Really appreciated being able to hear your voice! This idea of alone-less and the comfort (or discomfort), with it that society has.

And yes, I LOVE eating alone at restaurants and taking trips alone. It opens up a different kind of experience. Different things unfold on a solo trip vs one w others.

Great point about listening/watching to shows while being 'alone'. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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Ah it's wonderful to know someone appreciates the podcast/audio version of this!

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences! If you feel comfortable sharing, how did you get used to eating alone and taking trips alone? Were you socialized that it was okay or something you discovered on your own? Have you experienced resistance from others about your alone time and how do you deal with it? I'd love to know x

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Hmmm, I think for me, there were things I wanted to do, so I did them. Eating alone at a restaurant, never seemed odd to me, but instead, freeing. Same with watching a movie on my own. Oh the delight of not having to share my popcorn, and being as greedy with it as a wanted! It almost seemed like a stolen pleasure. :)

I think I learned more of being able to appreciate my own company after going through my divorce. I also grew up as an only child until I was 9, so I had a LOT of time on my own, and had to learn how to entertain myself. So, for me, my path to enjoying my own company may have had multiple routes. I do find as I get older, I try to cultivate and protect those time in a more intentional way. Especially time in nature. I'm very careful who I take with me. It reminds me of this poem by Mary Oliver (which I'll post below).

In terms of the resistance from parents, family etc... Hmmm. I think bc I had always been doing project on my own since I was little, it wasn't too surprising to them. And as I got older, my life didn't follow a 'traditional cultural' path, so I was somewhat exempt from the expectations that might have followed. My mom wishes I would take someone with me on long solo trips, but I've explained how important my solo time is to me, and that I specifically *don't* want to take someone with me. I am happy to make agreements with her to call every few days to check in etc.

Loneliness can definitely creep in too... it's part of the human experience, but I think about times I've been in relationships and felt so alone. That was a terrible feeling too... worse than *actually* being alone, and not feeling sad/resentful toward a partner. And I understand that part of solo travel and time is going to involve loneliness, or frustrations on the road that would be much easier to handle with someone else there to help. There are also the safety issues of being a solo female traveler to contend with as well, but overall, having good situational awareness and 'common' sense, knowing the local customs and listening to information that the locals share (avoid this street, don't walk alone in this part of the city after dark, etc), has proved to serve me well.

Sorry for the long response. I was finally at my computer and could send over a more thorough reply!

Here's the poem!

Mary Oliver, 'How I Go Into The Woods'

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone,

with not a single friend,

for they are all smilers and talkers

and therefore unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds

or hugging the old black oak tree.

I have my ways of praying,

as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone

I can become invisible.

I can sit on the top of a dune

as motionless as an uprise of weeds,

until the foxes run by unconcerned.

I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me,

I must love you very much.

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I love that you have found the freedom in eating at a restaurant alone and going to the movies alone! And I am glad that your family didn't put up too much resistance - you're right about them getting used to it. For me, I had to "train" them by building up to it, and now they still ask about things that seem unusual to them, but not from a place of trying to stop me.

What you said about feeling lonely in a relationship -- gosh that hits home so hard. I think that kind of loneliness is one of the most difficult kinds to deal with, and I have experienced that in several of my relationships... which as I write this, is making me think that maybe it's something I'm doing that is causing that feeling of loneliness in my relationships, so I shall go reflect on that.

Thank you for sharing this poem, I may have read it a long time ago because it seems familiar yet unknown and all the more lovely for it. <3

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