Loni James' journey to date someone in every country she visits is a remarkable one, full of adventure, surprises, and cultural firsts. Her story is one of seizing the moment and making the most of life, inspired by the tragedy of her mother's battle with early onset Alzheimer's.
James' decision to go on a solo journey was not an easy one, and it was not without sacrifices.
She saved for two years before her mother's death, moving from Seattle to Spokane to cut costs and renting a cheaper apartment with a roommate. She sold all of her possessions, including her car, to finance her trip and moved in with her parents to spend time with her sick mother during her final days.
Although James did not get a chance to share her travel plans with her mother before she died, she remembers a key piece of advice her mother gave her years ago before Alzheimer's stole her ability to communicate. Her mother told her to make sure she found a partner who loved travel as much as she did.
James' international journey has coincided with an increase in solo travel, spurred in part by the pandemic. Google searches for "solo travel" were more than three times higher in March 2022 than they were in March 2020 in the United States. Many travelers have discovered the benefits of solo travel, such as flexibility, freedom, and personal growth.
While it's not unusual for solo travelers to find romance and friendship, it's rare to date someone in every country you visit. But James has thrown herself into the experience, embracing the good and the bad. She stays in hostels and Airbnbs or with friends and friends of friends, always leaving room for spontaneity.
James has learned that romance comes in many forms and that it doesn't have to be expensive or follow a certain formula. For her, it's about connection and intentionality, the person who listens to her, seeks to make her feel special, and wants to know her thoughts and get to know her.
James' journey has taken her to 19 countries so far, where she's gone on 34 first dates. Each date has been memorable, even the bad ones, and she says that all of them have taught her something. Her journey has also taught her the value of going on a date and being grateful that someone opened up and shared their story with her.
As James continues on her journey to date someone in every country, she's likely to encounter even more surprises, cultural differences, and romantic moments. But no matter what happens, she's grateful for the experience and the opportunity to make the most of life.