Many people preach about self-love and self-acceptance nowadays and I believe that that is very important. Travel has led me to many discoveries of how to accept myself, including by helping me to find my body confidence and making friends with strangers. In my opinion, taking yourself out to eat or drink is one of the best ways to really care for yourself!
Why dine solo?
I truly believe that being comfortable with this (without being on your phone) and doing it fairly regularly can not only fill you with confidence, it also means that you spend good, quality time with yourself.
You are the person who is the centre of your world. You are the person whom you should be at peace with. In my opinion, if you know yourself and love yourself you can only reflect good energy out to the rest of the world. I mean we never will get to the point of fully knowing ourselves, but getting closer to understanding what makes you ‘tick’ can help all areas of your life, as a wise man once told me (that may sound cliché but those words of advice were actually given to me by a wise Macedonian doctor).
If you take yourself out, you have an opportunity to sit with your thoughts and potentially write them down as I am now. I’m currently enjoying a half pint of some Balkan beer, whilst I enjoy the views of Lake Ohrid (saved from the sun by a restaurant umbrella). Writing down my thoughts and feelings helps me to understand myself more and also helps me to work through the struggles that I am having in my life.
Don’t care about what others think
Dining solo is definitely scary at first; you feel like other diners are watching you and maybe the waiter is silently judging you by their surprise exclamation of, “a table for one?!”
In a busy restaurant/bar/café, you feel that you might be taking up a table that a larger group could use and you might even feel like you hear murmurings of waiters and waitresses telling customers that a table will be ready in 10 minutes (as I have just heard now)… But you gotta get those thoughts and worries out of your mind.
Noone’s watching you (and if they are then they’re the weird ones), you’re still spending money and it’s as good as anyone else’s dollar. Most importantly, YOU have every right to be there as much as the next person.
Going out solo is a great way to become more independent too! Regularly we rely on the confident friend to make a call or enter the restaurant first. I think it’s cause we, at least I used to, fear the awkwardness of initial interactions. When you first meet someone you can be nervous and feel flustered so you trip up over your words. That’s embarrassing and embarrassment isn’t fun. But, who cares about that?! It’ll be remembered for all of two minutes (10 minutes at worst) by those you interact with. And the more you expose yourself to something, the better you get at it and eventually you no longer fear it!
The benefits of solo dining
I LOVE going out solo. Being an introvert I actually crave it sometimes. Recharging by drinking a coffee, people watching and writing down my recent thoughts makes me feel so much better.
I did fear dining and drinking alone at one time. Solo travel forced me to do it. I didn’t want to stop myself from enjoying a place so I would go out and eat/drink the local delicacies alone (if I couldn’t find any hostel friends to go to dinner with). But now I am very proud that I can enjoy my own company and treat myself.
Sometimes a solo trip can lead to meeting people and having random conversations. Here’s a few random conversations I’ve had with strangers as a result of dining solo:
• Talking about everything from mental health to LGBTQ to travel and life goals with two guys at a cafe on the seafront, not far from my home
• Dining with an air hostess on the last day of her holiday in Thailand and finding out what her lifestyle is like, whilst eating Thai food in Krabi, Thailand
• Talking with a guy about web design and the creative industry in a cafe in Šenčur, Slovenia
All of these people approached me and chatted to me when I went out to eat or drink alone. And I have no way of ever getting back into contact with them, but that makes it all the more beautiful and mysterious… the fact that we shared a great conversation for an hour or so and probably never will meet ever again.
If you’re solo you’re more approachable. And if you’re open minded to conversations with strangers, like I most definitely am, then you can have some incredibly interesting conversations!
Just like the reason why many people solo travel (because they’re friends don’t have the time, or money or interest to join), you should go out to eat, or drink, or go to the cinema solo… hell, even go take yourself to the zoo if you fancy it!
If you want to do something, why not take yourself out… “treat yo’ self”. Remember you’re número uno!
See ya soon over at that table for 1!