That time I ran away with a stranger.

Three months ago, I met a stranger and ran away to Portugal with him for nine days.

I had been single for four years – so single in fact, that I even attempted to make a career out of it (please see all blog posts pre-April 2017). I was like the Taylor Swift of the online dating community – I was dating basically everyone, and I had a pet cat.

We met via Bumble; if you’re not familiar with the app, it’s a bit Tinder, but it has a higher calibre of babes and less people with foot fetishes. If you’re not familiar with Tinder, then please crawl out from that hole you’re living in.

Anyway, I got talking to this boy after he fell for one of my many witty one-liners. He was 28, a chef, and owned a Carhartt t-shirt.

I will be honest, I spoke to a lot of boys on apps, and conversations started to morph into one big script of depressing loneliness and gif swapping. I couldn’t tell you exactly what we spoke about now, but I can tell you that he was adamant we would never meet. He also continuously complained about crashing his BMW after swerving to avoid a herd of deer the night before. Three things struck me in this moment:

1. He really wants me to know he drives a BMW
2. He is complaining a lot
3. He did not kill any deer. He must be a nice(ish) person

With little persuasion, we met the next day. It (literally) was not the smoothest of entrances. I’d been staying at my parents’ house for the past week, so I made my grand arrival dragging a suitcase across the pub-garden decking. I imagine I looked like 1). a mail-order bride and/or 2). a foreign exchange student.

My first observation was that I really liked his hat. My second observation was that I liked his entire outfit, but I wasn’t sure about the shoes. My third observation was that the shoes were actually okay. My fourth observation was that he didn’t say much; in fact, he said so little that I began to find him quite passive aggressive.

As I grew increasingly meaner and drunker, his aloofness turned to attraction.

The chef was driving (a courtesy car that was not a BMW), so I continued to drink for the both of us. I think it took about three-hours before I kissed him in-front of the mens’ toilets. I was on the clock, and had to make the 12.51am train back to London, but with every gin & tonic, the prospect of jumping on the vomit-comet to Liverpool Street became less and less attractive. And then he offered me a lift home.

I was torn – I wanted the night to continue, but would he expect something in return? After about 13 seconds of deliberating, I accepted.

He dropped me home, where we listened to Kisstory and repented for our sins. The next night, we did a similar thing, except we ate pizza and drank champagne whilst doing it.

By Sunday morning things were coming to an inevitable end. We pillow-talked about his pending holiday to Portugal, and jovially willed that I could join him too. Scrolling through Sky Scanner, our joviality fastly turned into a possibility.

Without sounding like a cliché, I expected nothing from it. It was exciting, but I knew the position I’d placed myself in by breaking the three-date rule (a rule made up by someone who did not lead an exciting life).

For one reason or another, I told him it wasn’t going to happen. We’d known each other for less than two days, and I didn’t want to become the subject of a Daily Mail headline: ‘British Girl Beheaded In Portugal By Man She Had Known For 48 Hours’.

And so, he left. I told him we’d meet when he was was home, but I don’t think either of us really held much hope.

Of course, you already know that’s not the end of the story, because you read the title.

What had I to lose? Other than my life, of course. I was killing time between jobs, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to face the reality of moving. So I booked it – five days in Porto and Lisbon, where I would bid him farewell as he continued his break in Lagos.

After texting half my address book – “what’s the likelihood he’s actually going to kill me?” – we met at 6am in Stansted Airport. I was all too aware of how terribly wrong this could go, but I let George Michael’s words resonate (God bless his sweet soul); you’ve gotta have faith.

I’m 796 words in now, and I probably lost half of you at 140 characters. There’s a lot to be said about those nine days, but I’ll break it down for you.

1. Not being murdered
2. Drinking aged-port on a balcony overlooking Porto
3. Cancelling my flight and driving to Lagos with him
4. Eating a sea snail
5. Fancying him

1. Getting food poisoning and being banished to a tiny Airbnb toilet for over an hour, as he lay in the conjoining room
2. Wearing a back brace in sweltering heat
3. Saying goodbye after spending 12 consecutive days together (and with that, I just vomited up my dinner.)

It’s been 70 days since we got home, and although the harsh reality of life-logistics has hit, he still hasn’t murdered me – nor me him. Surely that’s a positive?


Twitter: @PippaBugg
Instagram: @PippaBugg

Images via Giphy.

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Some things I think about

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