“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world,” wrote Freya Stark.
But it can also be a daunting moment, especially if you find yourself on a holiday for singles in New York, the most populous city in the USA.
With some 580 skyscrapers, more than 13,000 yellow taxis and 8.2m people going about their lives, the Big Apple can seem overwhelming to those visiting for the first time.
Even if you visit the city as part of a group tour with the likes of TrekAmerica, you’ll be given plenty of free time to explore on your own. With that in mind, here’s a guide to New York for one.
Snap out of your initial daze by taking a guided walking tour. Having a knowledgeable local pointing out the sights will help you orientate yourself so that when you venture out by yourself afterwards you’ll feel a lot more confident.
Uncle Sam’s can take you to traditional landmarks, pubs or clubs depending on your preference, filling you in on the history and culture of the Big Apple along the way.
Go for a burn
Once you’ve got yourself set and seen a few of the main attractions, you’ll no doubt be yearning to indulge in some more diverse experiences.
Pushing the pedals of a rental bike as you whizz around one of the city’s open spaces, such as Prospect Park, is a great way of not only getting some fresh air and time away from the noise of Manhattan, but also the perfect activity for one.
Plus, doing some exercise is a great way to burn off the calories from all those super-sized US meal portions you’ve been enjoying.
Hit a video arcade
Give your total focus to barrel smashing at Barcade, where you can enjoy some self indulgent geek time with Donkey Kong and more than 30 other classic arcade games.
This enormous drinkery on Union Avenue in Brooklyn also has a host of American brews on tap to help quench your thirst after all that button-tapping action. They may or may not help improve your score.
You’ll no doubt be left feeling a bit weary after pounding the streets of New York or the buttons of an arcade machine – especially if you’ve also been hitting it hard in the evenings.
So why not treat yourself to a bit of pampering at the Oasis Day Spa in Manhattan, where you can enjoy a 30-minute Swedish massage for $70 (£45)? Close your eyes and relax into the treatment and you’ll soon forget that you’re all on your tod.
Catch a game
Heading out to a bar in the evening on your own can be a lonely experience. A much easier way to make new friends in the Big Apple is to buy a Knicks jersey and settle in with the 20,000 passionate home fans at Madison Square Garden. Win or lose, you’re sure to share a few spontaneously emotional moments with the locals.
Plus, no trip to the USA would be complete without catching a game of basketball, football, baseball or hockey, and there’s perhaps no finer arena than MSG in which to do so.
And there’s perhaps no finer city in which to go solo than NYC.