by Jayme Lamm

There are things we notice as teenagers we simply can’t fathom. Eating alone (by choice) is one of them. I distinctly remember being out to eat with my mom one day when I spotted a woman probably in her early thirties a few tables over eating alone. This was well before the days of Facebook and texting, so she was really eating alone. Just her, her cobb salad and iced tea.

I asked my mom if we could invite her over and she looked at me as if I had sworn off chocolate for the rest of my life. “Why on earth would you invite a stranger over,” she asked? “I feel sorry for her. Eating all alone. It’s sad.” I explained.
My mom laughed at me. She knew something that would take me at least another 15 years to even begin to understand – alone time is golden. G.O.L.D.E.N.

For years, every time I saw someone eating alone I felt a little piece of my heart breaking for them. It wasn’t until years later after participating in my own daily grind, trying to make it in the dog-eat-dog world when one day I didn’t want to eat lunch with any of my coworkers. I headed off to the corner bakery and sat all by myself for my own cobb salad. I needed the time to think. To regroup. To listen to my overcrowded head.

And there it was. Like that ah-ha moment in Clueless where Alicia Silverstone realized she’s madly in love with her stepbrother Josh.

Now that I discovered the actual perils of eating alone, I knew I’d encounter those same young girls feeling sorry for me, and I was ok with that. They’ll learn soon enough, I told myself.

Far beyond a simple meal at a restaurant, there’s something to be said for a woman who can travel alone. The confidence and trust she must have in herself knowing she bears sole responsibility for the good (or bad) time she has while on vacation – that’s a lot for anyone to bear.

While I am very much that confident lone traveler, there are many hotels and resorts (cities even) that brood a feeling of awkwardness if you are a Party of One (POO as we’ll brand it). You know the kind. You’re sitting by the pool reading a magazine and the chatty tourist next to you trying to make small talk asks where you’re from and who you’re here with. As soon as you explain you’re there alone, you can immediately sense the trepidation in Chatty Cathy’s eyes.

She’s assuming the worst. My husband pulled a Shania Twain and left me for my best friend. Or my entire family was in a fatal car accident on a country road and I was the only survivor.

Never once did it cross her mind I chose to vacation as a POO purposely leaving my friends and family at home so I could have some me-time. To think. To regroup. To listen to my overcrowded head.

And I don’t blame her. It wasn’t that long ago I sat at Applebees as a young girl conjuring up all the Lifetime movie-worthy reasons that woman was eating alone.

For the traveler who may not exude the extreme case of confidence to travel solo to a popular honeymoon destination or a trendy bachelorette hot spot, Travaasa Austin has everything to make you feel right at home. Alone.

The newly branded activity-heavy property sits just above Lake Travis, has a gated entrance for privacy and seclusion sake and is geared for travelers with or without companions. During my stay a few weeks ago, I noticed a number of single women desperately in need of “unplugging”, a few couples celebrating wedding anniversaries, and a few groups stopping through on their long summer drive across the country. Not one of the guests batted an eye at us “single” travelers (as we were the majority). For once, I felt the need to run a victory lap around the Cedar Overlook Yoga Center for single women who love to travel – we had made it. We finally blended in! A place to finally relax and not have to explain this “I’m happy hanging out with myself phenomenon.”

No more of conversations that went like this:

Front Desk: Will you need one room key or two?

Me: Just one, please.

Front Desk: Oh, you’re here on business? [insert cheesy bright white smile]

[insert awkward look from my side of the counter]

Me: No, here for pleasure. Just one room key please.

[insert awkward / pity look from the other side of the counter]

The property relies heavily on their activity board boasting anything from Equine Experience (think horse-whisper), two-step classes (with notation “no partner necessary”), ropes courses, culinary demonstrations, yoga, meditation hour, painting classes and more. Even couples that travel to Travaasa Austin go their separate ways pending individual preferences on their activity agendas.

Dinner is at a set time each night (starting at 6 until the kitchen closes at 9), which allows Sara Beth to introduce you to her mother-in-law, Betty Jean from Mobile, AL often resulting in an invitation to their small wooden patio table overlooking the lake and hiking trails. It’s not uncommon to see books and magazines accompanying the lone travelers to dinner, having finally found the time to dive into that good book they’ve read multiple reviews about.

Until my visit to Travaasa Austin, my vacations never included a 6:40am wake up call – especially that of my own cognizance, but the Sunrise Hike through 34 beautiful acres (the entire property is 210 acres, but most of which is purposely left undeveloped) was too tempting to resist. Activities end early in the evening giving guests the chance to unwind and take the day in, but the property remains well lit and safe for those who wish to drink wine on a tree stump or sit on their balconies enjoying the fresh air.

Travaasa Austin – a place so confident you’ll find the time to unwind that they provide you with a red leather-bound journal to capture all the peaceful moments.

Travaasa Austin:
13500 Farm to Market Road 2769
Austin, TX 78726
(512) 258-7243

BIO: Putting on her big girl panties two legs at a time (yes, two), Jayme Lamm is finding her place in this world as a freelance writer far, far away from Corporate America. Her entire life has been the epitome of unorthodox, complete with broken bones, medical mysteries, and the worst luck, thanks to her little black cloud overhead. Her little black cloud goes with her everywhere, especially those crazy activity-laden travel plans she packs into her already busy schedule. Most of her travel adventures revolve around sporting events or activities.

Jayme writes a sports column, The Blonde Side and her full writing portfolio is here.