I'm a former professional matchmaker who found love while traveling solo - here's why it prepared me for a strong long-term relationship
Courtesy of Olivia Balsinger
- Olivia Balsinger is a writer, traveler, and former professional matchmaker.
- She spent years solo traveling around the world, and it taught her a lot about how to be in a relationship.
- Traveling tested Balsinger's sense of adventure, bravery, self-confidence, and, most significantly, self-love - attributes that are all extremely important to develop before jumping into a relationship.
- After spending half a decade counseling clients on love, she found her own at an Irish pub in Bangkok.
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Almost two years ago, I sat wearing wrinkled elephant pants and sipping Chang beer outside an Irish pub on Khao San Road in Bangkok. I had spontaneously purchased a one-way ticket to Southeast Asia in an "Eat, Pray, Love," moment of inspiration, typical of my chaotic, perpetually nomadic (and perpetually single) lifestyle. I had been strung along, spit out, and washed ashore again in the romance department and swore I was taking a sabbatical from love. My number one rule for the trip was no romance. However, like most rules, this one was subject to change.
I motioned to the waitress to ask for the check for my beer. She pointed to a tall, handsome man sitting across the room from me, and said he had already paid for my drink.
And that's when the fairy tale began. I was supposed to head to Bali the next night on assignment, and he had only just arrived in Thailand that afternoon on his first solo trip (his name was Jonathan, from Denmark). But from the moment he pulled his chair up to my table, we knew.
Fast forward to today: I have since moved to Copenhagen with him, am in the process of acquiring a new citizenship, and we've explored 17 countries together (with dozens more on our radar.)
When we met, I was working as a successful matchmaker at Tawkify, one of the most coveted firms in the country. I had spent half a decade emphasizing to clients that there is no such thing as love at first sight and that feelings take time to grow and mature. Yet at that moment in Bangkok, everything I thought I knew was squashed. Here's what solo traveling taught me about finding a soul mate.