As an introverted extrovert, there’s nothing I love more to recharge my energy than spending time alone. I look forward to pockets of solo time throughout the week to decompress and relax. Tired of always being at home for these recharge dates and craving connection, I began taking myself out on solo adventures to find inspiration and explore the world. Fast forward a few years, and this is now one of favorite ways to spend an evening or a weekend.
At first, I was embarrassed to be dining alone. Self-conscious to be buying a movie ticket for one. But soon I began to look forward to these outings. A chance to connect with myself + the world around me, to observe and be with other people, even if we’re not interacting. Being alone as a woman in our society can be viewed negatively, casting you as a loner or unapproachable. In my case, I’ve found quite the opposite. I’m more likely to strike up a meaningful conversation with a stranger if we’re both absorbed in the experience around us. I’ve learned it’s easier to be inspired at a museum or art class if I’m flying solo—taking the time I need to explore my surroundings at my own pace without worry of slowing someone else down.
Treat yourself to a solo date this week. Below are six of my favorites to try:
Try a new restaurant. Going out to eat solo is the perfect way to ease in! Saddle up to the bar, take a book as a prop, and order a big glass of wine. I love the people watching, the asking of recommendations from the staff, and the sense of anonymity that comes from dining solo.
Go to an art museum. One of my favorite ways to pass a weekend morning is taking in art leisurely. I read ALL the notes, revisit my favorite pieces, and even stop to photograph or sketch something that inspires me along the way.
Take a class. Classes are a great way to be social, but solo. Pick a topic you’ve been wanting to learn—art, cooking, floral arranging—and sign up! I recently took a natural dye making class and was the only solo participant in the class. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people with like interests, learning and growing and having fun. I found myself interacting more with others in the class than I would if I’d been with a friend.
See a film. You get to pick the film AND eat all the popcorn.
Explore your city. Go to a neighborhood you haven’t explored in and be a tourist. Shop, eat, wander. Or get outside and hike, bike, or swim. Exploring on your own is a great way to center yourself and connect with your thoughts.
Travel. I love traveling alone—a byproduct of many years as a corporate creative, I was lucky to be forced to embrace solo travel in my twenties. These days, I relish the trips I get to plan and experience on my own. I love the research + decisions that come with prepping AS MUCH as the actual exploring once I’m there. I always, always make new friends and end up having the best interactions with other solo adventurers along the way. My favorite cities to explore solo: New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Paris. All are full of inspiring energy, with simple transit systems and so full of people you’ll never feel alone.
Here’s to enjoying the company you keep, even if it’s just your own.
Jill Elliott is a creative consultant, strategist, and thinker constantly seeking inspiration and balance. As a writer, artist, and founder of The Color Kind she seeks to inspire others to live creatively every day. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her 7-year-old daughter and Goldendoodle puppy.