Sometime in the middle of December 2018, four o’clock in the morning in a hotel room in San Francisco, wide awake because of jet lag. What does the single woman (me) do? She installs Tinder and has a look at what’s going on in the western US. One after the other photo disappeared on the left display edge (for all non-Tinderers: this means “nope, no interest”). Too many big cars, too many suits, bare torsos and “I want to finally get settled and that’s what I need you for” (guys, seriously, first of all get settled with yourselves).
And then – a wonder – a bright spot in the Tindergarten: the profile of – let’s call him – Brendon. Brendon, 35, has been photographed at the wheel of his car. Long dark hair, beard, sunglasses, a dog’s nose protrudes into the left edge of the photo. The other photos show the single-man in-line skating at the coast, at work (he’s a carpenter, as he describes in the text) and with his dog. My sleepy eyes start getting more awake. In the text the next surprise: He describes himself as a person with a tendency to a nomadic lifestyle and he lives in his car. My I-want-a-Campervan-heart jumped in happiness and there goes the swipe to the right (for all non-Tinderers: that’s a “like”).
This cannot be a coincidence
Well, I continued my vacation as planned, visiting my host family in the Bay Area, drove 800 kilometers to Oregon, celebrated Christmas, and drove 800 kilometers back to the Bay Area. Two days before departure I realized: Brendon and I had matched a few days ago (for all non-Tinderers: this means we can now exchange messages). So, I texted him that unfortunately I’d be leaving the country in two days. We texted for a while and found out: I liked him in San Francisco. But we only got matched in Oregon. This means: We were in California at the same time and also in Oregon at the same time. We then quickly agreed that this can’t be a coincidence and we must meet necessarily. The only chance: between baggage check-in and security control. An airport date.
“It’s so easy”
He actually stood there when I arrived at the airport. Shortly afterwards we sat talking and drinking Chai tea and coffee in the most beautiful airport atmosphere. Brendon talked about lots of things – starting with living in his car, his dog living with him, and that he works until he has enough money to travel again.
This was the moment when it clicked. “It’s so easy”, was the thought that popped into my head. “Just do it”, was the one that followed. (I probably made a fool of myself when I was hanging on his every word with a goofy grin – Brendon, if you ever read this: I’m really sorry.)
“It’s so easy.” Work until I’ve got enough money to travel. For a long journey. To take a break. During a good nine hours flight I didn’t get these thoughts (and the man who triggered them) out of my head. And even before I arrived in Frankfurt, it was quite clear: I am going to fulfill my dream. To this day, I can hardly believe that having a good hour talking to a stranger has so fundamentally changed my life. Thanks, Brendon. (In case he ever gets to read this.)
You probably want to know what happened afterwards with Brendon and me. Well, there was a goodbye kiss and a firm promise to keep in touch. We actually did for a couple of weeks. There were one, two phone calls, long messages, photos giving an insight into the other’s life. But it got to the point where I felt the effort was more likely coming from my side. The contact broke off. But: Surprisingly only a couple of weeks ago there was a brief message. Tu cut a long story short: We will be in the Vancouver area at about the same time.
Whatever will be, will be
I am convinced that there is always a reason for why people step into our lives and that it is predetermined at which point in time they do so. For me, the encounter with Brendon was life-changing. I don’t know if I was an inspiration to him. I wanted to know so much more about him. Spatial distance, bad telephone connections and, of course, the lack of opportunity to talk face to face make acquaintance a challenge.
If it is meant to be, we will see each other again. In Vancouver or elsewhere. (And if this story becomes something, I will sell it to Tinder and earn so much money that I can travel for the rest of my life. :-P)