Going it Alone

Going it Alone


Recently, I mentioned to a male friend of mine that I was going to see a movie and he asked, “Is it a date?”

I replied “Yes, a date with myself.”

His reply, “Oh, man. You’re going alone?”

His reply made me chuckle to myself. I don’t know whether he found it hard to understand that I would even contemplate going out by myself or that he felt sorry for me.

I started doing things alone when I first went travelling 12 years ago. If you choose to travel solo you don’t have much choice. Yes, I met people and it was fantastic, I have some wonderful memories of those people and times. But, equally when you are alone you don’t have anyone to worry about. You can go where you want, when you want and do whatever you please.

The very first time I dined alone was in Kuala Lumpur in one of the hotel’s restaurants. I recall feeling a little self conscious and was thinking that everyone was looking at me because I was alone. They weren’t. I was made even more self-conscious when a group of musicians came over and sang to me. Maybe they felt sorry for me too. But I ended up not caring and left with a huge smile on my face.

Then, when I was travelling around Thailand, I met a woman called Sophia in Bangkok. She was travelling alone and I started chatting to her because my family and friends had just left me and I was feeling a little out of sorts. She really cheered me up and I will always remember what she told me. She said that doing things alone is very empowering.

Now, my home is in Bangkok and I go out everywhere alone. I have friends here but my working schedule means that it is not always possible to meet them. I take to the streets and wander around taking photographs, go to the movies, have lunch or dinner in my favourite bars, go to art galleries, or I just stay home and write, paint or cook, whatever takes my fancy. I have learned to love my own company. What Sophia told me was true; being alone and actually loving it is a surefire way to boost your confidence.

Start small. Next time you agree to meet your mate at a bar. Don’t wait outside. Instead, go and ensconce yourself at the bar and order yourself a large drink. It’s a great feeling!

Pegasus Reef Hotel, Sri Lanka

12 Replies to “Going it Alone”

  1. I have never had problems with going any place alone 🙂 Not always my family and friends are available, so what? If it is a place worth to revisit, I will come back and bring someone else with me 🙂

    1. Exactly, so what? I wouldn’t always just stay home if plans were broken if I had already planned to go out. If I find somewhere I like, I take friends the next time I go too 🙂

  2. Great post and I can totally relate to how you felt when first going it alone!

    A long time ago (back in ’85), when I grabbed by backpack and solo-travelled the world for about 12 months, I remember that same feeling. Especially going into any sort of restaurant and requesting: “Table for 1”. These days, it’s not uncommon. As you mentioned, it’s very empowering and that’s a great thing! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. The first time isn’t easy, there is always that self-conscious feeling that everyone is looking at you. But they aren’t, they probably haven’t even noticed you. Yes, wherever I go now, I see so many people on their own and I like that. 🙂

      1. Totally agree!

        I always remember in ’85, walking into a red-checkered tablecloth restaurant in Milano and having to sit with a table of 3 women as there wasn’t any room left. Not a fancy restaurant at all as I couldn’t afford fancy.

        As an underdressed backpacker and obviously a foreigner, the ladies started speaking about me in Italian – they’re weren’t complementary! So, I let them go on for a while listening to their bitching. When they were bored with slagging me off and changed the subject, I got up to pay the bill. I turned around to them and responded in Italian: You shouldn’t really talk about people as you never know whether they understand and speak your language!
        And with that, I walked out with head up high in the air! The look on their faces was priceless 😉

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