Despite the glorious Instagram travel photos, what’s really happening?
Surviving (almost) a week, I’ve 2 hours left until my train to Rome. Therefore, making the most of Ostella Rossi Arch’s sunny outdoor terrace here in Florence. With weather reports of downpour snow back in Berlin, I’m not guilty of trading the last hours exploring Florence for a sunbathe. Nope.
Since laying on this curvy wooden lounger since 11am, in only 14 degree heat but pure sunshine, I’ve been reading about others travelling alone. Losing (a little) will yesterday, I actually felt sad and lonely eating my Asian instant noodle pot (a taste of home) and drinking my aloe vera water in the hostel cantine (FYI: no shame as I’ve indulged on all but amazing Italian food so far, my stomach, budget and diet needed a break, okay?!). Reading about other people’s travel experiences helped and reminded me of why I choose to be here. I choose to be here as I deem dreaming is a way of planning. Having made this trip a plan and real means I’ve fulfilled one of my dreams essentially.
Rewinding back to day 5, despite glorious Instagram photos, a reality of truth I’ve felt so far;
Eating alone. I really don’t mind doing this, but after 3 meals a day for 6 days, that’s 18 meals alone. The best thing for this is a notebook, time for photo editing, time for reading about the next place to visit or hoping for restaurant WiFi so you can have an e-meal with one of your friends or family members. Anything else than staring at the empty chair before you.
Feeling socially judged you’re on your own. Generally, I don’t tend to care what people think. However, this sketch involved waiting for a table at Trattoria Za Za, a recommended popular restaurant in Florence with hoards of people waiting for a table. The organiser repeatedly stated ‘table for one’. Yep, that’s me. Again – ‘Table for two?’ Nope, just one. ‘Oh yeah, it’s just you’. Repetition not needed whilst others were groups of friends, couples or families. It was a pure retake of Sex and the City’s episode where Miranda tries to buy a NY apartment in the 80’s as a single woman and is questioned over and over ‘you’re alone?’ ‘just you?’. HOWEVER, a seat for one means restaurant queue jumps!
Hostile hostel. My first hostel room in Venice – I was blessed with a really nice group of people, we didn’t have personal side lights so we had to be fair and share the main light which meant communicating to each other and adjusting to each other’s needs. This was nice. On the other hand, people who turn on the light at 7am, bang large hard case suitcases around and don’t even pretend to try be quiet, I quite dislike – Florence hostel. Nevertheless, it’s expected and accepted.
The reminder of why I’m here was needed. I appreciate every sight, every bite and every turn I’ve taken so far, alone can be a mighty conquer and consists of highs and lows – general life consists of highs and lows. So I accept.
I met Javier from Columbia, also travelling alone. He said it was his first time as he’s used to travelling with family or ex gfs. He told me Rome is beautifully romantic and he wished he was with someone special. I assume he’s alone this time as perhaps a recent single who turned to travelling for new adventures (at a guess), so I also reminded him why travelling alone is so great after my bulk reading and he agreed.
I’ve met so many other single travellers with own individual plans – radical last minute ones or scheduled long haul ones. This, I find very comforting, inspiring and reminds me that I’m not ‘just one’.