Divorced, She Travels Solo
Barb Brown is an older adventuress who, via divorce, has learned
the value of solo travel. Based on diaries she kept while on
the road, this is her story. She hopes it will inspire other
single women to get out there and try at least one solo journey.
in love with my future husband when I was fourteen; my marriage
fell apart when I was forty-two. That for a bride of the
Fifties, translated into twenty-eight years of one partner,
one romance and many, many years of togetherness. For as
long as I could remember, I moved to the demanding rhythm
of my family. I knew no other music and no other dance steps.
Then suddenly there was silence. I was alone. That first
year is now a blur of tears, loneliness and mental adjustment.
carried one small bag...
I have not offered
the above information to elicit sympathetic murmurs and
empathetic gestures. If you can appreciate the devastation
I experienced, then you will also understand the dynamic
feeling that began with the purchase of my airline ticket.
I was forty-three and I was going to Europe alone, all
by myself, solo. Certainly I had travelled before. But
then I was the wife of a successful businessman who accepted
the best addresses. Now I carried one small bag,
one very small packet of travellers cheques and absolutely
The next thirty-five
days were laden with intense emotion and storybook adventure.
I soared in the heavens and wallowed in the depths. My
love was no longer there to hold my hand. Now it was I,
the single woman, who enjoyed the pleasures and coped
with the pain. Land travel was by train and buses. A rented
car would only spell unnecessary expense and solitude.
Accommodation was at pensions and small hotels for the
bigger the hotel, the more insular the experience.
saw parts of Belgium, England, Greece and Turkey. There
was no time to be frightened and no need. I met people
on the train; I chatted in restaurants; I stopped in cafés.
I was on the road for five weeks and only five evenings
were spent alone.
I lived with an Australian
midwife for a fortnight in Stratford, England. During
that time we shared precious secrets as only two females
music had not stopped...
shared the last available hotel room on the island of
Hydra with a young flight attendant from Panama. For three
days he was a companion who discretely left the room when
it was time for me to dress. It hurt to say good-bye.
I haggled in the
bazaars of Istanbul. I ate mussels in Antwerp with a flight
crew of Jordan's airlines. An English engineer taught
me to drink bitters, and a marriage counsellor from New
York writes to me still. In major cities, I stood out
in long lines of young people collecting their mail at
American Express offices.
There were good days.
There were bad days. I experienced highs and I cried alone.
I was single again after so many years. The music had
not stopped. The melody was simply changing. This, I began
to understand, was only the beginning.
It was during that
first journey more than a decade ago that I began to understand
how good solo travel can be for the heart and soul. Extending
my time on the road from five weeks that first time, I
have spent up to four months at a stretch away from home.
I have learned to
value my anonymity at foreign destinations. Free to wander
at will, I seek out that which gives me pleasure. There
is no need for the sort of compromise that exists in one's
regular day-to-day living.
But loneliness is nothing to fear. It has not broken my
heart yet. Rather it affords me the time to unpack the
emotional baggage I carry with me and to use the time
to journey into myself. Issues become a lot clearer when
there are no other distractions. Eventually one feels
renewed and then there is a real need to reach out and
make contact with others -- another traveller, a shopkeeper,
an official, perhaps a mother walking her baby in the
The result? I've
heard countless wonderful stories and have had a myriad
of lovely adventures to match. All because I am a woman
who refuses to be timid and who has learned, by trial
and error, the benefits of solo travel. And when I am
ninety and sitting in my rocking chair, I know that I
will be grinning, remembering my past exploits. And that,
dear readers, makes me very, very happy!
solo travel motivation...
If you need further
motivation to try solo travel, here are a few more links
you might like to follow...