Jeff and Clara met on an online dating site. And any similarity with a normal relationship ends there. Instead of quick drink in a local bar, or a trip to the cinema, Jeff wooed Clara with an extraordinary challenge: to spend three weeks travelling across Europe, without any luggage.
Jeff threw down the gauntlet in only his third message to Clara, and with little hesitation she accepted. The couple booked outbound flights, plus tickets home, and arranged the necessary visas, but that’s where their preparation stopped. They took only the clothes they stood up in, and the contents of a shoulder bag, and embarked on a mission to live spontaneously with minimal stuff and zero preparation.
Over the course of 21 days, the couple visited eight countries and developed a life-long connection, cemented by precious memories. And now they’ve gone public with their story, the pesky pair have seriously upped the bar for all other online daters.
If you fancy a change from first date monotony, but a European travelling trek is out of your league, there are cheaper, and safer options available.
Doing something spontaneous and random will rapidly uncover how compatible you are as a couple. Great fun comes from great company, so if you get on well, you’ll have a good time no matter where you spend the day. It also gives a great insight into your prospective partners personality. Are they an upbeat positivity junkie, willing to make the best of any situation, or a moany downer ready to pick up on the slightest imperfection.
But even spontaneity requires a little planning. Try to head somewhere public if it’s a first date, and don’t spend more money than you can afford to. Blowing a big budget on creating a great first impression may cause tension that spoils the atmosphere. And look for dates that have a natural conclusion, so you don’t need to part company by awkwardly glancing at your watch and announcing: ‘Welllllllll, I’d better be getting back’.
Pick a town to meet in, grab a what’s on guide, and pick at random an event to go to. Ask your date to pick a page number, and then ask which number listing on that page (without showing them the guide).
Spontaneous road trips are great fun, but jumping into the car of a complete stranger is a dangerous dating no-no. Keep your travel safe, by taking the train. In a romantic Hollywood movie, you would simply arrive at the train station and jump on the first train to pull in at the platform. In real-life, this approach most likely ends with the loved-up couple receiving a hefty fine for lack of tickets, so your train trip date will require a little less spontaneity, and a little more forethought.
Meet at a train station, and agree a maximum travel time. Then visit the kindly ticket office person, and ask them where you can get to within your agreed timeframe, and pay for valid tickets. To keep the illusion of spontaneity, hover just outside the station, then when your train arrives, run like crazy kids, to leap aboard, pretending you have just decided to catch the first train you see.
Grab a cool bag, head to your local supermarket, and shove everything you like to eat into the trolley. You now have everything you need for a spontaneous, gluttonous picnic. Settle down at your local park, and enjoy watching the world go by, while you stuff your face.
Whatever you choose to do on a first date, aim for a perfect balance of surprise and safety, and save the romantic getaways until you know each other better.