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Photo by Donner MB

Tonight I’ll be meeting some travel community folks via an event with Matador Network and I’m like, super excited. It’s going to be like meeting TRAVEL CELEBRITIES ohemgee. I guess I get overzealous when it comes to stuff like this, but it’s only because the people I have met online have always been somewhere between incredibly awesome and incredibly awkward.

There are classy ways to meet people in person that you’ve met online. And then there are trashy ways of doing it. I almost always fall into the latter category. Presenting to you, a new notch in the “Trashy Travel” series:

Trashy Travel Confessions


I met him in a British chat room the spring before I lived in London. Usually I’d sit online trying to fuck with internet predators in hopes that if they were wasting their time being frustrated with by me, maybe they weren’t chatting inappropriately with underage teens. David seemed fairly normal though. He upfront told me he didn’t want to have cybersex (cool) and that he liked American girls because of their “moxie” (aka the fact that I was screwing with the minds of paedophiles and creepers). We decided to meet up in London when I got there.

Totally safe, right? Totally. No big deal. Yeah, he was from Croydon, yeah, he had a thick cockney accent, yeah, he said he’d run away to Greece one time after “gettin’ into a bit o’ trouble” and yeah, he had a distinctive scar across his nose after some knife fight that he got into in Cuba, but what the hell, I was a savvy traveller. I could take this guy on if he thought a little rape was involved.

We got together a couple of times, actually. He was a pretty stand-up guy – gregarious, sympathetic, generous with the gifts. On our first meeting, be brought me a British cell phone to use so I didn’t have to keep calling him from phone booths. Okay cool, I’ll give it back in the end, I thought. The second meeting, be bought me a steak dinner. I didn’t even need to give him a blow job for it! Our third meeting was the cherry on the cake though – he bought me a Prada bag.

Hot damn, I found myself a British Sugar Daddy.

I embraced David because he was so sincere about everything he did. I frequently told him to stop buying me shit because I wasn’t going to sleep with him in return for it, but he really didn’t seem to mind.

“I just want yew ta go back ta the states and tell all your mates how much fun yew ‘ad with a cool Bri’ish bloke,” he told me.

Okay cool, so I just got to London and I have this British guy who is crazy about me and maybe we’ll get married and have British babies and I’ll get dual citizenship, hooray! Amazing life at the age of 19!

Our fourth date was supposed to be dinner at the acclaimed Oxo Tower. For that, I’d consent to having sex in the bathroom at least. That place is faaaanCY. I never really knew what David did for a living though – he was pretty evasive on the topic of employment, but he said that his Grandfather owned property all across London and that he didn’t really work because his Grandfather just gave him money from that. Doesn’t explain why he was living in craphole Croydon but I figured he just liked being modest.

“Oh man, a real-life About A Boy situation!” I squealed inside. That is one of my favorite films. I’d met my Hugh Grant, the Ibiza bachelor who didn’t need to work and lived off a family member’s royalties.

Except that when we were supposed to dine at the Oxo Tower, he never showed up.

“That motherfucker stood me up!” I complained to my friends. I’d never been stood up before. This really pissed me off, too. You stand people up at the movies, or at a crappy diner, not in front of the friggin’ Oxo Tower.

I get a call the next day.

“Sorry love, I ran into a bit o’ trouble lawst night,” his voice is rushed, like he’s running. “Three men in blue suits came to me ‘ouse and banged on me door and I didn’t know ‘ho they were and I had to jump out of a second-story window and now I’m at me mum’s. I’ll call you later-”

He hangs up.

“Okay…” this is getting fishy. He calls me later and tries to explain again what’s going on, but all I can hear is,


He wasn’t yelling at me. He was yelling at someone else, someone chasing him, or someone that hit his car – I have no idea, but that’s when I ended our sordid affair. The men in blue suits were obviously cops, he was obviously on the run from something, and the reason he had enough money to buy me a Prada purse while unemployed was that he was obviously a drug dealer.

I tried to return the goodies to him, but he refused my offer. What was I supposed to do? So what, this Prada bag was bought in cocaine and heroin baggies? Don’t ask, don’t tell, right?

My theories were confirmed years later when, with increased use of Facebook, I decided to Google him. Low and behold, he had a Facebook account!

And he was updating his statues from jail.

Well, it could have been a lot worse. I could have gotten wrapped up in all his drug-dealery, I could have been molested, I could have been shot in the face. But I’m not going to lie, hanging out with David was a ton of fun and I got a European cell phone, a Prada bag, and some yummy dinners out of it. Meeting people from sketchy internet chat rooms is totally trashy, but at least it makes for a good story.