Interior designer Mareshia Henderson, 31, is a self-proclaimed serial dater. The mother of two was no stranger to dating potential partners both in her hometown and out of town. However, in 2021, Henderson had a first-date experience with a man she met online. However, instead of dinner and a movie, the pair flew to Orlando for the first date vacation of Henderson’s dreams.
Henderson and her online beau originally met on the social media app Clubhouse. It was the height of the pandemic and he was in Brooklyn while she was in the middle of the Midwest. Despite being miles apart and initially only hearing each other’s voices through the app, Henderson and her date made an instant connection.
After a few months of talking on the phone and video chatting, the pair decided to connect in person for the first time on vacation. Now, Henderson is sharing why she feels like every first date should be a baecation.
Love At First Flight
Although she considers herself a serial dater, Henderson was stepping out on faith when she flew to Orlando to meet Brooklyn bae. This was her first time meeting someone out of town on a first date. However, after scanning for red flags and having consistent communication, Henderson didn’t feel any apprehension about meeting him. When he suggested vacationing together, she happily obliged.
“You know how men will be, even women, will be like, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll join you,’ but it never happens,” Henderson said. “But it just kept coming up where he was really wanting to meet me out of town.”
An avid traveler herself, Henderson noticed that flights to Orlando were cheap during that time. It made sense for the pair to meet each other there. They planned it so they would arrive at the airport at the same time and meet at baggage claim.
“It was like two big kids in a candy store,” she said. “It was our first time meeting each other. He picked me up and swung me around. It was literally like one of those scenes you see in the movies.”
Instead of getting a traditional hotel room or Airbnb, Henderson and Brooklyn bae booked a townhome-style suite at a resort. The resort gave them plenty of things to do in close proximity to their suite. It also had multiple rooms, in case the vibe in person wasn’t what they’d expected.
“If the vibes didn’t really connect, he’d have his own room, I’d have my own room and we’d still make the best of it,” she said.
The dating couple spent three days together in Florida. For Henderson, it was a beautiful experience. They spent time lounging poolside, dined at local restaurants, and even visited Universal Studios amusement park. While her first date baecation was a success, Henderson understands that going out of town with a new partner isn’t the best option for everyone.
“Not everybody should go right into someone’s shared space when they go out of town,” she said. “Every experience is different, every story is different but for me, it worked for us.”
Dating At Your Own Risk
While their first date was an iconic experience, Henderson and Brooklyn bae decided not to pursue a serious relationship due to the long distance. However, they’re still good friends and plan to see each other again in the future.
Henderson said the couple set healthy boundaries with one another and spent a substantial amount of time communicating before meeting out of town. While she does encourage other single women to give it a try, she says it’s important to use discernment and pay attention to red flags before meeting new people out of town.
“Don’t feel like you have to be limited within your area,” she said. “It’s ok to go on dating apps; it’s okay to meet men who live out of town.”
Henderson also encourages those booking first-date baecations to book their own way. This helps reinforce healthy dating boundaries. She also discourages people from having first-date trip experiences if they really don’t like or have any chemistry with the other person.
“If you are not feeling this man, if you don’t get a good vibe from this man and are not sexually attracted to this man, don’t go out of town with him,” she said.
Still dating and having new, fun experiences, Henderson hopes to have more first-date baecations in the future. She realizes life is short and plans to live it up to the fullest in her own way.
“Your fairytale might not be my fairytale,” she said. “Your story might not be my story. But I just know that my story was amazing.”
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