Let’s be honest, Tinder has earned a bad wrap. And most women looking for even a decent conversation wouldn’t be caught dead on the app.
But, ladies, when traveling abroad – Tinder can quickly become you’re best friend or even a lifeline, as it soon became for me.
Over six months ago, I packed up all of my things and decided to move to Bali, Indonesia. I had never been and didn’t know a soul on the island. Once I arrived, I began exploring the places I had researched (or basically eating my way around Bali). Life was great! But - as time started to pass, hanging out with myself became a bit boring. I wanted to meet people and it just wasn’t happening (very unusual for me as I am quite the social type).
Actually, I did meet one guy a few days into arriving, who called himself “Doctor”. He was a dentist who clearly thought highly of himself (I think there is an entire Seinfeld episode based on the topic of Doctor vs. dentist..lol). Anyhow, somehow by the end of the night, I ended up on a romantic dinner date with this dude, which for me, was just a little too fast and wasn’t feeling his 0-100 in 60sec approach. Also tried to top it off with an attempted make out session. Thanks, but, I’ll pass! I was really hoping this was not all Bali had to offer.
A few days later, I downloaded Tinder.
Tinder tip #1:
Perfect way to meet other solo travelers or a local who could possibly introduce you to a larger group of people/ friends.
Tinder tip #2:
Be sure to clarify what you are looking for (or in this case, most likely, what you are NOT looking for) before meeting up in order to avoid any awkward situations.
Tinder tip #3:
I have a general rule that if you didn’t take two seconds to write a little something about yourself, you are not interesting enough to swipe right.
Tinder tip #4:
Highly suggest being VERY thoughtful in your swipes. Never swipe right if you are unsure, if it takes you too long to think about which way to swipe, swipe left.
In my head, I imagined Bali as this magical place where only the tanned, 6’2 or taller surfers could enter. Just a whole bunch of chiseled bodies running around with surfboards and blonde hair. Ha! There may be a few of those in Bali, but boy did Tinder quickly dissolve that fantasy.
Continuing to swipe away, I matched with a few people. A guy I will call “S” had sparked up a conversation with, “such a shame, I just saw your height”. I replied, “you must be short”. After a bit of banter, he admitted his height to be at 5’7. I’ve had to sacrifice height my entire adolescence because I was always taller than all of the boys. So, height is usually non-negotiable for me. However, he kept the conversations fun, harmless and like myself he was also in Bali by himself. Making it clear that I had no interest in a short man, we continued to chat now and then and eventually met up for drinks.
Our “non” date was planned last minute as we were both in the same area in need of a few drinks to end our day. He looked just as he did in his photos (phew!) and his personality was awesome! We sat chatting for hours and he even joked with the waiter when he asked if “S” and I were on our Honeymoon, with a reply of “yes”. I love when a man isn’t too serious and can make me laugh. With “S”, it was non-stop laughter. After our fourth drink we decided to call it a night and I insisted on going Dutch on the bill to show that it was NOT a date. Lol. After dropping me off, he suggested we go surfing the next morning. So we met bright and early the next day, surfed for a few hours and then he, once again, dropped me home and said our goodbye with no more than a friendly hug.
That night, I got robbed. Two men on a motorbike snatched my bag from my lap while en route on a scooter to my villa. Not only was my phone, ipad, passport, credit cards, and cash stolen – but so were my villa keys. I had never felt so helpless. I was in a foreign country with no one to call and no way to get into my villa. Finally finding a police post and getting directions to a police station, the driver had offered to lend me his cell phone in order to call someone. I replied in tears “I don’t know anyone here and I don’t know anyone’s phone number”. As I quickly pulled myself together, I remembered I knew only ONE person in Bali, “S”.
I quickly got on the drivers phone and logged into my account in order to message “S”, quickly to find out that you can only message through the messenger app (and in order to do that you have to log in and verify your phone number etc.). So my only hope of having somewhere other than an Indonesian police station to sleep in, was to post an S.O.S comment on “S’s” page in hope’s that he would see it and even take it seriously enough to respond. Luckily, he did. Within the minute he called the phone number I left and asked if I was okay. While holding tears back, I explained what had just happened and asked if he could meet me at the police station. With no hesitation, he replied “of course!”. After spending a very awkward hour in the police station, “S” let me crash at his place until the next morning when I could get into my Villa.
Not only did “S” save me from a potentially even worse situation, but, his genuine kindness and help continued throughout the weeks to follow by helping me get my life re-sorted post robbery. At this point I didn’t know how to ride a scooter so I was solely dependent on him to drive me around getting a new phone, passport, and he even offered to lend me cash until I could get my credit cards replaced. Remember, we had only known each other 3 days at this point. But soon, he became a close friend that felt like we had known each other forever.
So, this post is dedicated to the man I met on Tinder, who literally saved my life. You have a big heart and kind soul. And, to all of the solo female travelers, don’t be afraid to get on Tinder while you are abroad. It has introduced me to so many people along the way and in turn, so many more experiences. Remember, happiness is a journey, not a destination ;)