Dating and Relationships
Once again, I wake up far too late. I have no idea what’s happening or why it takes me so long to fall asleep each evening, but it’s starting to really annoy me. As soon as I’m awake, however, I pull on some clothes and leave my flat to get a coffee and go for a walk down Regent’s Canal. Weekends are so crowded on the canal that sometimes I skip this route all together if I can. With bicycles, prams, and dogs thrown into the mix, the walkway is teeming with people who all seem to have the same brilliant idea: congregate directly in the middle of the path to check their phones, oblivious to the individuals that want to pass. One guy even refuses to move out of my way after I say “Excuse me,” and for a split second I picture him pushing me into the canal (this must have happened to someone, and let me tell you… Regent’s Canal is RANK. It looks pretty, but that water is a festering cesspit of duck poop, broken bottles, old bicycles, used condoms, and, I’m not kidding, body parts. OK, once they found body parts in the canal, but still. RANK. I walk along it every day and every day I think, “Well, today’s the day I fall in, catch dysentery or some old-timey disease that’s been eradicated in the developed world, and meet a grisly end.” That being said, when it’s not as crowded, it’s one of my favourite routes to walk in London).
When I get home I do some work, make some food, and check Tinder to see how the conversation between Cute Boy and I is going.
I wake up with one of the worst hangovers I can remember having. No, wait a second, I had an equally bad hangover in the Netherlands in November, when I spent an entire evening drinking sugary cocktails and shots of bourbon. And… yeah, scratch that, because I woke up the day after Boxing Day with a splitting headache, too, a result of a night of beer pong and margaritas that were purely tequila and a few squeezes of lime. Shit.
I’m pretty sure the first step of realising you’re addicted to something is denying that you have a problem, but, despite the three stories I just told you, I am not addicted to alcohol. I don’t drink every day. I (again, despite those three stories) rarely drink to excess or to “get drunk”. There is no alcoholism in my family. I’ve never “blacked out” or not been able to remember what I’ve done while drinking. Other than my birthday last year, when I drank sparkling wine with breakfast, the thought of drinking in the morning or on an empty stomach makes me want to hurl. I’d say I drink the average amount for a 30-something in London: a couple of glasses of wine with dinner a few times a week, and maybe a night or two in the pub where I have a few beers or spirits.
But oh, how I love alcohol. I really do. So why am I giving it up for January?
The first time I was ghosted, I didn’t understand what I had done wrong.
I met Chris in a little cocktail bar one rainy night in London (sidenote: my best friend has demanded that I never again date a guy called Chris… I’m cursed with guys called Chris). We had a fantastic date, one of my best ever, and it culminated with both a passionate kiss and an invitation to a second date. He texted me on the way home.
“I can’t stop smiling…,” he wrote, and oh my god, there is no better feeling than getting that text after making out with a ridiculously hot, ridiculously intelligent journalist named Chris, let me tell you.
Over the next couple of days, we texted back and forth and made plans for our upcoming dinner date. And then, the day before, I texted him to confirm what time we were meeting. No response. That seemed a bit strange, but I tried not to let it bother me until the next day. By lunchtime – I would assume we were meeting only a few hours later – I texted again. Yes, oh yes, the dreaded double-text. But I was kind of worried, and very confused.
“Hey,” I texted. “Are we still on for tonight?”
And that, dear friends, is when I encountered my first ghost.
The last time I saw you, you were walking away from me, your hair shining blue-black in the streetlights. I had turned back to wave again, but you didn’t, and so all I saw was the back of you, disappearing into the night.
We met at a beach party on another continent, a place where the water turned smooth as glass. The night we met the moon shone low, turning the sand a pale grey.
“You don’t need salt,” I said to you, reaching for the salt shaker in your hand. Those were my first words to you, leaning up against the bamboo bar.
“Oh, I don’t?” you replied, the shot of tequila in your hand full to the brim. You smiled a wicked smile, your teeth flashing like the Cheshire Cat.
“No, you don’t. It will taste better without salt, trust me.” I was flirting with you, my hand still lingering on top of yours, both of us holding on to the salt shaker, neither of us breaking eye contact. I was wearing a long turquoise dress; it brought out my tan and my blue eyes. I felt good that night. I felt like flirting with you, the most handsome man at the bar.
Just last week, I wrote about the benefits of solo travel, that is, travel you do on your own. As I mentioned in that post, solo travel can be one of the best things you can do for yourself – it causes you to learn, to grow, to reflect, and, well, to have a ton of fun.
But what about single travel? I’m defining this as travelling while single, whether you are solo or with a friend or in a group. What are the benefits of travelling while single?
When I received an email from a reader last week with the title “How did you choose?”, I knew instantly it was going to be about choosing travelling over a) a “steady” career b) an education or, most likely, c) a relationship. In her words:
“I have thought about the pros and cons for all of these. The main thing on my mind is, with the last two options, I would most likely become single. I would hate to not be able to travel just because my boyfriend wants to settle down, but I also worry about never finding someone if I keep moving around.” Turning 26 soon, Rebecca told me that many of her friends are in serious relationships or engaged/married. At the end of the email, she wrote, “And so, after all that, my question to you is… how has your choice to keep travelling affected the boyfriend/marriage path of life?”