I have a theory about holidays and relationships. I think a weekend away is the perfect relationship test; for a boyfriend, for a friend or a group of mates. Last year, when I announced I was going abroad with a guy I had been dating for not very long, my friends and family thought I’d regret it. However, I was in the middle of my Europe12in12 challenge so it was an excuse to visit another country and I knew the holiday would be make or break. Whatever happened, I would know if the relationship had a future or not.
It didn’t work out – but I was happy with that because the holiday had made it clear that we weren’t compatible. I believe that you show your “true self” when you’re on holiday; you see all the best and worst parts of a person. Do you crave the same experiences? Do they annoy you in the mornings? Do you end up bickering at the airport? A holiday together is the best way to find out.
So when London based CLiKD App were looking for bloggers to come to a speed dating event with the chance to win a mystery European city break with ATO Tours with your top match, I knew I just had to say yes. It almost felt like the next logical challenge in my mission to “experience everything!”
I arrived at my first ever speed dating, nervous and already regretting my outfit. I instantly gravitated towards the other girls and met fellow blogger Amanda Bootes in real life for the first time. We had to fill in all of the guys’ “CLiKD Questions” in advance, before sitting down to meet anyone. The USP of the CLiKD App is you set three “this or that” questions as part of your profile. Any prospective matches have to get 2 or 3 of your questions right to be able to talk to you – and you have to answer their questions right too. It’s a good way of breaking the ice, starting conversation and also, if you set the right questions around your “non-negotiables,” you can narrow down your matches pretty quickly.
So I had already narrowed down my matches before I’d even sat down. Now, it was time for the speed dating. If you haven’t tried speed dating, you are given a number and sit at this table. After just three minutes, a bell rings and the men stand up and move along one table onto the next lady. This repeats until everybody has met each other. Surprisingly, I loved it and I talked about all sorts of topics, from travel (of course) to the strangest thing I’ve ever eaten (3D printed food) to the General Data Protection Act (I know!)
After every three minutes of conversation, I had to answer the question “would you go on holiday with this person?” with a “yes” or a “no.” That’s a pretty big question to answer after just a few minutes! At the end of the night, everyone’s answers to both our ClikD Questions and the speed dating were complied and… I was one of the winning couples! I was going on holiday with a stranger called Michael…
Going on holiday with a stranger who you have spoken to for exactly three minutes sounds much crazier when you type it. I’m used to travelling solo or with bloggers I’ve never met or only spoken to on the internet, but it’s a little bit different when that holiday is a date.
We met at the airport on Friday afternoon, with our bags packed for a mystery getaway and an envelope which enclosed our tickets and details of our destination. We nervously asked a stranger to film us opening the envelope which revealed that we were heading to Santander in Northern Spain! It was somewhere I would never have chosen, which I was pleased with, because I didn’t want to be sent to an obvious destination, like Paris or Rome. Somewhere which is a hidden gem was exactly what I wanted and Santander was the perfect choice (a full guide will be on the blog soon!) Before we knew it, we were on the plane and jetting off to Spain for the weekend.
As soon as we arrived, we dropped our bags at our AirBnb and headed out to dinner. We knew we had things in common, thanks to our CLiKD tests, but our first dinner together was the real test. Luckily, conversation flowed and we discussed everything from the Cambridge Literary Festival, working for a not for profit, Sunderland United, tips for travelling Asia and a mutual love for Ed Miliband.
It’s an intense way to get to know somebody, spending a whole weekend alone together in a brand new environment. Santander is a quiet place for a weekend away, so if we hadn’t got on the three days would have been pretty awkward! Luckily, we both loved our food and wine and so spent the weekend trying every type of pintxos we could get our hands on, washed down with cold, crispy white wine. Before we knew it, Sunday had arrived and we headed back to the airport and back to reality.
So now the answer to the question everyone has asked me – will I see him again? In short, no – but it’s not a disastrous ending. Although I still believe that a holiday is the ultimate relationship test, it doesn’t mean that reality is simple. Our whirlwind experience hasn’t blossomed into anything in the UK but for me, I would rather my Date Escapes adventure remains just that; an experience that I don’t regret for a moment.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the search of love? Would you ever go on a mystery holiday as a date with a stranger?