Alone but not a loner


by Lottie Trick , Guest Writer

There are plenty of pretentious articles addressing the 'journey' of travelling alone and being comfortable with ones own company. This isn't one of those articles, nor am I travelling alone. I did however venture into Manhattan last week, to experience a performance at the prestigious Lincoln Centre. Solo.

Prior to this though, with faked gumption I marched block to block until I found a suitable Mediterranean restaurant- small enough so not to feel like an exhibit as a lone diner yet spacious enough to people watch. Once my food arrived, I glanced around the restaurant to notice the inevitability of technology grasping people’s attention, to the noticeable displeasure of the parties sat opposite. If they weren't ‘instagramming’ their food, their newsfeed had them hooked. I know, I know now I'm the pretentious one, right?

It's not that the pull of my glowing screen doesn’t ever distract me, but to be comfortable enough with ones own company is sadly (dare I say it) a 'journey' in its self. However, I am aware that this can be a tall order and when the inevitable question of 'will anyone else be joining you?' arises, even the most seasoned lone diner may need a few tips to fall back on. So whilst sat munching away in the middle of Manhattan, I thought of some ways to become a solo success:

- Confidently ask for a table for one as you enter to avoid that awkward question.
- Take time to read the menu; sometimes when eating alone the mission is to grab the first chicken dish in sight, inhale the meal and exit as swiftly as possible. This can lead to missing out on a better dish and the sense of regret as you see your neighbours meal arrive (it happens to the best of us, don’t’ worry).
- This leads me onto the suggestion of eating at a regular pace; I have given my self indigestion before as I demolished my dish giving me an air of ‘she’s so busy, she barely has time to eat’ kind of thing. However this just results in discomfort down the line.
- Books are always a great fall back if you're in a casual setting where literature is appropriate, then why not indulge in the moment alone and catch up on your latest read?
-People watching is my personal favourite (ultimately, just being nosey). Working out people's relationships, if they’re on their first dates etc.

After sharing my experiences with friends, I have realized that it's a rare and affirming ability that will open up the possibility of travelling, dining, walking, shopping alone, but never (I hope) as a loner.

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