Canada, it conjures up images of breathtaking snow-capped mountains, overly friendly people in plaid and lumberjacks as far as the eye can see. Hidden among the famous cities of the great white North though, sits Halifax, capital of Nova Scotia and the site of my next quest for that elusive Tinderella.
Spending several days in this relaxed, albeit bitterly cold, city left me with ample time on my hands. There is only so much lobster you can eat and weed you can smoke (or so I’m told, I’m yet to hit a limit on either) so I matched with a local social worker, Amanda*, and we started to chat.
Communication flowed like a river, maybe a Canadian one if it strengthens this average metaphor, and we arranged for a date on one of my day trips to Halifax, which she would coincide with a lunch break from work.
It turns out lining up a lunch date during a lunch break while with my mates is more difficult than I anticipated and like ships in the night we didn’t manage to find time to see each other. Such is life right? Wrong! I wanted to take this girl on a date and I didn’t let up, but as night fell on my final night in Halifax it seemed I’d missed my chance. The proverbial Canadian horse had bolted.
I woke up early the next day to a text from Amanda. She was equally disappointed in not seeing one another before I left on my travels again. So I put the very logical suggestion to her, as a 30 year old with a steady career, ‘call in sick, drive out to where I’m staying and we’ll have a last minute date before I head to the airport in the afternoon’. Maybe I’m persuasive, maybe she just didn’t feel like working that day anyway, whatever the reason she agreed and we were meeting at a small café down the road from where I was staying, just 4 hours before I was due to fly off on my way.
The air was crisp and cold that morning, dew settled on the long grass as I trudged up the road to the café, watching my breath appear before me with every exhale. I waited for 5 or 10 minutes, watching each car pass as Amanda had told me her car was the one “with the different coloured door” and sure enough before long a navy blue car rolled into the parking lot, with a grey passenger side door that stood out in stark contrast.
Amanda stepped out, she was short with a gorgeous beaming smile, shoulder length brown hair and big wide eyes, super approachable if not a little shy. We wandered into the café, empty but for 10 loud men on some sort of fishing trip based on their attire, or body disposal if my understanding of small town horror movies was anything to go by. We took up a seat behind them and Amanda ordered a coffee and a bagel, perfectly acceptable breakfast choices for her. However they reminded me of my rather unusual breakfast preferences. See, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t like bagels, but breakfast IS the most important meal of the day so I got what any good Aussie would on his travels. An order which shocked the waitress, shocked Amanda and likely would have shocked the 10 burly fisherman/small town murderers, “I’ll have a bowl of cereal and a beer thanks”.
So there we were at 9:30am, sat on a small table, in a small town outside one of the smaller cities in Canada, a Canadian enjoying a hot coffee and an Aussie sinking a good cold beer. Ah Travel, you’ve done it again.
I won’t add hyperbole to what was just a really enjoyable date with an obvious connection. There’s no dirty ending to this story, although we sat in her parked car for 40 minutes and made out before I had to go to the airport. Amanda was fun, she was pretty and by her own admission calling in sick to work to go fool around with a younger Aussie traveller was not like anything she’d done for a long, long time.
She said she’d needed that spark, something to shake her out of her routine, and I really appreciated hearing such candid and honest feedback. Not every Tinder date has to end in sex or love, sometimes a coffee and a kiss (or two beers and a kiss as it transpired) is more than enough.
We parted ways with a smile, back to her old life on Amanda’s end, and towards a new life on mine. I really hope she continues to live in the moment like we did that day. I still have that receipt for my cereal and two beers as a reminder although I never did find out why she had an odd door on that car.
*Not her real name
Alexander Porter is a 27 year old with a degree from Sydney University. Getting it in a frame is on his 30 before Thirty list. He has a Back to the Future tattoo and is available for party hire. When Alex isn't writing he is watching his beloved St George Dragons let him down, drinking flavoured milk and planning new travel adventures. You can follow him on instagram @alexander_le_great