Updated: Dec 25, 2021
One of the tough parts of traveling solo is loneliness. I work hard to meet new people and schedule events to keep me active, but that darned feeling seems to keep finding me. And never did I feel it stronger than on Thanksgiving.
I was meant to share the holiday with a good friend and her family, but a case of COVID in her circle canceled my invitation at the last minute.
I hustled to the store to grab some of my holiday comfort foods. For some reason, the area grocery stores weren’t offering grab and go roasted turkey and all I could find was Mac & Cheese and Potatoes for sides. And my favorite pie for the holiday, pumpkin, was nowhere to be found in Maine. (They seem to prefer their fruit pies.) I was a bit sad that I wasn't going to be around friends and family for the holiday. When I couldn't find the foods that reminded me of them, it made me that much emptier.
It’s such a strange place to be, feeling like you’re on the edge of loneliness. I could either whole-heartedly embrace it and hunker down in my apartment with my sad take-away of mashed potatoes, chicken wings and blueberry pie. But I just couldn’t do it.
So I located a restaurant, sat at the bar, ordered their holiday prix fix dinner, met several lovely people and was taken well care of by a thoughtful bartender and staff.
(Union St Restaurant, Portland ME - It was actually packed with diners when I was there, but it didn't feel quite right taking a photo that night.)
It wasn't my ideal Thanksgiving by any means. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed hearing what everyone was grateful for and toasting to one another. I missed laughing and those knowing smiles that are shared across the table or room. I missed all the glorious food made with love and walking into an inviting room filled with hugs.
But it was a Thanksgiving that I think will be important for me for the rest of my life. I now know what it means to be alone for the holidays. I can say without hesitation that I'm not a fan. I cherish the memories of holidays past so much more and am already looking forward to being with friends and family . Without question, it's made me more grateful for those moments of togetherness.