Then comes the balancing act of the next hour. You have now landed the bartender's attention or someone else you've engaged by talking about being a foreigner or the last games of the world cup, but you cannot settle. Some may stop at the first friend and call it quits, bathing in the safety net small victories, but it's the battle that must be won. You need to find reasons to leave the group without losing their attention. Bathroom visits are key. You need to be available but not clingy, which is easier said than done considering you are alone in a foreign country, but stay true to the method.
I had to laugh when, for my first night out, I got invited to a barbecue. This is why traveling on your own is amazing. This group of people asked me about my travels and who I was traveling with. Once they found out that I was a lone maverick, quickly thereafter came the invitation. One person is so unassuming, presents no surprises, and limits any variables on clashing personalities or expectations. Everyone has a barbecue with a loser that's invited, so worse comes to worse, you're the loser. I declined the invitation because I did not see this friendship lasting long term, but appreciated the gesture. I went home at around 6 a.m. (one of the firsts to leave) and felt satisfied with my engagements but let down by my closing game. I did get a few contact numbers, but no real connections. It takes one, and having done this before, I know when to sift through the fillers. I will probably send a text to one on Monday, considering she works retail and offered me a whopping 10% off. I'll go, stop by, maybe pick up a t-shirt, give us something in common, establish a connection and bounce. I laugh because the formula works and it works well. Having this be my fourth summer alone in a new city, I'm used to it.
Best part of the day: Moving into my grandmother decorated hostel for the next 1o days and waiting for the arrival of Caitlin Oyler and Indiana Porta.
Worst part of the day: Walking to the hostel, dragging my suitcases through the streets. Nothing tastes worse than tourism.
Advice: Smile, engage, trust in the formula with patience.