I have been on a two-week vacation- La! I decided to fulfill a couple of bucket-list items and travel New England during the Autumn. A friend of mine commented on this and said how brave I was for doing this. Brave?? Hmm, not really how I would define it but she said if she ever tried that her friends and family would immediately question her and make her feel awkward about doing a two-week vacation alone.
It occurred to me that I have other friends who feel the same way. A couple I know just spent a week touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. He commented on how all that driving alone must have been hard and how nice it was to share his vacation with his wife. Does everything have to be a shared event?
Frankly, I'm glad I did this with just me and my dog. Michelle demands very little except the wind blowing on her and an occasional potty break. She's traveled with me on my many moves so a road trip was no harrowing experience. Let me highlight the benefits of a solo and customized sojourn:
My trip was MY TRIP. I didn't have to alter, add, or delete any elements. It allowed me to be spontaneous or completely planned, as per my whim. When my first venture to see a cranberry bog ended in a sign threatening my life, I could add another trip to see a different bog. When I left Vermont a day early, I just did it; I didn't have to ask.
I didn't have to limit or extend my time in any one place. I went to this little town in Connecticut- I fell in love. If anyone would have been with me I would have been able to spend a half hour, hour tops there. Instead, I walked the quiet streets with my dog, meandering for a couple of hours. I then sat under a chestnut tree writing, listening to the trees, being pelted with chestnuts... it was wonderful. In fact I sat there until the rapidly dropping temperatures and darkness forced me away. However, this remains the best part of a truly fantastic trip and I will never forget the peace I felt there.
I had great one-on-one time with friends. I visited several friends while I was traveling. Being on my own we could just catch up and have a good time, not worrying about planning events that will make a group happy. When I went to Salem, MA my friends, Kevin and Lindsey went with me. When I went to Cambridge, MA I got to catch up with my friend, Joan Lin. When I went to Saratoga Springs, NY I had individual time with both Tatiana and Theodore- and I'm sure I'll never be able to repay him listening to my incessant talking (this is the curse of people like him who are excellent listeners and it encourages people like me to purge ourselves of every thought and complaint- ugh, embarassing).
Finally, I had loads of time to clear my head of the chatter and really identify how I feel. This causes a lot of self-awareness which is both painful and liberating. I learned a lot about myself and where I stand. Perhaps another month of sorting through these awakenings and I'll have a clearer direction of where I'm going in Life. Point being, I doubt I would have had such an awareness practice had I not a lot of alone time. I think next time, I'll go back to Iona, Scotland for a couple of weeks pilgrimage. Maybe next year...