August 25, 2021
You Don’t Want to Go by Yourself!
They keep telling her that. But she’s been saving money for a year and a half, just to be able to go out to eat, in her favorite city…
And if nobody else can go with her right now, that’s fine; she enjoys her own company!
She’s starting here:
She’s only going to pack what she can easily carry, so she narrows down her color palette:
It’s not a long train ride, but she still wants to look nice; this whole idea of traveling in pajamas leaves her cold, in so many ways!
I’m not telling you that this 39-inch square silk scarf costs only $49…
She frankly isn’t going to do a ton of sightseeing; she plans to eat at the second dinner service when the serious diners are there. That means that she will probably sleep fairly late, and then spend quite a bit of time in a café, watching the world go by…
Mostly, she wants comfortable, adequately dressy clothes to wear to the restaurants into which she’s booked. She’s going to some of the most famous restaurants in the city, this trip. Even if she’s alone, she is NOT going to give up this opportunity!
“What do you DO when you are at dinner by yourself?”
Well… eat. Eating’s a big part of the whole evening! And drink some excellent wine; one of the benefits of saving money for SO LONG is that she can have pretty much anything she wants on the menu, OR the wine list!
Watch people. Enjoy my food. Watch people some more. Think about how lucky I am…
She arranges her travel capsule wardrobe on the sofa before she packs it – the bed doesn’t give her the view she wants! And she plans outfits, to correspond with various restaurants or neighborhoods…
She thinks that she’s going to take notes every night after she gets back to her hotel, and write a magazine article about dining alone when she gets home; more people need to get comfortable being in a restaurant without a companion!
And you – do you like to dine alone? I personally really enjoy it….
p.s. Five years ago, I shared how I was packing for a trip to Italy that didn’t actually happen… It’s still a very nice packing plan, though!
To me, going on my own is off-putting as I love sharing new experinces with people who are special in my life. However sometimes I have set myself the challenge to “go on holiday by myself and to enjoy it”. And I have succeeded!! That has been a confidence boosting achievement. As an avid book reader, as well as someone who enjoys starting conversations with others, I need never be alone in a restaurant!!
I am envious of our heroine – as I’ve got older I love travelling alone and my idea of hell is holidaying with other people, other than one very good friend who is ‘on the same wavelength’ as I. In fact – true confessions time – I have even been known to tell little white lies to carve out a day or so on my own when visiting friends and family! In my defence I am what I think would be described as a fairly sociable introvert, but someone who gets exhausted with too much social interaction and needs some solitude every day.
I can relate to this. My husband and I travel great together. We are on the same wavelength. However, we have had terrible experiences traveling or even meeting up with other travelers. We have vowed to only travel with each other!
When I was younger I often travelled alone for work and sometimes pleasure and used to eat out a lot. i never felt uncomfortable because people chatted more easily then and other single people used to join me or me them. I guess it was a different time and maybe youth had a lot to do with it. I wouldn’t want to do it now – maybe a cafe with a good book, but a restaurant in the evening, no. On a few occasions in Italy when on holiday with my husband, I have seen single diners placed in a corner facing the wall! It makes me feel sad.
Ooooh, that would NEVER happen to a heroine from The Vivienne Files! She would very nicely, politely, but firmly, assure the host that she wanted a table with a view of the dining room. Failure to comply would result in an equally polite, but firm, stroll OUT THE DOOR.
I like to stand up for myself, and believe that women alone should never be treated as less than the Princess in Roman Holiday; they don’t know WHO we are in real life!
I don’t like eating alone, although I very much like sitting alone and watching people. I can do that at a coffee place, or in a park. In general, a holiday concentrating on eating dinners at restaurants wouldn’t be on my list. I would prefer to be up early and out and about touring. I love the lace trimmed cardigan. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the blush color, even though I do have a smattering of it in my closet. Jury’s out. Love it with the black though. Thanks Janice!
rosemary Gannon says
I never go on my own not with my anxiety. I like her choice of clothes I wear all of them except the lace front cardigan.
I love to travel alone and to eat out by myself! One can eat at one’s own pace and not feel rushed but enjoy each mouthful thoroughly! If I was seated alone in a corner facing a wall I would ( charmingly!) ask for a new arrangement or table. I definitely would not be a Dowdy Deb sitting in a corner with a book!!!! What is much, much sadder than seeing some one eating alone is observing a couple dining together but having more interaction with their phones then each other or just sitting, glumly eating and not talking to each other. I see this a lot with older couples eating in expensive restaurants. One of the pair has clearly been brought against their will to eat at the establishment and is not happy for one reason or other.
I have seen older couples eating quietly together and not chatting too much but sharing intimate glances and a few snippets of conversation. They clearly are ‘here for the food’ and mean to enjoy it! I have no problem with that as the food is their mutual reason for dining at that establishment and they generally give off a contented vibe;)
Every one is different but I would rather go and eat by myself then share a table with a Glum Gary or Pouting Patricia… also reading a book at table in a fine restaurant is NOT acceptable and on a par with dining while perusing a phone…go to a café or fast food establishment. When the food is the star it is just rude to not give it your full attention!!
I do find it odd that people will while away hours alone, in a café, toying with a coffee whilst ‘people watching’ and yet feel they cannot possibly sit alone for a meal in a fine dining restaurant. Oh well, à chacun son goût!! You are missing out!
I think it would depend on the restaurant, for me. I can think of a few place I would suffer any hardship, if being alone could be called a hardship, to enjoy the food there. Mostly Italian places. Or seafood. And I agree with the other posters that no company is better than bad company. Love the bracelet and clothes. This sort of really nice capsule always tempts me to abandon my chosen colors. Black is so elegant.
I love this collection of clothes! The color combination and pieces are so elegant and lovely to look at.
I used to travel a lot for work and got used to dining alone. I am perfectly OK with it. I like to travel alone but my idea of heaven would be a beautiful lodge somewhere in a wooded setting with trails to wander during the day, excellent room service and a fireplace with a chaise I could occupy while reading and drinking a perfect glass of wine. Either rain or snow falling outside a nearby window. I feel contented just thinking about it!!
NATALIE K says
I LOVE this little mini travel ardrobe!! I ould need to ear my flat suede booties ith special traction for et and/or slppery floors. Because I am disabled and use a alker. I ould change all the black pants to my black skirts. Then everything else ould come home ith me!! Just a gorgeous mini travel ardrobe!!!!
I traveled to England, France and Thailand by myself and had thoroughly enjoyable times! Never pity the nerdy girl in the corner reading a book with her tagliatelle… she is having the time of her life! What could be better than a glass of chianti and an Anais Nin novel, dining in a beautiful city?
Beth T says
Gosh this is a pretty collection of clothes and accessories. Book me a ticket. However, going abroad is fraught with online admin, uncertainty about restrictions when you get there and possible quarantine on your return. Accommodation costs in the UK have sky rocketed (not just because of the pandemic), so we have decided to holiday at home.
So we are taking day trips or just going for walks and to the pub. We are eating three course dinners at home from a different region every night. Best of all, I’m not cooking, my husband is! All I have to do is change for dinner, go to the dining room and eat!
On the topic of eating out alone, it is a treat to do so at lunchtime. I don’t mind sharing a table either. However, dinner on your own is not for me. I like to share the experience. My husband and I are in the camp of not talking all the time – we have been together over 30 years! There’s also a bit of self-consciousness about conversations being overheard. It is sad to see elderly people having dinner on their own. Occasionally, they are regulars and help create a vibe. It is the company you have that makes an ordinary dinner into a memorable meal.
VERY LOUD MUSIC will not even get me through the door or if it is turned up during the meal, will send me fleeing early.
I will always go back and write a good review if the staff have gone the extra mile without being asked. The pay for waiting staff is generally low, so patience and gratitude go a long way towards getting good service.
Beth T says
The look back was intriguing because many of us must have eye-catching jewellery which we now rarely have occasion to wear. I have several distinctive bracelets, rings, necklaces and more diamante than I know what to do with.
So please would you do a blog based on how to wear eye catching or fancy jewellery with ordinary clothes.
Sally in St Paul says
I second this suggestion. That kind of mixed up look feels very modern and fun.
Hélène G. says
Des idées formidables pour voyager, ou encore, pour l’automne, pour se sentir à la fois à l’aise, chic, et adapté aux changements de température !
Merci beaucoup, Janice !
Je vous en prie, Hélène!
Alison Gunn says
I much prefer traveling alone, and I look forward to times when I can eat alone. Unless you’re with someone with whom you are entirely in sync (rare in my world) consider how the pace of your time must correspond with theirs; how many things you give up so the other person’s needs are taken into account; how being tired or more awake influences you. Worst of all are the fellow travelers in a bad mood when I find travel one of the things that gives me life. For me, I prefer time spent at my own pace. I’ve sat in breakfast rooms for hours when traveling for hours, breakfasting at my own pace (very slow sometimes). I’ve dashed into restaurants quickly only to be out again within a half hour, due to something I want to do that’s more interesting than food. I’ve met people I would never have encountered when with someone else. There is just so much personal freedom in traveling alone (to certain places; there are places it’s unwise to travel to alone, in my opinion). The most annoying thing I ever heard came from the table next to me one morning: “I don’t think I’d want to be here (Iceland in this case) all by myself.” Extremely presumptuous but also in the same ballpark as the person above who finds it ‘sad’ that people eat alone. I find it empowering, and trained myself a long time ago (in my early 20s) to do things alone, largely since it was clear that most people could not. I think it is psychologically unhealthy to be unable to function without other people (unless you must because of health reasons, which I am very aware of, having a few problems myself). I personally need my freedom the way people need air. It’s not something I’d willingly give up.
As a (happily) divorced woman of nearly 65, I love traveling alone. That being said, I equally enjoy traveling with my grown daughters. And as someone who has spent her life teaching elementary children, I crave quiet moments alone. I make it a habit to take myself on a “date night” about once every six weeks or so. With school back in session, I’m too exhausted to do that right now, but hopefully I’ll get some energy soon. I dress up, put on perfume, maybe mascara, and make a reservation at the classiest restaurant in my town. I go to enjoy a lovely steak and a glass of wine. Why would anyone think I look “sad” eating alone? I love it! Some years ago, after returning from a brief trip during summer break another teacher asked me, “You go ALONE??????” in a disbelieving voice. I told her long ago I made the decision to travel alone – if I didn’t go alone, I wouldn’t be able to go at all.
Amy in Indy says
I apply the same motto to dining solo as I do to dating: “It’s better to be alone than to wish you were.”
I love the rose gold roll bag!
I didn’t say eating alone is sad, I said seeing single diners (mainly men) being placed in a corner facing the wall made me feel sad – I am allowed to feel sad. Having read some of the comments above, the men might have chosen to face away from the dining hall lest they be watched and judged! My comment obviously touched a nerve with a few of you, but I don’t think it warranted some of the cutting remarks that were made. Sorry Janice for the diversion away from your lovely capsule wardrobe.
Clearly this just points out the differences between us, despite being drawn together by love of TVF. Reminds me of a similar discussion not too long ago around warm vs. cool (or something like that). Some of us don’t care to eat alone, while others find it quite enjoyable. Doesn’t mean there’s a good or bad, better or worse, just different.
It is a strange realization that I LOVE looking at soothing color schemes like this one and those of gray and pastels and muted colors. I am currently dreaming of rosewood from LLBean, but when I wear them I feel drained and depressed. I feel best wearing jewel tones but not looking at them. Lol. Does anyone else have that experience?
Yes, brown is something I can wear but it makes me feel ill. It looks nice on me, I get compliments but I’ve learnt not to buy it, I just declutter it barely worn (& sometimes with tags). I finally realized when I was doing really small capsules but even then, I would pass on the brown stuff. When I sat down and thought about it, I realized when I reach for brown- forcing myself- I felt a little ill.
I love this capsule and the dream of a holiday travelling again. Such a happy mental vacation seeing it, reading the snippets of the latest heroine.
Yes I enjoy the odd time I eat alone in restaurants but usually it’s George and I. I enjoy the food more eating at my own pace (slow) rather than apologizing for holding everyone else up. George is fine with my pace, he’s not one to bolt his food either but with company either I’ve gotten slower or people are eating faster. Not sure which.
I’m busy working at incorporating some soft pink elements into my fall project 333 capsule. I started with a black, grey, taupe and off white base. So far I have a cranberry pullover & scarf, a muted green & taupe scarf, and jewelry in jade and amber. I also have a pink scarf with cranberry in the print. Maybe.
This capsule that Janice pulled together is very inspiring.
Wendy from Canada must be nearing liftoff. It was about a month back we were looking at the travel capsule for her trip to Poland. The one with winter things. She mentioned it was about a month away then. If you’re reading this Wendy, happy travels! ????
I echo that – you’re so kind to remember her trip and her dates! We wish you great fun and happiness, Wendy!