A week without (other) humans

For as long as I have been an adult I have not had any qualms whatsoever about going to lunch or dinner by myself, going to a movie or museum alone, or even exploring a new city on my own for a long weekend. I’m not saying I don’t ever want to do any of those things with a friend or my sweetheart, but if they aren’t readily available I would rather go with myself than sit home.

The last several weeks I’ve spent several Saturday mornings with a plate of Eggs Benedict at a sunny window of my new favorite diner; it has been absolute heaven. Sure, the copious amounts of Hollandaise sauce may be contributing to a tightening pants problem, but the calm, bright diner with huge windows looking into a wild, blooming rose garden has done such marvelous things for my soul that if I could I’d move in permanently, bringing a slightly more comfortable/lounge-y chair. (Scandinavian food and design are hard to beat, but their cheap-enough-for-a-small-diner chairs leave a lot lacking in the lounging department.)

The other day Britt, a woman I thoroughly adore and admire, wrote about what she would do with seven days completely by herself, and I liked the idea (and the day dream) so much I am snatching it for the rest of this post.

I would want to spend this week in a space with high ceilings, lots of windows, fresh flowers, and lots of white with a few bright colors. I want comfortable furniture that I can curl up on, nap on, prop my feet up on; no spindly little legs and hard lines. Sure, that “design-y” furniture can make a lovely aesthetic, but–in the words of Joe Fox/Tom Hanks–I do not want an “exquisitely uncomfortable mohair episode…which is NOW ALL OVER MY SUIT.”

This roomy paradise should be located somewhere with gorgeous mountain views–mountains that are thousands and thousands of feet tall with craggy, rocky tops covered in snow and partially shrouded in clouds, and dark green skirts covered in trees. I want the weather sunny but only in the low 60’s; I like to be snuggled up with something cozy (blanket, hoodie, peppermint tea) but with blue sky and bright light streaming in.

I would catch up on my sleep–goodness, it feels like 12 hours is just not enough lately…probably because I get something closer to 6 or 7 hours on weeknights and need about 9 per night to function properly. (No, I’m not a teenager…not really, anyway.) I would crank up the white noise machine, pop on a silky eye mask and relax into 1,000 count sheets swathing a larger bed than is necessary. I want to stretch my arms and legs in every possible direction and not touch a damn thing.

I would write, scribbling away in my notebook and then transcribing anything good into a word doc or blog post.

I would spend hours reading; my current towering To Read pile could easily topple from my nightstand and give me a pretty serious concussion, which doesn’t even begin to tackle the supplemental To Read list.

I would paint with some familiar and comforting movie on in the background. I am still very very new at this oil painting hobby, but it has been so satisfying to see how much I’ve improved in just a dozen or so paintings. I would love to spend some time trying new things and just getting more familiar with how my paints and brushes interact with each other. (Ultimately, I’d love to take some studio lessons, but not this summer, and not during this “no humans!” experiment.)

I’d eat wholesome, healthy, and probably not-so-simple meals at least a few times, but not necessarily three times per day. I love trying new things in the kitchen, but I also really love a plate of fruits and snacky things. Either way, in this human-less universe, I’d need a temporary house elf to do all the washing up.

Once upon a time I worked out for three hours a day for a short–but intense–period. No, it was not pre-wedding or pre-reunion or anything, I was just trapped on a cruise boat with some people who are incapable of fun I didn’t have a lot of fun with, so three-hour workouts topped off with double desserts was my normal. I kind of loved it. And despite double desserts and a lot of time lounging around with a book, I came back 10 pounds lighter than when I left (and promptly stopped working out for long stretches of time). If I had oodles of time by myself I think I’d throw a few hours of yoga or running or something into the mix. And double desserts. Of course.

Honestly, I could fill an entire month with that schedule, although I think I would miss the lack of human interaction. This post is almost convincing me to take a week off and do this whole list, maybe I should start with a long weekend instead, vacation days are hard to come by and must be doled out carefully. What about you? What would you do if you had a full week stretching in front of you with no people, no work responsibilities (I assume your work requires interacting with other humans on some level), and a certain level of control over weather and location?

Harriet sig



10 thoughts on “A week without (other) humans

  1. Yep, this sounds lovely. I love having time to myself. My time would always involve getting lost in a book, watching a movie, napping and eating something delicious.

    I mean I do all of that regularly anyways, but it’s different when I’m by myself, ha.


    1. Totally agreed! I figured out quite recently that I need to SCHEDULE that kind of stuff for myself or I’m a total wreck. πŸ™‚


      On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 5:14 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



  2. Being a bachelor means I spend a good deal of my time by myself. I do work with other people of course, and they they generally only annoy me in a minor way, but my social activities (movies, dining, etc.) are almost always spent alone. I think I’m the opposite of most people in that while I don’t have social anxieties and I don’t mind the company of others, I prefer to keep most of my life to myself by choice. I have two siblings who are the same way (a brother and a sister who are both content to be single and unattached in life), so perhaps it’s a genetic thing? Who can say?


    1. I don’t know if it’s a preference for me on a regular basis–I tend to like most people most of the time–but I really do *need* some time to myself every week or I get very overwhelmed and crabby.


      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



  3. Your seven days of solitude sounds perfect. I love your opening lines to this post as I agree so much with the idea of DOING (particularly if it’s something you want to do!) even if there’s no one else around to do said thing with. Far better than to miss the experience entirely b/c you were waiting for someone, right?

    I find I really enjoy and value time with my friends and family…and then, after those wonderful moments spent together, I’m quite happy to retreat into solitude and regroup on my own.


    1. Absolutely! I mean, yes, there is merit to having some unscheduled time at home, but I’m not one to just skip out on things because I don’t have a +1.


      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



    1. I keep trying to figure out how to make this work this summer, I could maybe get a long weekend of this in, but a week would be tricksy (and so, so lovely).


      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 10:11 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



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