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Alone in Auburn

Traveling solo is part of the job for most travel journalists; however, I have always enjoyed traveling with a partner. From my earliest years, I rode in a backpack on my father’s back as we explored trails and parts of the country. Later, he would take me with him to a variety of states and Mexico. In my early adolescence, I would accompany my mother to Belize, Guatemala Jamaica, and other central American countries. Now, even though I love to travel, it is much more fulfilling when a friend or loved one comes along to share the experience. 

This last weekend, I found myself in beautiful, romantic, cozy Auburn, California, and once again, I was alone. No best friend to find hidden gems with. No handsome boyfriend to share a bowl of Tango’s frozen yogurt with. No parent to take in the dramatic scenery of the American River with. Just me and a camera to take in every adorable detail. The thing I love to share most when traveling is food, and the food in Auburn was good enough to share with everyone I know.

One thing about traveling alone is that no one really takes notice of you until you sit down to eat, especially if you are woman. As soon as I walked through a restaurant door and announced that I wanted a table for one, I was met with a sympathetic look from the host and a few interested glances from nearby patrons. Why must it be a taboo to eat alone? Every time I sit down to a new table to enjoy a solo meal, I find myself explaining my situation. No, I’m not waiting for anyone else. No, I would not like to an extra strong cocktail. Yes, my eyes are misty, but only because I scalded my mouth on one of your freaking delicious peppered pickle chips. No, I don’t want a brownie to go… well, I do, but not because I’m alone.

Socially-imposed judgments aside, Auburn was beautiful, delicious and quaint and I would be happy to visit again, perhaps with a friend, or perhaps with just my trusted camera.

Clare Hancock

March 31, 2015
A view of the Auburn courthouse from old historic Auburn.

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