November 2015, I wasn’t in the best place. I had been broken up with in early November and wallowed for a week or two. The relationship wasn’t good for me, and my self-esteem was at an all time low (excluding the puberty years), and my ex had yoyo-ed with me for the last month and then decided he didn’t want to date me after saying the opposite a week earlier. So, as one does, I tried Tinder for the first time. I still feel like it is a bizarre way to date, and it never felt right to me. I spent the first week making my friends swipe for me because I agonized over almost every profile. What if he was my soul mate?? I can’t evaluate him based on 2 lines of text and 4 pictures!! Arrgghh!
I did eventually go on dates with two guys I met on Tinder, but I had also booked a trip to Peru by myself to hike Machu Picchu. I just needed to get away and have some time apart from my ex (whom I couldn’t exactly avoid since he was my boss… I know, I had been very dumb). I booked a tour through G Adventures, but I bookended that itinerary with a day on each end by myself.
I flew into Lima the day after Thanksgiving and stayed at a hostel. I was greeted by a very friendly Singaporean girl, M, from the UK, also travelling by herself and had arrived a few hours before I did. M had met a couple of guys from our room who were going out for drinks later and asked if I wanted to join. A few pisco sours later, we met the guys at the hostel’s rooftop bar, chatted a bit, and then went to the club. One of the guys, N, was my upper bunk mate and his opening line to me was, “Watch out, I’m going to snore and wet the bed.” Charming. After the club, M and I went to the McDonald’s across the street from our hostel for some drunk food (and our first meal in Peru, classy).
The next morning, I had to get my hung over self to the airport and fly to Cusco where the travel company would pick me up and handle everything from there on. N also needed to get to Cusco and, over breakfast, booked the same flight as me. We shared a doubly hungover cab ride to the airport, and he turned out to be much better than his one liner to me the night before. Originally from New York, he had spent the last few years working in Central America, and he was taking a few months off before he started a 1 year MBA program in Switzerland. He sat in the row behind me on the flight, and then we exchanged info before I was whisked off in a van to join my tour group.
I’ll skip the 5 day tour part, as that’s a whole other story but it was so cool, if any of y’all are interested in hiking Peru. After checking out Machu Picchu during the day, I met up N and his friend for drinks during my last night in Cusco. He used to be a guide back in Guatemala and wanted to hear about my first real hiking experience. His friend eventually left, and we stayed a while longer at Norton’s Pub throwing darts, talking about (and drinking) whiskey, and just enjoying each other’s company. It got late and the streets were empty, so he walked me back to my hotel, and as we approached the entrance, he turned me around and kissed me. In the rain. 😍
The next morning, we strolled to the local market and got fresh juice and breakfast before I took off to the airport. I wished him luck with his MBA and lots of fun on his next stop, Bolivia, and that was that. But when I landed back in Lima, I turned on my phone and saw this message from N:
“If I made it to Lima tonight, could I see you there?”
“I didn’t wait for your answer – I decided to come back to Lima tonight – I’d love to see you again before you go”
My friends are split in two camps, one (smaller) camp that thinks that move was stalkerish, and the other camp that thinks that move was sooo romantic. Lucky for N, I fell in the second camp. I spent another night with him enjoying the festive holiday atmosphere and wandering around Lima. The next morning, I flew out and, for the second time, thought I would never see him again.
A few days later while I was moping about being back home, N asked if I was crazy enough to go to New York for a few days and spend New Year’s with him before he left for Switzerland. I said I would love to and, with much difficulty, sorted out my work schedule. The next few weeks, N and I kept in touch whenever he had Wi-Fi because he was traveling around Peru for a few more weeks before he went back to New York for Christmas. My friends had to deal with my non-stop gushing about him, and for that, I thank them and apologize. I know for sure I was very annoying.
Well, before I went to see an almost stranger and his family for a few days, I may have Googled N and set up 2 or 3 backup plans (thank you C, R, and J!) in case N turned out to be a serial killer. Good news, N is not a serial killer. His family was the sweetest, and we spent a “romantic” New Year’s Eve in a nearly deserted bar on Long Island. When he flew out to Switzerland, for the third and final time, I thought I would never see him again.
Fortunately, I liked him enough, and I think he liked me enough too, that we saw each other when we could. I had saved up enough credit card points and had a flexible enough work situation, where I was able to visit Switzerland four times in 2016, and N was even able to visit Texas twice as well.
In September, N got several great offers. In October, he accepted Amazon’s offer in Luxembourg. In January, both of our visas were approved. In February, we both came to Luxembourg to find an apartment, and N started his new job. I returned back to Austin to move out and wrap up with my job. In March 2017, I moved to Luxembourg and started my great adventure.
TL;DR Met a guy in Peru while I was traveling solo after a breakup. Spent a year cross-Atlantic long distance dating. Moved to Luxembourg to start new lives together.