Posts in this series
What is Bumble?
It’s an app founded by Whitney Wolfe, one of the co-founders of tinder. She broke off and started her own app to create a healthier online dating environment for women. I can’t say she totally succeeded (jerks will always be jerks), BUT one of the biggest differences is that women are in control with bumble. Males and Females both swipe through potential matches, but once a connection is made, only women can initiate conversation. So what is travel bumble? Simply using the app while abroad, or traveling wherever you might be.
Just because the designer had good intentions when she created this app does not mean that all people using it are in fact good people. There is no background check nor moral compass for being accepted into these apps. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable while chatting, simply block and report them. ALWAYS meet in a public place and let someone know where you’re going. When I solo travel, I am far less likely to play on the dating apps, but my most recent trip was a girls only Friendsgiving. I’m going to share with you our experience doing Travel Bumble in Barbados!
Travel Bumble in Barbados
This year, instead of celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving, I flew down to Barbados with two of my girlfriends! The first night I arrived just before dinner to meet one friend and the other was due to arrive in the middle of the night. We grabbed drinks, had some dinner, and headed back to the hotel room to chill. While catching up on the basics – email and instagram – my attention drifted off into the dating app folder. I’ve deleted some of the more mainstream apps like Tinder and OKcupid, but I keep Bumble on my phone. A lot of my friends in the US have told me they have never heard of bumble, so I didn’t expect it to be a great success in Barbados, but I thought I would try it before potentially downloading tinder again (which I might be guilty of doing while I was in Switzerland).
So what did we find when playing travel bumble? I had to alter my settings to make sure I was matching with the entire island. It’s hard to get around Manhattan, so I typically keep my distance short and my age range tight. In Barbados, we decided to be a little more adventurous! A couple of New Yorkers on vacation, a few British and Canadian men, some locals, some expats, and a crazy Australian. There were probably only about 25-30 men on the app on the island of Barbados. As Kate and I swiped through the men on the app, we discussed them one by one. We have a somewhat similar type (we’ve maybe accidentally dated the same man before…oops).
Within an hour or so we had some matches and we started some conversations. She met a New Yorker about 15 minutes down the road in Oistins, in Barbados for some surfing. They made a tentative plan to maybe meet up during the week or at least when they were both back in New York. I matched with a guy who invited me to this place called Cafe Sol. I had heard of it, but I wasn’t really sure just how far away it was or what kind of scene we would find there. It was a Sunday night after all. We had an early morning pick up for our snorkel and sailing excursion the next day, so we laid low, turned our bumble off, and got a good night of sleep.
The next day when we returned to the hotel after our excursion, we decided to check our travel bumble. I had a few new messages and a few new matches. Each day one or two new arrivals on the island popped up. Again, the conversation took us back to Cafe Sol. Now that the full team was here, we decided to say yes! The guy I was chatting with wasn’t a native but had lived on the island for about ten years. He was hosting friends and planned to bring them to Cafe Sol later that evening. It was perfect, a giant group date!
The First Travel Bumble Date
After our dinner, we headed to the now infamous Cafe Sol (apparently the place where all good nights begin in Barbados). Cafe Sol is a Mexican restaurant and bar located at the beginning of St. Lawrence’s Gap, also known as “the gap”. If you walk along this street you will find several other bars and restaurants. The street is best known for its nightlife, and one of the best party places on the island. So it’s only fitting this is where our Travel Bumble adventure would begin.
After a short time the guy from Travel Bumble showed up and said hello. We chatted a bit, and one by one his friends started filing in. There was the Canadian visiting for a long weekend, a firefighter, a chef, a magazine editor. It was a never ending parade of men. We were outnumbered 3:1. We really hit the jackpot on this one! More than enough men for all of us, and all handsome and polite as well. A nice change up from our day to day in New York City where dating might be better referred to as self torture.
After a few rounds of 2 for 1 rum punches the guys invited us to join them down the road at one of their other favorite bars in the gap. They claimed there are only three places worth going in the Gap: Cafe Sol, Hal’s, and Old Jamm Inn. Hal’s is an illegal karaoke bar with cheap and strong drinks. It was our next stop. However, being that Hal’s is technically squatting and not an actual bar, it has no bathroom (It kind of reminds me of Cyril’s in Amagansett — I feel a blog post coming on parking lot bars around the world). So it wasn’t long before I ventured over to Old Jamm Inn to check it out. Old Jamm Inn is a live music venue with a ton of indoor space and a large outdoor deck.
Kate really hit it off with one of the friends. Before we knew it, they were dancing the night away until Ashley decided she was tired and needed to call it a night. We swapped numbers and said our goodbyes and headed home for the night. One of us madly in love with a firefighter.
Travel Bumble Take 2
The next night I had dinner with the girls at a lovely restaurant in the Gap called Cocktail Kitchen. The guys agreed to meet up with us again on Tuesday since their friends were still visiting and it was their last night to party before heading back to the cold. When I asked where we would be going, the answer was the same as the night before. Cafe Sol, Hal’s, Old Jamm Inn. While we were having post dinner drinks, we ran into a couple of guys from the UK visiting for a wedding. One of them was quite smitten by Ashley, so Kate and I entertained the friend while they chatted. He was a nice enough guy, but neither one of us were particularly interested in anything romantic with him. We were just trying to be friendly while his friend was occupied.
That night Ashley was leaving to go home for Thanksgiving, so when she left to grab her bag we suggested the guy walk her home, but our driver would drop him back at the bar to meet up with his friend again on the way to the airport. Well, Ashley went to the airport, but the friend never came back and we were stuck with his buddy. We entertained him for a bit and I even bought him a beer, but once I realized the friend should have been back, I called the taxi driver to see what happened to him. The taxi driver informed me that he went home. I told this to his buddy and helped him find a taxi, but he refused to leave.
He proved to be a total cockblock, and my travel bumble date ended up driving the poor guy home because he wouldn’t leave us alone!!! Not exactly how I wanted the night to end, but I was so relieved to have met this wonderful group of guys the night before. It would have been truly unpleasant getting rid of the buddy on our own. Been there, done that. And this is why I included the safety disclaimer. There is strength in numbers, and you should always be careful. This young man became quite angry and belligerent after he was drunk, rejected by two women, and abandoned by his friend. Our Travel Bumble friend really saved the day (or night) on this one.
Wanderlust Wednesday in Barbados & Match #2
Tuesday didn’t exactly end the way we had hoped, but Wednesday was a brand new day. The handsome firefighter picked Kate and me up for lunch. He took us to one of his favorite beach bars, but unfortunately it rained ALL day. That didn’t stop us from having a good time. Later he took us to his apartment to chill, listen to music, and drink some whiskey. As a New Yorker, I am slightly obsessed with real estate, so it was pretty awesome to see an actual apartment in Barbados! After an afternoon of fun, Kate and I went to a lovely dinner at Cafe Luna in Oistins.
If you’re in Barbados, you should probably check out Harbor Lights. Depending on your speed, you might opt for the dinner show with a Bajan buffet. At the advice of the locals we met through Bumble, we opted for the nightlife party scene, with an all you can drink open bar for $30 US (60 Bajan). Kate’s date picked us up, and we met up with a group of his friends. Some we had met before, and a few new ones, including some rugby players. My bumble friend was not there when we arrived, but the crazy Scottish man from the night before was! I pretended I didn’t see him, and stuck close to our group.
Eventually I needed a little break from the dance floor, and I took a seat at a table off to the side. I was not sitting there but a minute when a tall handsome fellow approached me and asked if I remembered him. I thought perhaps he was the lobster diver I met on my snorkeling excursion, they long sandy blonde hair looked familiar. But no, he was my second travel bumble match. He apologized for not responding to my message, but claimed he ran out of data? Not sure I’m buying that story, but it was nice to meet him as I needed someone to entertain me while I gave the love birds some space!
Later in the night, my Travel Bumble friend did show up at Harbor Lights. Since Kate & her man had hit it off, the Travel Bumble friend offered to give me a lift home. A truly perfect gentleman. The rest of the week was busy, and that was the last I saw of him. We tried to connect again on Friday, my last night but our timing was a bit off. However, that was not the end of Travel Bumble in Barbados.
The Third Match & Encounter
There was a third match. He actually match with all three of us. And because Kate had a photo of me in her profile, the sly detective figured out that we were all traveling together! He wasn’t much of a drinker, so we never met at the gap. I proposed a few beach dates, but it never worked out. It turned out he had a friend in town, but that didn’t stop our worlds from colliding.
We both happened to be on the exact same submarine ride on Friday. Unfortunately, he was on an awkward quasi date with another woman, so he opted not to say hello, but rather text me about it later! I assumed he knew of my submarine ride because of my Instagram account, but he actually was on the same 48 passenger sub with me! I wish he had made himself known, as it would have been nice to have a few decent pics of me on the submarine.
The Bottom Line
So the bottom line? Travel Bumble in Barbados was useful in expediting meetings, but I would have met all of the men I matched with out and about anyway! Perhaps it helps that I am easy to spot with my orange hair (especially on an island with less than 3% white natives), but nevertheless, it added a whole new element of fun to this trip. We had such a great experience with our local hosts, and well just maybe there will be a wedding resulting from this experience. Fingers crossed, I need an excuse to get back to Barbados!!