As my train winds its way to Pavia, I’m inclined to contemplate traveling along. I do a lot of it obviously, out of necessity more than by choice. That said, it’s really not so bad.
People often act shocked when I tell them I’m heading off alone. I gather most people don’t contemplate solo travel, but they should!
Advantages? Well, selfishly, you get to do everything at your own pace. I get to walk crazy distances, stop for an espresso without hesitation, and change plans on a whim.
The biggest issue to navigate is probably meals. I address this in two ways. First, I probably weight my eating more towards grab-and-go or picnic than sit down. But I’ll still do some fancy sit down dinners – at a minimum, I bring my kindle and just enjoy that.
Out of consideration to the restaurant, if it’s a busy place I’ll go earlier. That way, I’m not sucking up a spot with their least profitable customer – a solo non-drinker.
Sometimes, like earlier this week, you’ll end up seated at a community table. This is a great option if possible – on Tuesday, I got to chat with an oil company executive from the netherlands.
I used to avoid wearing my earbuds while walking a city alone, but I’ve changed my mind on that. Listening to podcasts, particularly if you’ve got a sense of familiarity with the hosts, can ward off loneliness, and surprising makes it easier to focus on navigating the city.
Perhaps the biggest downside is that it can be slightly harder to take a risk in a situation involving social interaction. It’s a little easier to make a fool of yourself when you’ve got someone there to laugh along with you. Doing something embarrassing or wandering into an off limits area can be a bit more daunting alone. Of course, who’s going to know you did that? Just forget it and move on!
So yeah, those are some initial thoughts on the matter. The train is pulling in to Pavia, and I’m ready for espresso #4.