Arie Luyendyk Jr. vied for Emily Maynard‘s heart on season 8 of The Bachelorette. Now, he’s on his own journey to find love on the latest season of The Bachelor — and he’s blogging about it exclusively for PEOPLE! Follow Arie on Twitter at @ariejr.
As much as I loved being grilled by the women’s families, I was excited to finally be going to Peru. It was so crazy to be in our final destination of this journey. I couldn’t believe that in just a few short weeks I’d be engaged. Even crazier, though, was that I had no idea who I’d hopefully be getting down on one knee for. You know when you do something new and huge and you think you know exactly how it’s going to be? Well, you’re normally wrong. Expectation rarely meets reality. I never could’ve been prepared for this.
We got off the plane and started our drive to Ica. I watched out the window as the city slowly turned to sand dunes. We pulled into our hotel, and saw wild sheep, llamas and alpacas wandering around and I tried to snap some selfies with them with my Polaroid. A sheep even followed me into the gym one day.
It would be a crime to go to Ica and not hit the dunes. Kendall and I, as always, had a blast. There was never a dull moment when we were together. Ever date someone who always keeps you on your toes? Keeps you laughing and keeps conversations exciting? That was Kendall. Given our conversation at the rose ceremony last week, I knew we really liked each other, but I was still unsure if we could catch up to the other women. Our chemistry was so strong, but did that mean we could potentially get engaged so soon? That evening, it was amazing to hear Kendall say she was falling in love with me. I felt like maybe, against the odds, we COULD get there.
I was so excited going into my date with Lauren. I’d never heard of the Nazca Lines before, but they were breathtaking. I have no idea how the biomorphs and geoglyphs got there. Aliens maybe? The day portion of my date with Lauren was great, but also stressful. I was in love with her and had such strong feelings, but she seemed so worried and distant. When she told me she was considering leaving due to the stress, I didn’t know what to do. Thankfully, that night, we were able to talk directly about the problem. Hearing that she was in her head due to the stress of thinking about me dating other women, but, still, was very much in love with me made all the difference in the world. We were in love, and it felt great that we could both express that.
WATCH: The Bachelor’s Arie Luyendyk Jr.: I Actually Ate on My Dates!
My final date of the week was with Becca. Our catamaran trip to Ballesta Island was perfectly romantic. The island was beautiful and filled with wildlife. There was one big drawback, though. Apparently, an island that thousands of birds use as a toilet doesn’t smell great …
Being around Becca was always so easy. Though we hit some rough patches earlier, whenever we had time alone things were progressing. When we told each other that we loved each other, it felt like we had finally totally bridged the distance between us that had formed part-way thru the journey. I had so much hope for a potential future with her.
Then … there came the ex. As annoying as it was, we have to talk about my visit from Ross. When he came and knocked on my door, I really thought that he was hotel staff. Becca and I had talked about her ex before, but I never thought he’d fly halfway across the world to try and win her back. I was angry that he showed up, not for me, but for Becca. She didn’t deserve to have someone from her past continuing to bug her. I’ve heard of ghosting, but this felt like a haunting. I can see how he’d think he was making a big, romantic gesture, but come on dude. She moved on!
The rose ceremony that week was incredibly difficult. As much as it pained me, I knew I had to say goodbye to Kendall. Our time together filled my heart with joy, but our connection just wasn’t as strong as the other two. I’d miss all her facts, the ukele, the taxidermy, the talks of zombie apocalypses, and all the laughs. We had an amazing run. From kissing under the Eiffel Tower to her seeing her first snowfall, it was a relationship I’d never forget.
So, there I was, at the end of the week, in a situation that I had never imagined. I realized that I was in love with two women. I never thought this could happen to me. I hadn’t been in love since Emily, and now here I was: IN LOVE. TWO WOMEN. When I watched Ben’s season I was wondering how someone could fall in love with two people at once. Well, now I can empathize with him because it can happen and did happen. I was entering my last chapter as The Bachelor with two amazing, beautiful, intelligent women … and had no idea how I was going to figure out who I’d propose to. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any harder … I was about to enter the most intense chapter yet. Never, and I mean never did I think this journey would take the turn it does. Next week, join me in watching the dramatic, emotional conclusion to my journey as The Bachelor live on stage Monday and Tuesday.
The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.