A WOMAN travelled 2,000 miles to a different country for a first date with a stranger – and now they're dating.
Ansa Edim, 35, was "sworn off men" after getting divorced at the age of 28 and breaking off another engagement in 2021.
She says she "has to go travelling" every time she has a breakup and left her home in Washington DC, US, to visit Edinburgh, Scotland, in September 2023 to get over her last failed relationship.
She got talking to a Scottish man, 30, on a dating app – who does not want to be named – on her last day in the city while in her hotel room and the pair decided to meet up properly for a date – two weeks later.
The pair decided to meet in the middle and booked a week away in Iceland – for their first official date.
Now, the couple are casually dating across two continents and "having a really good time" – despite the 2,803 mile distance between them.
Ansa, who runs a diversity organisation called Blacklist, from Washington DC, US, said: "I didn't feel like seeing anyone at the time, but he's amazing, and we had a fairytale first meeting.
"We were talking for days – we wanted to go on a proper date, and Iceland seemed like a convenient place in the middle."
Ansa met her first husband at school and the couple got married in 2011, aged 22.
But after six years of marriage, they divorced and she began using dating apps to find someone else.
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"I married the first person who asked me out – my high school boyfriend," she said.
"We were together from 18 to 28.
"When we got divorced, I went on the apps – I hadn't ever dated before.
"But I did go on lots of dates – in fact, I needed to keep track with an Excel spreadsheet."
Two years on from her divorce, she met her second boyfriend – a 30-year-old solicitor – on Bumble.
The pair got serious quickly and in March 2020, when the pandemic hit, they got engaged and locked down together.
But Ansa realised he wasn't the person she wanted to settle down with – so she broke off the engagement in 2021.
She said: "I just think, with the pandemic, and the Capitol being stormed I started to feel life was too short.
"I wasn't looking to be a wife and a mother – I wanted to go with the flow. And we both deserved to get what we respectively wanted."
Thanks to this "epiphany", Ansa decided to cut her losses and travel.
She quit her job as a marketer, called off her engagement and "disappeared" to Europe.
Over the next two years, Ansa travelled to countries like Northern Ireland, Iceland, Germany, and the UK – supplementing her savings by performing as a professional storyteller.
"I enjoyed using dating apps in Europe," she added.
"The European dating scene is popping – nothing like the US.
"There was this realisation that I wasn't sure I wanted to marry anyone – despite getting two men to propose in my lifetime, I still felt unworthy.
"It took me raising my standards to realise – just because I'm a plus-sized woman, it hasn't been a detriment to me at all."
After spending some time back in Washington DC, Ansa visited Edinburgh, Scotland, in mid-September 2023.
She met the man she's currently dating, David Michael, 30, a musician, on Tinder.
David plays in a band and suggested the pair go for dinner together.
Ansa was initially reluctant – saying wanted to stay in after having a cold a few days before.
She said: "We were texting and texting – and he called me. At 1am, he suggested he should just come see me in the hotel.
"I was in my nightgown with no make-up on – thinking 'no way'.
"But I thought 'I'm leaving tomorrow, and this guy seems like he won't kill me' – so we had a slumber party.
"He was so kind, so fun, and we just giggled for ages. We became instant friends."
The next day, David walked Ansa to the train – where she headed to Berlin, Germany, for "a few days".
But the couple kept texting – and realised they wanted to go on a "proper" date.
So they arranged to meet up in Reykjavik, Iceland, where they spent a week "being tourists".
"We drove all around Iceland for hours, being tourists," Ansa said.
"We saw The Great Geysir, the waterfalls and the Phallological Museum – which is exactly what you think it is.
"We realised we're both total foodies, and delved into Icelandic food – we ate whale, puffin, horse and fermented shark.
"Then, we went to watch some live jazz music, and rented an AirBnB for the whole week."
Ansa and David parted ways on October 10, and still text every day.
She said: "We haven't really known each other very long – and we've only had three-and-a-half dates, if you count that first night.
"We're not very serious – but a valuable lesson I've learnt along the way is to have fun until it's not fun anymore.
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"I'm not sure how you can be in a serious relationship across different continents, but I'm job-searching in Europe like crazy.
"Despite all this, I'm having a really good time. I'm having so much fun."
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