Don’t Feel Sorry For Solo Travelers

There I am. I’m the girl eating by herself in that restaurant you went to with your significant other or your group of friends.

Pity for solo travelers

Maybe you’ve seen me. Maybe you’ve even looked at me with pity. Maybe you’ve even felt so sorry for me that you considered inviting me over so that I wouldn’t be lonely anymore. Maybe you’ve felt this way with other solo travelers you’ve come across.

Traveling alone, but not feeling lonely.

Traveling alone, but not feeling lonely.

But then you see me softly chuckling to myself, or perhaps I had even let out a full-grown laugh. It’s loud, I know. You think maybe I’m a little weird and you go back to your own meal. No matter.

You’ll have to excuse me. The book I’m reading is hilarious or I’m just having witty banter with myself. I’m happy. I’m content. I’m having a good time. And yes, I’m all that even traveling alone. And I’m willing to bet other solo travelers are pretty happy too.

It wasn’t always this way for me. I remember when I was 19 or 20 years old. My class had let out early, but my then-boyfriend was still in a lab for another 2 hours. I was starving and needed to be fed ASAP. Dread filled my shrinking stomach at the thought of dining alone, but I had no other choice. It was that or die. I ate alone that lunch, the only lone diner in a bustling restaurant near campus – one that I frequented often with friends. I was mortified to be there on my own so I scarfed my meal down and got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

The best part of solo travel

I have no idea what I was so embarrassed about. Five years into solo travel and I have come to appreciate and enjoy my solo meals. I can sit down with a good book, order a bottle of wine to keep me and my meal slow company, and the world just disappears.

Solo dining at its best - no need to share!

Solo dining at its best – no need to share!

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a crazed recluse or anything. It’s just that the more I travel on my own, the more comfortable I am with myself and being on my own. I still love the company of others and would never turn down a dining companion, but I no longer feel awkward in my solitude.

Why you should try solo travel too

I think this sort of comfort in and with yourself is important. It teaches you to live happily in your own skin. It gives you time to contemplate and reflect on things without outside influence. It makes you more independent and self-sufficient. Most importantly, it teaches you to accept yourself for who you are.

And you being you isn’t a bad thing at all. That’s the most important thing solo travel has taught me, so please don’t feel even the slightest bit of sympathy for me or for other solo travelers being alone. We quite enjoy it – but it doesn’t mean you can’t come say hello.

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