02/ 10/ 2013
People don’t imagine I’m the kind of girl to have anxiety about traveling alone because I moved by myself to two foreign countries, but I do.
It’s not about the fear of new places or adventure–clearly, I don’t have that. It’s because no matter how many coming-of-age or menopause chick flicks will try and convince you otherwise, hanging out alone is not fun for people like me. I may not like all people, but I am a people person. I thrive on family, friends and good conversation. I like sharing my food and tasting the food on everyone else’s plate. I feed off of other people’s excitement. And I like it when people encourage me to buy that extra thing or order that extra dessert I shouldn’t.
Of course, if you’re an introverted bookworm I can see how it would seem appealing to spend a week by yourself in a treehouse in a wild forest, or rent an isolated cottage for a summer where the closest thing to social interaction will be listening to crickets sing. Maybe you want to discover yourself. Not me. Or maybe you like to go alone to museums, parks or other public places to people watch. For me, people watching is only fun when you can talk shit with your friends about the people y’all are watching.
Not to mention, you can be as intellectual/elevated as you want to be about being an independent woman who doesn’t give in to societal pressure, and you’d be right. But it doesn’t change the fact that we still live in 2013, and it is still pretty fucking uncool to party by yourself.
So all this is basically to explain why I am excited to finally be taking a little domestic vacation myself this weekend, but as usual am also dreading it, and hating myself for dreading it.
The thought process goes a little something like this: I’m booked for a trip to a new city. Excitedly, I start Googling all the amazing things I should see and the food I should try. I find a review of some amazing restaurant I just NEED to try. I imagine myself sitting there examining the menu, alone. I imagine myself taking out my phone and pretending to be occupied by important e-mails when really I’m checking Instagram and wondering if the waiter is staring at me with pity. I imagine how much it will suck when I want to try 2 or more dishes but I won’t be able to finish or afford it. Not the end of the world, but doesn’t exactly sound fun, does it?
So I switch mental gears. I tell myself I wouldn’t be a loser for being alone in a restaurant in a bar, but I WOULD be a loser if I never went to said restaurant or bar because I was afraid to be alone. And I am not that person. I am a New Yorker–I do me. And doing me, at this moment, means setting off to a new city and enjoying myself like a proper world traveler should. If I’m not enjoying myself or acting like a proper world traveler, I will fake it till I make it.
Yea! Now I’m on he right track. So how do I make this work? I turn on the charm and make new friends? I can do that. I have to pretend not to be shy and a little averse to new people at work, why can’t I do that on vacation? I’ll just talk to random strangers at the restaurants and bars, maybe even on the street. I could even meet some nice people…
…and I could also meet any bad person with an iota of logic who would see that I’m unarmed, 5’4, and I might talk a good talk, but am ultimately friendless in a new city with only my cynicism to defend myself. F*ck. The thought process has come full circle.
Ok just kidding, I’m not really that scared of that. I am aware of the danger, sure, hence the cynicism. Which is why cynicism is actually the best defense a girl can have, right?
In the end, I know how this is going to play out. There will be lonely moments, and I will probably find myself pretending to be really into my games on Words with Friends while sitting in some amazing restaurant or bar more than once. But I am going to have a great time.