What Happened When Two Virtual Strangers Booked An Airbnb Together – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – The prospect of finding true love during a global pandemic seems nearly impossible, especially if you’re stuck in lockdown and hate dating apps.

But that didn’t stop life coach Kayla MacArthur from trying her luck and booking an Airbnb apartment in Tulum, Mexico with a virtual stranger.

The 31-year-old from Massachusetts felt disillusioned about meeting someone as many Americans were instructed to stay home, when a friend decided to step in and play matchmaker.

“I was ready for love, but hated the idea of ​​swiping left and right on dating apps,” MacArthur told CNN.

“I prefer to feel a person’s energy, but with all the restrictions due to Covid-19, part of me accepted that it was highly unlikely that I would meet the man of my dreams in 2020.”

In June, a mutual friend named Ben set up a Zoom call between her and Ryan Crain, a 35-year-old welfare official from Oklahoma, saying he believed they would get along.

“When Ryan’s face appeared on my screen, I felt drawn to him,” MacArthur admits. “As we spoke I realized he was as passionate about travel as I was – before the lockdown he took a solo trip around the world.

“We had a lot of things in common, but it wasn’t like we could meet and hang out.

Crain also felt an instant attraction to MacArthur and said he was on a “huge level” after speaking to him for the first time.

“Although I entered the conversation thinking it would be more of a friendship, I immediately noticed how beautiful she was and I was very drawn to her,” he says.

“She had just returned to the United States after living in Bali, so I knew she had the same ideas.”

When Crain mentioned he was considering going to Mexico, where air travel to and from the United States was permitted, in the weeks to come, MacArthur was also keen to go.

“A few weeks later, when we were both fed up with being at home, we decided to go together,” she explains.

Mexico or bust

Although they knew it was a gamble, the couple decided to exercise caution and book a two-bedroom Airbnb property in the coastal town of Tulum, based on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, for one month.

“We decided to go there as traveling companions, although deep down I think we were both hoping for something more,” says MacArthur.

“Living together would be the ultimate test – we would know if there was mutual chemistry and we would really get to know each other. “

After making the necessary arrangements, MacArthur and Crain flew separately to Cancun on August 8.

They landed at different times and did not see each other face to face until they were at the apartment.

“When we first met in our Airbnb lounge, I remember thinking she had radiant energy,” Crain says.

“She had bought me a dozen eggs and fruit for breakfast the day before, because she knew I would be there late. She was kind and caring.

They quickly spoke about their expectations for the trip and agreed to contact each other if they were annoyed or upset about anything.

“I wanted us to use this trip to grow as individuals and practice mindful relationships,” says MacArthur. “Fortunately, Ryan was totally open to this.”

After two weeks of enjoying each other’s company and a magical trip to Isla Mujeres, Crain told MacArthur that he had fallen in love with her and asked him to take him on a date. .

“I hesitated,” she admits. “I wasn’t so sure Ryan was right for me.”

Although they decided to extend their stay, MacArthur remained unsure of his feelings until Crain left for a week-long trip to Akuma, a small town on the Riviera Mayal in Mexico, at the end of the month. September.

“While Ryan was away all the pressure went away and I realized how much I missed him,” she says.

“During our separation, I became clearer about my feelings – I wanted to give that a chance.”

Upon her return, they officially became a couple and returned to the public beach in Tulum, where they had their first date.

The duo then saw a double rainbow form over the ocean. MacArthur says she interpreted this as a sign that they would go the distance.

Test time

But their relationship was put to the test several times over the next few months.

Not only did they experience the incessant noise of construction nearby, but the couple experienced three hurricanes, as good as Tropical Storm Gamma, which caused floods and landslides in the Yucatán Peninsula, leaving them without electricity and water for four days.

“It might have seemed glamorous to friends and family, but there were practical realities to be experienced there like everywhere else,” Crain explains.

“I just tried to go with the flow and make the most of it. So when the power was out for 24 hours, I would turn on the music, light some candles, and dance like a jerk to make her laugh.

MacArthur’s ATM card was then engulfed and she developed a parasitic foot disease, which prevented her from walking properly.

Doctors prescribed strong medication for her, but she felt exhausted most of the time and could not leave the apartment. However, Crain has proven to be a great support throughout.

“Ryan was really caring and loving all the time, getting me ice cream and also taking meds for me,” MacArthur said.

The two say the hardships they faced in Mexico have only made their relationship stronger.

Once MacArthur recovered, the couple spent the next two months traveling to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Bacalar, known as the Maldives of Mexico, while planning their future together.

Back to reality

They decided to return to the United States together in December to spend Christmas and New Years in Boston with MacArthur’s family.

But the couple admit their whirlwind romance has met with mixed reactions from friends and family.

“Our parents were thrilled,” MacArthur says. “But some of our friends were worried. “You and Ryan are great together, but after this vacation is over you might run into some issues” and “When are you coming back to reality?” Were some of the things they said.

“I smiled because Ryan and I overcame a lot of obstacles. We are both committed to building a future together. I really feel like I’ve found my person.

Crain says he feels the same and is extremely grateful that they chose to book this Airbnb over the summer.

“Kayla has helped me to be more open, vulnerable and genuine and I’m so grateful that we took this chance together,” he says.

While Covid-19 has undoubtedly brought a lot of misery to the world, MacArthur says finding love during such a hectic time has shown him that life can unfold in the most unexpected ways.

“I always hoped to find the love of my life but I didn’t know it would happen so quickly and during a global pandemic,” she adds.

As ever-changing border restrictions continue to limit travel, the couple plan to have more adventures together in the future.

“We plan to travel together and spend time in San Diego, Lisbon and Costa Rica – it’s our dream,” she says. “Maybe we’ll even come back to Mexico one day.”

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