It’s a weird time right now. Our regular routines have gone out the window. Our snacking habits are out of control. And now, thanks to COVID-19, our dating lives are in disarray.

Like most of us, Topdeck Trip Leader Declan is grounded and self-isolating at his home in Adelaide. And like many of us, he’s found himself attempting to navigate this brave new world of dating – from a 1.5m distance.

This week you’ve featured on Topdeck’s Instagram chatting about falling head-over-heels for the City of Love: Paris.

But finding love on the road seems to be 100% a thing – why do you think so many people start relationships while travelling?   

I think people really begin to discover themselves when they are travelling. They start to understand their passions, desires and fears. And when all those elements come to the forefront, that’s when the most unbridled connections can be made.

I also believe you can never love someone until you love yourself and I think travel enables the capacity for self-love.

What’s the most romantic gesture you saw on tour? 

Although some would deem it cliché, proposals at the Eiffel Tower always resonate a sense of happiness for me. What better place to cement your love and set one eye on the future than a proposal in the City of Love? Iconic.

Now that you’re home, how has being in isolation effected your dating life? 

I’m a very social person – I like dating, meeting new people and forming relationships but isolation has been such a vibe-killer! However, having the opportunity to converse with someone who is in the same situation often means that their attention is not divided and you can really speak to them.

Social media often portrays people’s lives and personalities in fashions that aren’t necessarily true to life – myself included on occasion, but I’ve managed to have some incredibly deep and meaningful conversations with people whilst in isolation.

Has being in isolation effected the way you approach dating?

Of course! My usual go-to was a movie date – which I can no longer do. But Facetime and Houseparty have been amazing apps to continue the incredibly weird and wonderful world of dating. It’s cool to get to know people in ways that we always had available but perhaps took for granted.

Have you noticed a change in the way people are interacting on dating apps?

I think people have begun to pay a lot more attention to who they are communicating with through dating apps. A lot of people are on apps for ‘fun’ or spend time on them sporadically but given the current situation, I think people are investing meaningful time on these apps. I like to believe that because of that, more relationships globally are being formed – romantic or not.

What’s the best piece of dating advice you’ve ever received? 

The best things in life happen unexpectedly.

The best stories begin with “and all of a sudden…”

The best adventures were never planned as they turned out to be.

Free yourself from expectations, the best will come when you least expect it.

From one single to another, is there anything you want to share with Topdeckers navigating dating during a pandemic

Always follow your feelings. If you have even the slightest inkling that something between you and someone else could blossom into something wonderful, chase it with all you have.

If their interest is not reciprocated and you have to walk away, be grateful you have the ability to follow something you believe could be special.

Finally, and probably more importantly – don’t fall in love with random people in random cities who you will never see again. God damn bartenders.

How are you finding dating during isolation? Or how has it affected your relationship? Drop us a comment below.

Declan Bebbington
25-year-old, Taylor Swift enthusiast from Australia who was bitten by the travel bug. By day, searches the globe for new places to explore and dances hopelessly to S-Club 7 by night.