What to Expect When Using a Dating App While Traveling

6A19574D-3D57-4ECC-A8BE-C5050ED0BF06.jpegI’ve been traveling over the past six months, and being the talker that I am, I’m almost never alone. At hostels, I’m constantly meeting people and enjoying the company of others. That said, every once in a while, when I’m new to a place or staying with a friend who’s at work all day, I’ve turned to a dating app.

Through this process, I’ve discovered a lot of differences from country to country, had great memories, and met wonderful people. I’ve also messaged others who can hold a conversation as well as my friend held her liquor last night, (I held her hair back, don’t worry) and was given unsolicited dick pics.

When I was in Vietnam, I felt like matching with most of the options I was given could be considered borderline pedophilea. So many young boys on their gap year, or living it up for the holidays. I wasn’t mad at it, I always like a good baby face. It also makes sense they’re there considering SE Asia is dirt cheap and many of them probably knew student loans were right around the corner.

In Japan, the men on the app were older. And by older I mean closer to my age, and more established. Generally speaking, I had more of an interest in meeting up with them even if they didn’t have a baby face.

Regardless of what the guys are like or where you are, you have to be willing to put in the effort even with the knowledge that you may never meet up. Sometimes they leave the country before getting together or plans change and life takes you in a different direction. Other times you want to meet them because you like their face but realize what’s behind the face is as basic as my old neighbor who drinks Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes in the fall, and wears Uggs in the winter, even while living in California. Also, it could very well be that they’re just on the app for validation or entertainment. 

What to expect is that the array of people and your amount of matches changes based on location. The experiences you have, great or not as great, will probably be better and more memorable than sitting alone in your hotel room refreshing your Facebook newsfeed for the 1,000th time. The downside is weeding through the people who’s messages are as stimulating as watching paint dry, and the occasional unsolicited dick pic.

I’ve connected with all types of life. I met up with people from Pakistan and Israel, to Scandinavia, the UK, Canada, and different parts of the US. Wow, sounding like a serial dater over here. I like to look at it as a serial adventurer and opportunist.

Do I think by doing this I’ll find me a man who will put a ring on it? No, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my eye out for dual citizenship. I’m doing it because I love connecting with people, and to be frank, I almost always have a great time.

This is just my experience with a dating app that I was using, but maybe you’d find different results through your personal experience. If you’ve ever thought about giving it a go, I’d encourage you to do so. Listen to your gut, keep your wits about you, and go make some great memories and connections.

The Time I Almost Died in Vietnam

D937D011-B8B7-49E0-A3B7-83D40B4BFD40.jpegEverything was going so smoothly my first several months traveling. Almost too smooth. Then, it all started with a bang, and by bang I mean me swinging the bathroom stall door against the wall while leaving a trail of vomit behind me.

Several hours later, I’m in the hospital in a developing country. One would think that would be the cause of my near death experience abroad. That however, along with loosing my debit card and breaking my phone within the same week, should have been taken as a warning sign for what was to come.

I had no card, no phone, and very few endorphins left in my brain. My friend  James, who I met because I was forced to ask people to lend me money, offered to give me a ride on a motorbike to get my phone fixed. We borrowed our hostels motorbike, and headed towards what should have been a 17 minute journey to the phone repair shop.

The wind in my hair, and optimism in my mind, came to a halt as we approached a more than mildly terrifying intersection. Not because the roads looked like a challenge even for the Fast and Furious crew, but because we ran out of gas. We got off the road as quickly as we could. James guided the bike towards a little rundown convenient store on the corner as I walked by his side. At that point, I found the situation pretty comical, and would be lying if I said his frustration didn’t make it funnier.

We started trying to communicate with a local there which turned into a game of charades.

“I don’t know what the fuck this guy is trying to say.” James said in aggravation.

“I know this sounds crazy, but I think he wants me to get on the back of his bike, and for you to get on ours. I don’t know. Let’s just do it.” I said as I hopped onto the back of a strangers motorbike.

I furrowed my eyebrows as I watched the man stick his leg out like he was Jackie Chan about to kick down the bike James sat on. Instead, he hooked his foot onto our bike and put his keys in the ignition.

Next thing you know, I’m flying down a four-way highway during rush hour as James is being pushed along by this mans foot. Cars and bikes were swerving around us and beeping like it was their day job. We arrived at an intersection with so many cars and bikes, you could barely see the pavement.

I closed my eyes tightly and figured at least if I died, I went out with a bang traveling the world. I heard James repeatedly say “Oh my God.” as we made our way through. When I opened my eyes, I felt like I could conquer the world even though I really didn’t do shit. James stared back at me as if to say “Is this real life?” And we both began to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

To say getting sick, loosing my card, and breaking my phone put a damper on things would have been an understatement. It was the kind of damp that reeked of mildew as it tried to dry in a plastic bag.

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic because there was so much good that came from all of those situations. It’s easy to be so caught up in the moment, that we don’t see the beauty in it. Sometimes the events in life that make us want to hit our heads against the wall, or nearly kill us, end up being the memories we wouldn’t trade for the world.

Six Days of Silence: Journal Entries From My Silent Meditation Retreat


What does someone want to get from attending a silent meditation retreat at a monastery in Northern Thailand? It varies. Some may simply want to find stillness and peace, and others go with the intention to find themselves. Who knows, maybe the dude with a giant man bun made of dreads infront of me wants to levitate back home in a state of enlightenment.
I’m doing this to put myself out of my comfort zone because that’s where change happens. I go to grow. I don’t want to have expectations or a desired outcome. I want to see what the experience will bring me. Granted, if I were to have chosen a desired outcome, I probably would have wanted to leave turning water into wine, so I’d just be setting myself up for disappointment.
The highlight of my first day at the monastery was opening my eyes after a lying down meditation practice, only to realize I had fallen asleep. By that point, everyone else was sitting up, listening attentively to a monk sitting on the stage infront of a giant golden buddah statue. I made eye contact with a woman next to me who was clearly amused by my state of shock. I couldn’t blame her. I was too. Still, I internally judged her for not waking me up.
Now it’s day two. Considering the fact I talk like an auctioneer and eat like an elephant, the whole shutting up and fasting thing is going much better than expected. Almost too good. Maybe I’ll start to go insane tomorrow. That’s what most people had been telling me would happen at some point. That said, every experience is unique, and only time will tell. Highlight of day two was appreciating the beauty during a walking meditation practice.
*3 hours later* I was upgraded to a single dorm suit. Is it too materialistic and un-zen of me for that to be the new highlight of my day?

It’s certainly not getting easier, but I’m up for the challenge. At least I’m not looking like the young man sitting to my left. I haven’t seen someone fidget around so much since I was at the LIB music festival, but they were happy and on drugs.
Breakdown of my unconscious thoughts today goes as followed.
86% unnecessary worry and overthinking (Like I think the fact that I didn’t buy a souvenir in Sweden isn’t going to kill me, but the heart palpitations I get thinking about it during my meditation practice say otherwise)
12% comparing and judging myself (There’s no doubt all this pad thai has been taking a toll though)
2% other (probably food related)
Fun stuff.


As my time at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery comes to an end, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be walking out of here turning water into wine. Instead I’ll be walking away with something even greater. Mindfulness and a deeper sense of self. WAIT ! Before you internally roll your eyes and think “Dis generic ass bitch serious right now? I could have guessed that.” Understand that I’m not spitting those words out to sound like every basic bitch that travels Asia and floods her instagram with her adventures (Yes, I do that too, so no judgement there. @mindartists)
It’s not the awareness like “I’m aware Im eating right now.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to not mindlessly shovel food in your face like the day before you decide to start a diet. The mindfulness I speak of goes deeper.
It’s like getting a free Disney Fastpass to avoid the lines full of ungrateful grimy children and foreigners who have no sense of awareness or boundaries. You pass them instead of resentfully standing behind wondering what happened to your own morals and patience. You detach yourself from what you once identified so closely with, giving you a sense of liberation and peace. There’s certainly more on this topic, so stay tuned for a future blog post. For now, I’m signing out.

Best wishes always,
Your slightly more enlightened friend,
Brooke Lyn

Who I’ve Become Since Solo Traveling The World

F3160361-9D9D-44BA-9DA1-A14EAB32EE24Reactions to the title of this post most likely fall into two categories. Either “Yasss, Queen, let us know who you’ve become!” Or “Girl, you’ve only been out there three weeks. The only thing you’ve probably become is a little more tan.” The latter isn’t completely wrong considering I’m veering away from looking like the sister of Casper the Friendly Ghost, but more than my exterior has changed.

When I’m alone in a foreign place, the familiarity of the world I once knew dissipates. People don’t look the same, there are tastes and smells I never knew existed, and my surroundings have me in awe which makes my curiosity and awareness reach new heights. There’s no one or nothing that’s influencing me on who I should be, or how I should present myself to the world. There’s something unexplainable about the freedom that comes with putting yourself in unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable situations. It’s almost like pressing a restart button on your life.

So what does this mean for me? The walls I built that created the life I knew have been knocked down, so I can be the most authentic expression of myself. The minimal filter I once had no longer exists. I spit words like rapid fire without hesitation that’s caused by doubt or fear of judgment. The people I talk to are left in stitches and I don’t even have to try. I’m witty, silly, loud, and proud. I’m afraid of the unknown yet I choose to live my life there. I’m brave. I’m a little extra, but I love it, and if you don’t, that’s too bad because you’re missing out on a great thing. I’m not saying I’m perfect nor do I want to be. 

Who I’ve become is unapologetically me.

From Misery to Marvelous

IMG_3124June 7th, 2018

“That’s why I’ve concluded that between now and mid November, your togetherness can and should reach peak expression,” reads the words written below my horoscope in The Independent. Well, thank the freakin’ Lord because I feel as together as Britany Spears during her bald-head phase. My therapist tells me it’s time for more inner child work, and I agree. Problem is, that child inside of me is apparently a professional long distance runner because it seems like the chance to do the inner work tends to run away.

October 10th, 2018 

So much for that stupid piece of paper in The Independent. If this is full expression, I want to go back to half expression, or no expression at all. I’m such a rollercoaster. I have the enthusiasm of an audience member on Oprah during the 12 days of Christmas giveaway. The next week, the dopamine in my brain is a mix of Eeyore from Winnie the Poo and Scrooge.

June 15th, 2019

The Independent may be full of shit, but at least I don’t feel like shit. In fact, over the past several months, life has been marvelous and keeps getting better. Though sometimes I look at the ebbs in life as unfortunate, it’s a beautiful phenomenon. The ever constant ebb and flow is the rhythm of the cosmos. It is the way we evolve into more. We perceive it as a rollercoaster because it’s one hell of a ride, but we don’t have to look at it as horrific. Our seatbelts are always on, and we’ll always be okay even when we scream or feel like puking. Eventually, we will enjoy the views and thrills of it all.