Travel – Eating alone

When I am at home, I hate the idea of eating alone. I will admit that I am one of those people that will carry a book with them or their phone if I know that I’m going to have to eat alone.  At work, if I have no one to eat lunch with, I will eat at my desk and check what’s going on in the news or on social media.  But to be 100% honest, I try to avoid eating alone at all costs.  Even when I am ordering food to go or ordering delivery, I absolutely dread it.  I don’t know what it is but I really don’t like having to order food to my home or having to go pick it up for myself.  There are those days that I will do it because I am that lazy and don’t want to cook food or I have absolutely no food in my home.  But I actually avoid it as much as possible.  The only place I feel absolutely okay actually eating alone would be in the safety of my own home.

But, when I travel, it is a whole different story especially because I travel alone and if you don’t like eating alone…. then it can pose to be a problem. I have to admit it, I’ve learned to be okay with it when I travel but it is purely out of necessity. If I had a choice, I would still avoid eating alone if possible.  But here are a few ways that I’ve learned to deal with it:

  • I always bring a book or my Kindle just in case I feel like I need to pretend I have better things to do than make conversations with people
  • I walk into the restaurant with a purpose looking like I don’t want to be messed with so that people think I am eating alone out of choice and not because I am alone/friendless in this situation
  • I try to eat as quickly as I possibly can so that I can speed through my meals and lessen the amount of time that I spend sitting alone
  • On the days that I’m feeling excessively brave, I will stare out the window at people or just people watch in general to see what they’re eating and doing
  • I always try to position myself the furthest from the door, closest to a wall and surrounded by people so that it seems less obvious that I am eating alone
  • I embrace the fact that I am eating alone and just enjoy it.  It really is a character building activity to learn to be okay with being by yourself.

Most people would probably say that I should try making friends or approaching other people but when I solo travel, it is my time to just think and decompress.  If I meet anyone interesting that’s great, but I have to admit that I don’t actively go looking for it.  I think that it is because I am usually lost in my own thoughts and day dreams that noticing other people is not something I excel at. One thing that I have noticed is that I do find myself staring off into space without actually processing what I’m seeing and I think that also makes me less approachable because it comes off as slightly creepy and awkward.

Even though I’ve learned to eat alone and have done this in over 8 countries, I still only reserve this activity for travel.  It is something I will still try to avoid with all my power when I am home.  And to be honest, I’m not sure why.  But it is interesting to see how solo travel builds your character and breaks some of your habits.  It is definitely something I appreciate about solo travel and has taught me that I can step outside of my comfort zone and try new things.

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