
James says she’s glad she didn’t wait to travel until she had a partner like she had in the past. She has, according to the previous year, shown her a lot.
“I’ve learned that when I’m traveling, I’m the most open and curious version of myself,” she says. The identical approaches taken by different nations astonish me. The fact that there is no one right way to do things never ceases to impress upon me.