Traveling alone means eating and enjoying a drink by yourself which are two of the most satisfying experiences in life.
If the idea of sitting at a restaurant by yourself makes you want to pull a menu over your face and mumble, “to go please,” I have news for you. Eating and enjoying a drink alone are two of the most satisfying experiences in life. Considering that this article is a part of the ‘Reflections on Traveling Alone’ series, it should be no surprise that I am going to tout dining solo as the hottest new activity since traveling in the first place. But please, let me take a moment to convince you.
First off, when traveling by yourself, you reserve the right to choose where and when you want to eat or drink at that moment. There is nothing better than stumbling into a delicious restaurant when your stomach begins to sound like Johnny Cash. You won’t have to discuss for thirty minutes which restaurant has cuter tea candles. Don’t get me wrong, eating and drinking with friends and family has been a favorite human pastime since our opposable thumbs allowed us to lift beer mugs to our hairy faces. Socializing and grubbing inherently go together, a fact backed up by millennia of anthropological evidence. However, there is a delightful personal experience that comes with eating alone, which I will spoon-feed you to avoid any confusion. (See what I did there?)
Once you are seated, take in your surroundings. Talk to your waiter or waitress for a few minutes if you can and get recommendations on what to eat, or just make small talk if they aren’t busy. You’ll feel immediately more comfortable and will have met someone (always a plus when traveling alone.) I usually bring something to do, like a paper to read, a notebook to write in, a book, or my laptop. Once you sit down, truly take a moment to consider what you feel like doing. This is time for you to enjoy. You may just want to sit and people watch.
When your food comes, take your time eating it. You’ll be amazed at how delicious it tastes when you eat it undistracted, slowly, without a conversation or upcoming appointment to divert your senses. Also, order a drink if you feel like it! Holing up in your apartment with a vodka bottle and having a Guinness with dinner is not the same thing. Don’t be afraid to sit for a while after you finish, either. It isn’t awkward, it’s therapeutic, and you deserve it.
There is something oddly romantic and sweet about eating alone, which is why I encourage you to try it. So if you find yourself alone when hunger strikes, before you go crying into your napkin, find a delicious restaurant and order a table for one.