I don’t consider myself a hopeless romantic. I mean, I can’t even say “make love” without cringing. I love tragic love stories more than the happily ever after cliches. And throughout the years, I’ve learned that love goes way beyond beautiful words and thoughtful surprises. But despite all that, I’ve always enjoyed the idea of Valentines Day. I don’t necessarily like it for the cringe worthy cheesiness it provokes, but I like the fact that love travels everywhere during this day. Whether you like it or not, it is in the air, and it is a beautiful thing to witness.
I love watching lovers inside restaurants. Or people receiving flowers with such flattery and amazement in their eyes. I love observing new couples parade down the streets while holding hands. I enjoy seeing families spending the day together over ice cream at the park with the youngest child placed over his dad’s shoulders. I love catching stolen kisses and tactful public display of affections. And although I know these could be witnessed any other time of the year, today is the day where I think it’s okay to allow the positive light of love be infectious.
I admit that I am probably not the best person to advocate spending the most romantic day of the year alone, because well, for one, I am happily married, and two, I believe there was only one year since my teenage years that I didn’t have a boyfriend on the said day. I’m not particularly a been around type of woman, but more like a long-term relationship typa gal. But NEVERTHELESS, I know what’s it like to be alone. It may not always be on a Valentines Day, but I’ve felt it, and I’ve been exactly that. As a matter of fact, I spent last year, alone on a Valentines Day. It was actually my husband and I’s first Valentines as a couple, but I happened to be in the middle of my backpacking trip. So that said, it doesn’t take a legitimate single girl to come up with awesome ideas on how to spend this day alone. After all, I do have proven experiences that will guarantee you the perfect way to have a date by yourself… with a beautiful city of your choice. So whether you’re alone because you’re single, or you’re alone because you’re in a long distance relationship, or because you just feel like being alone, here’s how your traveling soul can make the best of this day!
STEP 1: Pick a city/town to date.
In my case last year, Hoi An, Vietnam was the one. It couldn’t have been any more perfect for a setting because it is hands down Vietnam’s most romantic city. I walked around ancient town, sipped iced coffees, smiled at other tourists, checked out art galleries, and ate my life away. (READ: 7 of Southeast Asia’s Most Affordable Romantic Getaways)
I would recommend going for a place you haven’t been to before. Go somewhere you know nothing about. It’ll be the perfect blind date. But if you don’t have too many options, go somewhere nearby. Stick to your own city if you have to! The point is, you’re taking yourself out on a date!
STEP 2: Get to know each other and let down your walls.
Like a true traveling badass, explore as much corners of the city as you can. Whether you’re driving, riding a bike, walking, or taking cabs and trains, make as much stops as you can. Pull over whenever something sparks your interest. Check out the free museums and learn something new. Take photos of strangers. Appreciate the architectures. You won’t be spending this day pondering on why you’re alone. You’re here to get to know your date– the city.
STEP 3: Eat your heart out!
You better believe I indulged in gluttony the best way possible when I was in Hoi An. They do have the best food in all of Vietnam after all. From Bahn Mi sandwiches to Bun Bo Hue to their staple Cau Lau, I was on foodie heaven.
You don’t really need me to instruct you how to eat your heart out, do I? Just give in, indulge, and never feel guilty! Take yourself out on a fancy meal if you feel like it. You deserve it!
STEP 4: Let the contagious love in the air radiate within you.
There are two types of people in the world. The one who goes “awwwww” when seeing happy couples, and the one who could *gag* because sometimes, it’s really not that cute. Today this year, let yourself be the happy positive Pamela. Let everybody else’s love infect you. What could go wrong? Avoid rolling your eyes over happy people, because genuine happy people don’t roll their eyes at other happy people. You don’t have to care, just let the positive energy go around as it transmits through you.
Talk to strangers if you’re up for it. Let yourself be enlightened because you never know what you’ll learn from someone new. While roaming the streets of Hoi An, I stumbled upon an ancient house and an old 90ish year old man who spoke only three words of english was so happy to converse with me. I don’t speak nor understand Vietnamese, but it was one of the best conversation I’ve ever had. And you know what I learned from that? Kindness and compassion is universal. (READ: Lost In Translation)
STEP 5: If you must, appreciate the fact that you’re alone.
I know I said today won’t be spent pondering over your solitary situation, but if it really must come down to that, then let today be a day to appreciate yourself as a wonderful soul. Whatever your reasons are for being on your own today, acknowledge it, and reflect on it. Are you alone because of distance from a loved one, friends, or family? Remind yourself that you’re a tough one for committing to such a decision. Are you by yourself because of a break up? Let it strengthen you even more as a person, because you’re a kickass soul who has so much more ahead of you. Are you alone because of other uncontrollable circumstances? Or just because you feel like it? Whatever the reason is, thrive from this solitude and let it be a time to find inspiration. After all, you’re not even alone. You’re in a city filled with dreams and inspiration. Find it, and when you do, give yourself a pat on the shoulder and put it to use.
What are your plans for Valentines? My husband and I are set to go camping at this amazing unspoiled island that I’ve been wanting to go to. Hopefully, the weather permits! However you plan on spending yours, I wish you have a lovely one! Xoxo.
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