Table for one, please

Baani A
4 min readDec 24, 2021


At 18 years old, I packed my bags and moved to a country I had never been to before. I am still here (for now) in my seventh year in this beautiful country. Some would argue this counts as a solo trip but this year, I chose to officially have my first ever solo trip.

Beautiful clouds seen from my flight

Last week, I flew to Gold Coast for my first ever solo-solo trip.

2021 was the hardest year of my life — and not what this piece is about. Here’s the relevant bit — it made me want to discover and love myself again. I knew travel was the cure to my aching soul. I had always wanted to travel alone but having gone through this hellish year, I was not sure I had the strength to plan and execute my first ever solo vacation.

After months of agony (and just weeks before my work Christmas break), I bit the bullet. On a Monday morning, just before I logged on for wfh, I booked my first ever most official real solo freaking trip.

Having been to Gold Coast now and on the other side of this anxiety inducing, long awaited and completely worth it trip, here are some things I learnt.

  1. Solo travel is hard
View from my hotel room in Surfers Paradise

There will be moments you feel incredibly lonely, overwhelmed by something that did not go quite right or just too tired to deal with the public transport system. Things do not always go to plan and it is easier to have someone around when they don’t. Here are some things that went wrong on my trip:

  • I had a bad sunburn after a long bike ride on my first day there. This meant I was in a degree of discomfort, had to move plans around to ensure I didn’t end up making it worse and spend time soothing my skin.
  • Minutes before I was meant to begin snorkelling, the zipper on my bathers broke. Honestly, this made me want to give up the whole trip (sometimes minor inconveniences can push us beyond our limits). A stranger I was going to be snorkelling with convinced me to go anyway.
  • I bailed on going to an incredibly fancy dinner I had planned because I felt overwhelmed imagining asking for a table for one.

2. The world does not make it easy to solo travel

View from Wavebreak Island near Gold Coast

I hate to say this but society makes it harder on solo travelers.

  • Restaurants often do not allow online bookings for one or cater to a table for one at all.
  • Even when you do get to a restaurant, they might seat you at the saddest corner table that no one else wants.
  • Oh and don’t forget the pity smile you get asking for that table for one.
  • There is no one to watch your stuff while you go for a swim in the ocean. I live in a relatively safe country but was worried about my things nonetheless.
  • Activities are often designed to be done in groups.
  • It is a lot more expensive.

Dear society, you can do a lot better. Dear solo travellers, you got this.

3. It is incredible

Snorkelling near Wavebreak Island

It’s hard but oh so worth it. I found my trip was rather freeing — being able to do what I want when I want it meant I had the holiday I really wanted to have. It helped me discover the things I really enjoy — the ones I don’t have to do under peer pressure. Going at my own pace was helpful for my anxiety too; I took it easy when I felt overwhelmed or tired. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone at times too, when I was up for it.

I am absolutely going to do one of these again and hopefully soon. If you are someone reading this and need encouragement to do your first ever solo trip, let’s have a chat. :)

This is the first of a three-part series about solo travel I will be posting under the tag #anxioussolotraveller.