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44-year-old Aussie mum Sarah traveled the globe for 8 months - and a stranger paid for it all.

The sun was setting over the sights and sounds of Marakesh, and Aussie mum Sarah was observing it all with a glass of expensive champagne in her hand and a handsome man by her side. It was a holiday fling worthy of any Hollywood script. But here’s the plot twist: the gentleman sitting alongside her wasn’t just enjoying her company, he’d paid for it.

A newly single mother of two, Sarah Andros had done what countless women in her situation do and signed up for online dating. But among the usual, high-profile sites she joined, was one a little different the rest. Boasting over 600,000 adventure-seeking singles, Misstravel.com serves to introduce attractive women seeking holidays with men who are willing to foot the bill.

Image: supplied

In a 7-8 month period, it took 44-year-old Sarah to Bali, London, Paris, Barcelona, Fez and Marakesh. And it all began just two days after signing up when a Perth-based accountant sent her a 'wink'.

"I just wrote to him and said, 'Hey, you have a lovely smile. Bummer – I was just in Perth. I just missed you. Maybe we could meet another time'," she told Mamamia. "He came straight back and said, "Well, I'll fly you back."

What followed was a whirlwind, globetrotting romance, played out in five-star luxury. Yet aside from one Balinese breakfast she insisted on buying, her companion paid for the lot.

"That's something that you have to get over," Sarah said. “You have to be willing to go, you know what, I'm a valuable product, as a beautiful woman who's kind, who's fun.”

Yet, despite the fundamental premise, Sarah insists Misstravel.com isn't encouraging sugar daddy situations. “I know of sugar daddy sites and it's a totally, totally different energy,” she said.

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Instead, in her experience at least, Misstravel.com was filled with generous men genuinely looking for someone to see the world with, someone to help them let go of their baggage and pick up a suitcase. Her travel partner was just one of them.

"He'd left his marriage, he wasn't all that stoked with life,” Sarah said. “Me being there gave him joy again, and I think joy is priceless."

While it's unlikely to be the case for all women on the site, Sarah insists that her “company, laughter and joy” was all that the accountant was paying for. But that's because she was clear with her intentions, as he was with his.

“I just asked questions and was willing to be bold," she said. "At the end of the day, what you have to be really clear on is what you would like out of this and what your expectations are. It actually invites you to be quite advanced in your communication."

travel dating

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Yet when miscommunication could end up landing you in an awkward, or even dangerous, situation with a stranger on the other side of the world, the stakes are undoubtedly higher than traditional dating.

For life-coach Sarah, that's were intuition comes in.

"Sure there's trust, sure there's risk. But there's a risk crossing the road," she told us. "You can be stupid and not use your awareness, but if you use your awareness and go, 'Okay, what's the worst that could happen here?' and you're still willing to go through with it, then why not?”

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One phone conversation was enough for her. “We chatted effortlessly,” she said. “We were talking about what we liked and what our experiences were with marriage, divorce, all the rest of it, and I was like, 'This guy is really easy to get along with'."

She told her children, father and close friends about him, and without a doubt in her mind (or her gut) she boarded the plane.

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She realises that not everyone would be quite so willing to embrace such an unconventional form of dating – after all, you're skipping the smalltalk and going straight for the couples' retreat. But she thinks that's precisely the appeal of Misstravel.com.

"I think not everyone is willing to do things differently and I think that the website invites you to do dating totally differently," she said. "You can say 'I like travel; you like travel. Where shall we go? What shall we do?'. That's the bonus of it.”

Of course, the concept of Misstravel.com is always going to suggest a temporary foreign fling, but Sarah believes it could lay the foundation for something more and that's how she approached signing up.

"I'd been separated for a year to 18 months, so I wasn't ready to jump into a full blown relationship. But if that presented itself I wasn't going to say no. So I kind of just had an open mind, she said. “I mean, in the end, if you can travel together and don't kill each other it's a good sign."

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travel dating

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She and her travel companion are no longer together – living and working in different cities proved too difficult to sustain a relationship. “But neither of us have any regrets,” she said. “It was actually really lovely.”

Her experience, which she “absolutely” sees as an Eat, Pray, Love-like journey, has both changed her life and informed her work as a life coach. So what advice would she give to clients or strangers sitting on that partially filled-out online dating application?

"Any sort of doubt, don't choose it. Follow that gut instinct. Be willing to be a little bold and be willing to be different,” she said. “Every choice that you make is what creates your life – yep, if there's one message, I would say 'choice creates'.”

Check out Mamamia's most embarrassing date stories.

Video by Mamamia Women's Network
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