On Jan 4th, 2020, Maggie from New York, NY and Jun Xiang from Sunnyvale, CA traveled to Denver, CO on a Fairytrail Adventure supplied by Airbnb. The Glacier Hike and Geothermal Cave Pools experience was led by Tyler, a local tour guide who started his tour company in 2019. The travel group size was 7 people plus Tyler.
A few words from the adventure leader.
“We arrived at the glacier and the weather couldn’t have been better. This was one of my first tours I carried sleds up to the top of the trail and all the guests seemed to love it. The whole group kept engaging in dialogue. It was one of the best groups I have had.”
— Tyler DeVries, Airbnb Experiences & TripAdvisor travel guide and Owner of Adventure Colorado Tours
The story as told by software engineer and world explorer Maggie Chan.
Part I. Connecting
Jun Xiang was my first match on Fairytrail after liking each other based on our dating profiles and then overlapping on a mutual interest in the adventure package to Quebec City. I broke the ice once the chat option opened up to see how this new app works and started a conversation with Jun Xiang.
We followed the encouraged protocol of setting up a video chat and connected on Facebook Messenger. This new way of approaching online dating was interesting to me and I wanted to see where it would go.
On our first virtual date, I went to a cafe in New York City with my laptop and met Jun Xiang streaming from his bedroom in California.
The first thing that stood out to me when he spoke was his accent. Honestly, it was never something that even crossed my mind going into this experience, so it was a wonderful thing to learn about him before meeting him in person.
I immediately felt like my world was broadening and it was an incredible privilege to be able to connect with a real human being on the other end of the stream.
He looked just as cute as his pictures. I immediately felt like my world was broadening and it was an incredible privilege to be able to connect with a real human being on the other end of the stream. I think this type of exposure to one another was critical in the beginning to form trust and a relationship with Jun Xiang. I felt like it was a good match because we were both on this app with the intent to both travel and date as single adults. You definitely need to be of a certain mindset to be open to this kind of unique experience.
As we began researching what it would cost to travel to Quebec City, we became a bit discouraged when the cost of flights during our mutually available travel time was over $1000 USD for each of us for a flight on such short notice. Fortunately, the creator of the app, Taige Zhang, reached out to us to ask if we had any questions or feedback. When I told him about the issue, he explained that we didn’t have to book the adventure we matched on, and that it is only a suggestion to get the conversation started. He encouraged us to choose any destination that would better fit our constraints.
We decided to narrow down a location within the US that we both wanted to explore. We settled on Denver, CO for an Airbnb Experience package that included a glacier hike, a local pizza stop, and a trip to the local hot spring caves. It sounded like an awesome adventure that neither of us had experienced before. Looking forward to this adventure together gave us both something to bond over and keep in touch about before our trip.
Fairytrail added a level of intentionality that required both parties to be actively involved from the beginning, and connect on a visual/audio/human level before ever meeting in person.
Part II. Previous Online Dating Experience
Prior to trying Fairytrail, I had been using Tinder to browse the local singles during my travels to Asia, and Hinge to find dates in my hometown when I returned to New York City. It was exciting and fun for me to connect with people on these apps, but more often than not, conversations would get stale and interest would wane before we ever settled on a meeting date. Fairytrail added a level of intentionality that required both parties to be actively involved from the beginning, and connect on a visual/audio/human level before ever meeting in person.
A change of pace from the half-hearted swipes on every other dating app that doesn’t prioritize actual human interaction over chats and match stats.
The people you come across on Fairytrail are of a certain mindset, probably very similar to yours: Single, spontaneous, travel-bug-bitten adventurers looking for a new experience with a new travel partner. I love that these connections are two-fold: romantic interest and adventure-based. If the sparks don’t fly with your match, at least you have one person to join you for a new adventure, and possibly a new friend for life. Definitely a change of pace from the half-hearted swipes on every other dating app that doesn’t prioritize actual human interaction over chats and match stats!
Jun Xiang and I chose the most interesting adventure we could find in Denver, Colorado: A hike up a glacier mountain, local Colorado pizza (I didn’t know there was a Colorado style!), and a visit to the hot spring caves.
Part III. Booking The Trip
Fairytrail was the intermediate between Jun Xiang and I for the trip booking experience. Each of us added Travel Money to our Fairytrail accounts to cover a majority of the Airbnb Experience package cost ($120). Fairytrail generously covered the remainder ($30), as we were one of the first couples to reserve a trip through the app.
By putting our funds into Travel Money, Jun Xiang and I each made a financial commitment to our meeting and trip experience.
After each of us deposited the money into our Travel Money accounts, Taige and the Fairytrail team took care of booking the reservation for us. By putting our funds into Travel Money, Jun Xiang and I each made a financial commitment to our meeting and trip experience. This gave us both reassurance that we were both interested and invested in this new unique experience. Jun Xiang even had his airfare booked through Fairytrail while I took care of my own.
Part IV. The Adventure
Our experience on the glacier hike adventure was awesome! We met our tour guide, his sister the designated photographer, his friend who assisted as a driver, and other fellow adventurers at a Whole Foods in downtown Denver. Other people on the trip were a solo female traveler and a mother and daughter.
We briefly got to know each other before breaking up into two cars to make the trip to St. Mary’s Glacier for our hike. There was unexpected traffic and we arrived at our starting place an hour and a half behind schedule. Luckily, none of us had obligations after the scheduled end of our day trip, and we proceeded with the original itinerary.
Our tour guide supplied us with crampons (traction chains with spikes for hiking) for our boots, water and a snack and we set off on a slow and steady paced hike up to the glacier area where a lake was frozen solid. We stopped every few minutes so that everyone could get acclimated to the elevation and not get sick.
Our guide purchased new snow sleds to try, and after we made it to the frozen lake and snapped some photos, some of us climbed a ways up the mountain to sled down and skid freely across the frozen lake.
It was exhilarating! It was definitely a unique experience that I’ve never had before, and quite beautiful to take in the sights. Jun Xiang and I took some fun photos in the snow and enjoyed romping around on the frozen lake.
After the hike, we piled back into the cars and backtracked a bit back towards Denver and stopped in Idaho Springs for Colorado-style pizza (thin bottom but thick and fluffy crust!).
This part was not covered by our adventure package, but was a great break in the itinerary to try the local cuisine. The restaurant was nestled among very cute town shops that we were able to browse for souvenirs before and after our meal.
Jun Xiang and I rode in the same car together and our tour guide was aware that we were on a unique trip together through Fairytrail. When we were separated during the hot springs time, both of us were asked about our experiences using the app to book our trip together! Jun Xiang and I also bonded with other people on the tour and shared our favorite music and hobbies with each other over the car trips and lunch. The time we spent together was very fun and tiring. Being together at the end of the day, we grabbed tacos and drinks and kept our weekend long date going.
It was like we were almost an established couple, partnered up and taking on this new city, positive and open to new experiences and discoveries.
The next day of our trip, we wandered around Downtown Denver on foot to explore the shops, restaurants, and street art on our own. It was like we were almost an established couple, partnered up and taking on this new city, positive and open to new experiences and discoveries. I felt quite close to Jun Xiang and we mutually agreed that we got along very well as travel buddies. My Fairytrail Adventure was definitely worth it!
Part V. The Fairytrail Experience
Prior to going on my Fairytrail Adventure, I shared my plans with some friends who were incredulous but supportive! I’m definitely the more outgoing and adventurous one of some of my friends, so it was exciting to be able to try something new and continue to recommend to my friends!
I feel incredibly lucky to have matched someone like Jun Xiang that I felt very comfortable with and was easily able to build trust with, as we are both honest and straightforward people who also happened to work in different aspects of the same industry. I definitely would not have randomly met him outside of the app, as my typical dating location range is still within my own city, and Jun Xiang lives across the country.
Our hobbies are different but our personalities complement each other. I would encourage any adventurer friends of mine to give Fairytrail a try if they are looking for their next spontaneous trip and are open to meeting a new partner!
These are the magical words of Maggie Chan. If you would like to share your story, contact us.