Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude

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Alone Time chronicles a year in Stephanie Rosenbloom’s life, with each of four seasons spent alone in one city.

In Paris, she eats alone at cafes, meanders through art museums, and experiences the serendipity of finding items left behind by strangers. In Florence, she climbs high above the city and reflects on centuries of history. In Istanbul, she listens to the echoing calls to prayer and ventures into the mysterious and steamy world of the bath house. And in New York, her home city, she rediscovers the streets she has grown to know so well.

Rosenbloom’s travels in Alone Time are peppered with research about the importance of time spent in solitude, and the last section of the book outlines resources for solo travelers.

“Outside the Hagia Sophia, children whipped their heads this way and that, toward whichever direction they heard the adhan. When one muezzin would pause, the other would take up his call. Their staggered voices echoed back and forth between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, through the palm and Erguvan trees, through me. 

Alone, we can listen, not to those who tell us we must see the famous this or that, or to the voice in our head that says a place must be as it seems in a film or on a website — but to what’s really there. We can hear the muezzin, the bookseller, the rug hawker, the echoes of an ancient cistern and the mysteries buried buried within.  Alone, we don’t have to speak. We can feel the vibration of the city as it is in that moment in time and will never be again: the sound of the crowd, the waves crashing in the harbor, the cries of seagulls swooping over the Bosporus. Here, and then gone.”

Stephanie Rosenbloom is an essayist and travel writer. She has written for The New York Times for more than a decade, and her writing has also appeared in publications including Medium, Buzzfeed, Wanderlust Magazine, and Aperture Magazine. Alone Time is her first published book.

Published:  2018
Length:  248 pages
Set in: Paris, France; Istanbul, Turkey; Florence, Italy; New York City, New York, U.S.