It’s over a year now since Diane and I met. I’m from the left coast, she’s from the right–California and Connecticut respectively. I was traveling the US in my motorhome and I’d been on the road over a year. During that time I’d been to Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, all the states along the southern coast and I was working my way up the eastern seaboard from Florida through Georgia and the Virginias on my way to Maine.
Before I go any further perhaps I should say this piece isn’t about the art of romance–candles and flowers, walks on the beach or whatever any particular person finds romantic. It’s not about what to say when, or how to approach the first kiss. It isn’t about what clothes to wear or the importance of grooming. It’s not about any of that. What this piece is about is the method I used to meet eligible women as I traveled around America.
Before I left my sticks and bricks home in California I had a profile on the dating web site OK Cupid. I’d been looking for a life partner for a long while. Over the years I’d met plenty of women via various dating web sites and I even had a few girlfriends I’d met that way, but nothing stuck for too awful long. Expecting to be away from home 6 months, maybe more, I took down my OK Cupid profile before I hit the road thinking that it wouldn’t be possible to date while I was out of town traveling. Makes sense. Right? I mean, developing a serious long-term relationship requires, at least for me, spending a lot of time with somebody over an extended period of time. Over the years I’ve come to believe that if I see someone two or three times a week that in 6 months or so I’m starting to get a feel for who they really are… starting to. As I approached the threshold of my great RV adventure it made sense to abandon any efforts toward establishing a relationship in which I wouldn’t be able to fully participate or nourish. I thought I’d pick that up again once I returned home from my trip. Sure, there is email and video-chat, text messaging and phone calls, but for me… I want face-time, in person, up-close and real-time contact.
Before too awful long as I traveled around, perhaps within a couple months, it started to look as if my trip was going to take longer than I’d originally thought. Fortunately, not having any reason I had to return home by a date certain and having the luxury of sufficient means I was in a position to extend my trip more or less indefinitely if that is what I wanted. As more time passed, yet well before I’d been traveling a year, I started considering the possibility of adopting the full-time RV lifestyle permanently. When I started thinking that way I started also to think that once I finished my goal of getting to all 50 states I might want to go around again but at a more leisurely pace, and with a sweetheart rather than by myself.
Being a believer that spending a significant amount of time with somebody is necessary–months if not years–before making a commitment to live together, in an RV or otherwise, it seemed an impossible task, traveling as I was, to build a relationship with someone to the point that sharing a life together would be a sensible option. How could I possibly accomplish that?
What I decided to do was to put up a new OK Cupid profile and periodically change the city I listed as my city of residence as I traveled around to a city I was planning to visit within a few weeks time. If I was planning to be in New Paltz, NY in a month, for example, I’d list that as my residence city and look for potential partners in that area. I was clear in my profile that the city listed as my residence was in fact not, that I was traveling but that I would be there soon. I wrote that if we spent the time between first contact and the time I arrived getting to know each other via email, phone or video-chat, for example, and if it went well, then we could meet when I arrived. If things continued to go well after meeting then I could alter my travel plans so as to extend my time in the area allowing us to get to know each other better. I had no clear plan beyond the possibility of spending a week or two, maybe more, in my potential partner’s area, and realized something would need to be devised if things went well.
Let me tell you what actually happened. I was in fact planning to be in New Paltz, NY to visit family. Prior to my arrival there Diane and I became acquainted via OK Cupid. She lived in Connecticut not far from New Paltz. We communicated for awhile which went well and we eventually arranged a meeting near her home as I was passing through from New Paltz on my way to Maine. Things continued going well and I wound up extending my stay in Connecticut for about 3 months so that Diane and I could spend more time together.
After I left Connecticut Diane and I stayed in touch. It was merely coincidence that prior to our meeting Diane had already made plans to sell her house, quit her job and move to the west coast to be near family in Washington. Things went well enough for me and Diane between the time I left Connecticut and the time she was ready to move, some 9 months later, that she decided to come to California instead of Washington so that we could be near each other and continue exploring relationship possibilities. This includes the possibility of traveling the USA as full-time RVers sometime in the future.
We’re on our way to the full-timing goal but still some distance from it. We need, for one thing, to figure out a way to produce income on the road and that it and of itself could take years. Meanwhile, we continue building our relationship, and you’ve seen the method I used in order to meet someone while traveling. Perhaps it can work for you too.
Update, March 2019. A few months ago Diane and I finished a 7 month, coast-to-coast-and-back, 15,000 mile RV trip. When I began this blog I owned a 30′ Class C which I have long since sold and replaced with a fifth wheel and pickup truck. We are now preparing for another RV trip of indeterminate length.
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