I don’t know about you, but I’m back to traveling for work. Pre-pandemic, I was traveling about 20 percent of the time. During the pandemic, travel was completely halted. Now, I’m happy to say, my schedule requires travel about five to 10 percent of the time. And, I enjoy it!
When I’m “on stage,” meaning when I’m teaching or consulting or meeting with clients, I absolutely love the travel. Travel gives me an opportunity to share my message beyond the four walls of my immediate geographic region, it allows me to meet more people and, sometimes, I even have the opportunity to bring along my family for some adventure time away from home. That said, when I’m traveling on my own, mealtime can be kind of a drag.
However, no need to be blue… there is a simple and effective method I use to not feel so alone during solo travel: I eat at the bar!
Here’s the thing: I’m not talking about a cheesy pick-up scene or a dive bar. That’s not really my jam. Instead, I love going to a relatively nice restaurant and, rather than have the hostess seat me at a table for one, I ask the bartender, “will you feed me at the bar?” The answer is almost invariably “Yes!” So, I sit right down and that’s when the fun begins!
When you are seated at the bar, you often have a bird’s eye view of everything going on at the restaurant. You can watch the action in the kitchen… observe the artistry with which the bartender crafts a cocktail… take in the other diners and check out what they are eating. The people-watching alone is worth the time!
Additionally, if you’re in the mood for conversation, you can usually talk it up with the bartender. Then, of course, there are the others who are seated in the bar stools around you. For whatever reason, people are usually pretty friendly when they are seated at the bar. Though small talk is not typically my preferred mode of discussion, it works just fine at the bar. And, if you would rather just keep to yourself, there is often a TV to keep you company or you can focus in on your smartphone by listening to a podcast, playing today’s Spelling Bee, or catching up on the day’s news.
No need to be alone, even when you are flying solo. Belly up to the bar and ask for a menu. You’ll be glad you did!