- Loni James, a solo traveler, went on 34 first dates in 19 countries in a year.
- Her journey led to diverse romantic experiences, from deep connections to challenging situations.
- She learned that romance is not formulaic and can be found in meaningful connections.
- Loni’s story encourages embracing the unpredictability of love and the value of genuine connections.
Solo travel is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, but what if you could combine it with finding love? That is the story of 40-year-old Loni James, who has gone on 34 first dates in 19 different countries across different continents.
In a recent BBC report, she recounts her romantic experiences over the last year and the lessons she has learned through them.
Seeking Love on the Road
It started last March when Loni James embarked on a trip from Washington to London with nothing more than a duffel bag, a day pack, and an unconventional plan: to go on a hike and date a local in every country she visited.
Days after arriving in London, she met a travel-loving Franco-British man on an online dating platform. She said that after several pints of beer, which turned into a five-hour dinner date and a long conversation about traveling, she never saw the man again.
She has also had a date in Verona, an illustrious Italian city, with a classical musician who chauffeured her on a scooter on a nighttime tour of the city’s historic spots.
Diverse Romantic Experiences
She mentioned having had intimate and vulnerable conversations with many people over the last few months. “There’s something special that happens when people know they’re never going to see you again,” she added.
She also spoke about a (13-hour-long) date in Cairo, her first date with a Muslim, and another in Alexandria, who admitted to being engaged and spent the rest of the evening reminiscing over a past love.
“He clearly needed someone to listen, and I was a safe space,” she said in the report.
However, while she has had interesting times touring the world, there have also been some torrid experiences.
During one of her dates, she encountered a Turkish man who became visibly upset and left her stranded at his paragliding shop after she declined his physical advances. Due to a storm and him not returning as promised, she had to spend the rest of the night on a bench in his shop.
“In the past, if I went out with someone on a date and it didn’t end in a goodnight kiss, or it didn’t end in the second date, I considered it a failure,” she reflected, adding, “I now realize the value of going on a date and being so grateful that someone opened up and gave you their time, and shared their story with you.”
In retrospect, she found all the dates she had been on memorable because each one taught her something.
She said that she learned that romance comes in many forms. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, and there isn’t a certain formula that makes romance happen,” she said.
“For me, it’s when there’s connection and intentionality,” she added.
Follow Loni’s travels on her blog, Loni James Travel and Dating Blog.
What We Think
Loni James’ adventurous approach to dating while traveling offers a unique perspective on romance and human connection. Her experiences illustrate the unpredictability of relationships and the value of meaningful interactions, irrespective of traditional dating outcomes.
The lessons she learned about the diverse nature of romance and the significance of genuine connection serve as a reminder that love can be found in unexpected places and takes many forms.
Loni’s story encourages us to embrace the journey of getting to know others, no matter where it leads, as each encounter has the potential to teach us something valuable.