“If You Don’t Show Up” : Vacationships & Dating Travelers

“They shoot the white girl first,” were the only words on Tamara’s Tinder profile while she traveled through Europe after an amicable breakup and quitting a 6-year job she hated since orientation. I laughed, imagining how many potentially interested fellas read that line on this woman’s profile and immediately became worried. Then came Marcus, a bloke who’d read enough Toni Morrison to know where the line was born. They matched, and the rest is history, present, and many more countries in the future.


Funny enough, when they matched, Marcus was traveling through Europe too, in London then to visit schools. He came, he saw, and he was packing to fly home the next morning to Los Angeles. Tamara had two days left on her solo trip, and was hoping to break up to alone time with someone who’d laugh at the same jokes.

They met at the Vaux Hall Tube Station 45 minutes before the sky was completely black, walked along the river, over the bridge, and talked about Western politics, Mr. Bean, the BBC version of House of Cards, and why it’s not so bad to have sex on the first date with someone you meet abroad on Tinder. Then came Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, the tube to the famous Abbey Road Beatles photo location, and a pub where Tamara could get the fish and chips she probably would have left town without eating. “It ain’t Long John Silver,” Marcus laughed.

Feeling her vodka and tonics, digging the music, and experiencing a small tingle in all the right places, Tamara asked, “Will I see you when we’re both back in the states.” “Why destroy amazing feelings and moments with conversations about the future when you can talk about what you plan to do with those feelings and moments now,” Marcus asked.

Sidenote: this was not a “line” Marcus was using. Honestly, he’s far from a player, and has absolutely no game whatsoever. He just believes in “this here, right now” like our man, Darius Lovehall.

Marcus arranged the Uber.

Room #1: The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone.

Sitting in hot water with essential bath oils, the tips of your hair wet on your shoulders, and all your worries thousands of miles away while the only other person who matters at the moment is 3 feet away, naked on a bed equally as comfortable as the bath, staring at you intently, can confuse anyone. You want to talk about the future because it may make the dying of the present less tragic.

Both being: 1.) fresh out of a relationship that wasn’t quite what they’d hoped for, and 2.) hip hop heads and 3.) huge fans of Jay-Z, they decided to do the “our time together is our time together and our time apart is our time apart” thing. Oh! And on top of living 3000 miles apart with Tamara in New York, and both actually living life, they’d never see one another.


They rarely speak when home, they told me. “How the fuck do you maintain what you’re doing then,” I asked. Marcus explained it.

“Before I left London, we created a plan,” he said. “I told her I’d meet her in two months in the Canary Islands. When I got back to Los Angeles, I emailed her the hotel, check in time, and the following:”

1. If you don’t show up, I will assume this is no longer a thing because you have fallen in love, you have outgrown this fantasy, or died.

2. When we are there, we will spend our days and nights together. We will make those there look at us and say “fuck, I want what they have.”

3. If anything drastic should change in our appearance (losing an arm, massive weight gain or loss, etc.), we will inform the other.

4. Never feel bad for not showing up. That said, in the event one of use doesn’t show, the other should have an individual Plan B.

5. Before leaving each other, we will have our next destination and hotel booked.

I love the idea. Being about the adventure and the stories to tell, I can see how daring folks can fall into this relationship, risking their emotional stability and sanity, but loving it all the way. From London to Marrakech, the Maldives, Vancouver, Kenya, Lisbon, Barcelona, and so many other places, Marcus and Tamara showed up each time.

Good luck on the next spot!

Room #20: The Taj Mahal Palace

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.