Being in isolation for the past month and a half has been lonely. I am home from school living with my grandmother who can't hear a word I say. I can't go visit my friends, but they're too busy with schoolwork anyway. The only time I leave my house is to get groceries and toilet paper (when I can find some). I am a pretty active person on a normal, non-pandemic day. I participate in many different clubs and activities where I interact with other human beings daily. I missed being able to meet new people and have a conversation with someone other than myself.
One day while I was studying with my friend over FaceTime, she told me about Tinder passport that she was using. While typically an additional cost, Tinder was making their passport feature free for the month of April in lieu of this unprecedented time. Passport allows users to pick any location in the world and to swipe as if there were actually there. While I had been refusing to use Tinder while at home for fear of seeing someone I knew (like my cousin YUCK), I was intrigued by this idea of being able to pick a new location. Since my study abroad was canceled this summer, why not travel through Tinder at least? Also, there's only so many hours straight you can watch Netflix until your eyes begin to cross.
I went on the app, set a new location, and started swiping. I traveled to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Greece, New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, and probably more. It was so interesting to hear about life in a different place and to just be able to talk to other people. I didn't have to worry if a guy was just interested in a random hookup. I didn't care if someone ghosted me. It didn't matter if the conversation just stopped because the odds were that I would NEVER see these people in my life.
While some matches ended as quickly as they started, I did make genuine connections with a lot of people. It was cool to hear about a medical student from Spain and how their education is different from the United States. Or to learn about the guy from Argentina and to compare our passions and interests. Or even to just joke with the boy from London about getting married.
Through Tinder passport, I was able to explore the world and to make connections that I never would have made. I got to talk to people about their lives and interests and hobbies even though I was stuck in my house and hadn't really interacted with a single person in weeks. And if I ever do travel across the pond, as the Londoners would say, I might even find that I have a friend there who can give me a tour.