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How a trip to valencia changed my dating style.

When traveling, the last thing I think of is dating. This isn’t because I don’t want to date, but instead, I thought the obvious thing to do was save your love life for back home, so if the relationship blossomed, that special someone is close to where you live or work. Well, that’s what I’ve always believed in.

I live in the UK and for many of my girlfriends and I, meeting someone new always tends to start online – whether through social media or dating apps. This often becomes repetitive and takes the fun out of dating. Sure, we’re out in London and frequent galleries, comedy shows, bars and restaurants, but the days of approaching a stranger and exchanging numbers seem to be the focus of the archive as we focus on “swipe right” and “send direct.”

I built myself up to the realities of modern dating; This was until I went on a solo trip to Valencia. Spain opened my eyes to a new perspective and brought me back to a more straightforward way of meeting people. One evening, I was having dinner outdoors in the heart of Valencia. It was a lively place; Tables filled up, the streets were teeming with tourists, and street performers roamed around, giving diners much to admire.

In the middle of my meal, a man sat at the empty table next to me and asked for my opinion of the food. What started with my views on paella quickly turned into a fun “getting to know you” conversation where we revealed our countries of origin, why we were in Valencia, and what we did for a living. Hours later, after our pleasant meeting, we both wandered through the main square and finally exchanged numbers. Back at my hotel, he later texted me to ask me to have dinner the next night, and I agreed.

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Proceed to the next night as I began preparing to meet him at the Plaza de La Virgen, a popular venue for the Turia Fountain and the Grand Cathedral of Valencia (not to mention a wide open space for performers). My history proves to be beautiful: a doctor from Sweden is visiting Valencia for a work-related training course. We had a wonderful evening. While we knew things wouldn’t get past this perfect moment, I was grateful for his company.

Nancy Lova

Earlier in the day, I was having lunch at the same restaurant where I met my Swedish doctor when I closed my eyes with another handsome man. Was in a hurry to get somewhere and walked in, but after a few minutes – halfway through stuffing my face with a salad – the man came back and asked the waitress if he could join me. He began with praises and explained that he was also visiting Valencia from France, and asked more about me. We engaged in simple conversation, exchanged numbers, and then, with a few letters, agreed to meet the following evening.

We had dinner together in a quiet part of Valencia in an attractive restaurant with Spanish music and delicious delicacies. My French was terrible, but luckily his English was good, and we got to know each other well enough to want to continue the night together. We just walked around town talking and laughing, enjoying ice cream while people watching late at night. It was a simple date but a healthy one that I often think about again.

5 tips for meeting people while traveling

I’ve been approached by people on my travels before, but I’ve been closed off, and I think dating abroad is somewhat meaningless. Now, I’m thinking about the advantages of dating abroad and how my actions made these encounters possible.

Look for

One of my rules was to make time away from the camera. My travels revolve around my work in photography, but this can take me away from the moment and make me seem unapproachable. For example, in Valencia, I usually take the shots I need first thing in the morning when the streets are less crowded. By lunchtime, I was back at my hotel to get ready for the rest of the day and head to the sites.


Full immersion in the city was another thing I did to be more open. No matter that I was on my own, I enjoyed the city as if I had company. I had drinks at a rooftop bar one afternoon, and another day, relaxing on the beach. When it came to food, I didn’t sit at quieter tables in restaurants and shy away from the back but instead opted for lively places. Being in the moment is key, so I avoided any distraction from my phone and admired what was going on around me, engaging in conversation with other locals and visitors.

package accordingly

When I tell my friends about my time in Valencia, they ask me if I’ve packed clothes for the night, and the short answer is yes, I did. Maybe not for a date, but just in case I’m going somewhere nice. I like to be prepared for different occasions or circumstances such as bad weather or a visit to a fancy bar. This is not to really impress others but to make me feel confident in the settings I am in and, on this occasion, has allowed me to feel comfortable during dates.

Nancy Lova

be open minded

It is always refreshing to meet people from different countries. What better way to expose yourself to other cultures, traditions, and religions than to meet someone from the outside? Dating abroad is an adventure in itself. Sure, there’s the long-distance issue if things go forward, but there are benefits, too. Benefits like staying in touch can feel like an ongoing adventure, as you always remember your romantic romance and look forward to meeting soon in some remote country. Imagining living abroad starts to come in handy when you expose yourself to someone else’s lifestyle.

Get romance

Finally—and my favorite reason for being late abroad—is that you feel like the main character of a romantic movie as you step away from reality and immerse yourself in the excitement of meeting someone new and an emerging romance. Plus, why limit yourself to dating locally when you can open yourself up to more opportunities? From what I’ve heard from friends who have met their spouses abroad, it’s that brief and unexpected vacation romance that can seal the deal and keep the adventure alive once it’s committed.


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