My first date in the Dominican Republic
When I matched on Hinge with a cute boy named Lucas + he invited me to the DR to meet him for a first date, it was pretty much an immediate “yes” for my adventurous, hopeless romantic soul.
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know all about Lucas G, the mystery man I coyly revealed over the first few days of my “first date in the DR” trip ~ the first day, I showed a hand, then the next day, a boomerang with a well-placed gif over his face, before finally revealing him on day four of seven (I had to make it fun, lol)
I can’t believe it’s already been over a month since that once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m excited to share the whole story with you now.
Read on for the backstory of how we initially met, first reactions, the experience living with a total stranger in a hotel room for seven days, and whether or not this spontaneous first date resulted in a love match.
Lucas + I initially matched on Hinge at the end of November, and started chatting on the app at the beginning of December. At the time, he was in Boston visiting his family for Thanksgiving, and I was here at home in LA (turns out we live about ten minutes away from each other so we must have matched before he left to the East Coast.) I was immediately attracted to his directness + transparency. He asked for my number after just a few exchanges on the app, expressed wanting to meet in person fairly quickly, and shared openly how he was a person who felt more comfortable in a relationship but that traveling so much for work put a strain on his dating life. I definitely got the sense that he wasn’t just on dating apps to date, and that he was a stand-up dude looking for a commitment. I appreciated this a lot, and was excited about seeing where things went.
I was equally as transparent about my dating life, my desire for a relationship, and shared that the travel wouldn’t be an issue if we were to date because I am a very independent person with a busy work schedule myself. I also shared that because I work for myself + can pretty much work anywhere in the world, traveling with him if we were to ever be in a relationship sounded appealing to me, and he agreed. This quickly escalated to a playful “aggressive proposal” as he put it, of inviting me to the DR. He explained that he was heading there for the next three weeks, and instead of waiting until he got back to LA in January, it might be fun + spontaneous to meet in a foreign country.
I requested a few snapchats (he has a very limited social media presence so I needed to see more pics!), and after two Facetimes + dozens of text messages over a span of two weeks, I was flying five hours across the country, fully masked up + sanitized, to a brief layover in Miami and finally, a two hour flight into the DR.
What if the chemistry we had over the phone didn’t translate to real life? What if the conversation went dry after the first day? What if we (or worse, one of us) just wasn’t feeling it? These were the questions that swirled around in my head throughout the seven hour journey to the DR, but my mind was immediately put at ease as soon as Lucas picked me up from the airport. His sweet + boyish charm immediately relaxed me, and conversation started flowing immediately. We got along, had a lot to talk about, and had immediate chemistry. The thirty-minute van ride from the airport back to the hotel flew by, and I was excited to chat more with him once we settled in + got comfortable.
Upon arriving back to the hotel, we enjoyed some drinks out on the hotel’s patio deck, and the combination of the warm tropical air, paired with hitting it off with a boy I had just met, the waterfall in the background, and the adrenaline rush of just getting off of a seven-hour flight literally had me feeling like I was living an episode of The Bachelorette ~ and I can honestly say that romantic feeling lingered over the course of the next seven days.
We talked about our careers, our life goals, our dating history, and what we wanted for the future. These honest + transparent conversations from the get go had us both feeling by the end of the trip that we had been dating for months. We both felt like we had covered so much ground + playfully said that we recommend everyone do this at least once in their lifetimes.
LIVING IN A HOTEL ROOM TOGETHER FOR 7 DAYS
Lucas had to attend baseball games pretty much every night, so we’d wake up + have breakfast together each morning, spend time at the pool enjoying drinks + conversation, explore a little, and he’d be off around 5pm or so while I was left to live my best life enjoying the hotel pool + restaurant, reading, ordering room service + watching music videos.
Because of COVID restrictions (When I first arrived in Santo Domingo, the curfew was 9pm, but after a few days it changed to 7pm) + safety, I couldn’t really go about town by myself once it got dark. He’d come back around 9pm, we’d have dinner + wine, and talk for hours + hours, oftentimes going to bed around 4am.
A few more trip highlights:
Staying at two stunning hotels in Santo Domingo. For the first leg of the trip, we stayed at the Renaissance Jaragua, near the coastal part of town, and moved to the JW Marriott for the last part of the trip, which is the more urban/city side of Santo Domingo. It was fun to get to experience both parts of the city
A day trip to Neptunos restaurant in Boca Chica! The restaurant was literally on the most beautiful turquoise water, and the view was amazing. We drank champagne + ate the best Paella I’ve ever had while seashell wind chimes swayed musically in the wind. It was seriously paradise
The time to unplug, relax + unwind! I brought my laptop on the trip, but didn’t end up working much. It was this trip that really reminded me about the art of relaxation was, and how important it is to mental health
WHERE WE ARE NOW
I know that by this point, you’re probably hoping that I’ll share that Lucas + I are happily dating but alas, dear reader, this is not how the story goes. Ha!
From day one of the trip, Lucas was transparent about his growing career, the goals he hadn’t attained yet, the uncertainty of his travel schedule, and his fears about these things getting in the way of fully committing to someone. However, as the trip progressed + we continued to mutually express feelings for one another, I did start to feel like some of these worries were being alleviated. I assured him that as a recovering overthinker myself, I understood where he was coming from.
We left each other at the airport on a high note (he, on his way back to Boston to spend the holidays with his family and me, back to LA), both excited to keep texting each other + making plans to see each other when he got back to LA.
After a few weeks though, i could sense his energy had shifted. He missed a few Facetime dates, I saw that he had changed his profile picture on Hinge, and my intuition told me something was up. I addressed it with him casually but directly, and he confessed that he was energetically backing off because he could sense things were getting serious between us + that the experience with me in the DR revealed to him how far he is in terms of being ready to really commit to someone.
Overall, this experience was fun, exhilarating, and memorable, and I’m so glad it happened. Would I do it again? Probably. Am I disappointed that this didn’t end in a love match? A little. But I know the universe works in mysterious ways, and I believe that every single thing that happens in our lifetime experience is for a bigger purpose.