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Solo Travel
Travelling without a husband or a lover!

 

Mary Ann Lindley calls Tallahassee, USA, home. She is a lifestyle columnist at the Tallahassee Florida Democrat who has travelled the world both as a single and coupled.



A woman can hardly do anything better for herself than to travel by herself. Any woman. Any age. The place doesn't matter, though it probably should be as far away from the familiar as is practical.

 

What matters is the spirit with which she heads out: chin to the rising wind like the pioneer she is about to be, and with the idea that she isn't looking for a destination so much as a departure point.

 

I believe in this solidly, have done it not often enough, and am amazed when every solitary journey requires the same suitcase full of courage.

 

I'm not talking about business trips, either, where destination is certain and focus is still familiar (work). The idea is to go somewhere so unfamiliar that every day just might turn into a parable that can fill your soul with joy and inform the rest of your life.

A Freshly Broken Heart

My first trip alone was when I was 29 and had a freshly broken heart. I set out boldly and more than a little blindly on the advice of someone who knew: "Getting away, as far as you can, will put your life into perspective", he promised. "You can take that to the bank."

I went to the post office and got a passport. I called an airline, paid the rent, stopped the mail and headed to the great capitals of Europe without a plan, a reservation or a map in any language I could read. I knew of just two people I might visit - providing that I could locate them.

Sobbing into My Soup

For the next month I was either sobbing into my soup or so exhilarated by all that I was seeing, learning, tasting and feeling that I could scarcely breathe. My emotions ran to extremes: sorrow over my injured heart, and the lightest feeling in the world as it mended. I wouldn't trade either.

Still not believing that my past was over, I sent souvenirs to the cad who had dumped me - and who I later understood had done more to help me find my wings than anyone I'd ever met. Cad received a wool beret from Paris, a plaid tie from Edinburgh, chocolates from Brussels. I received not even a thank-you note, though I probably should have sent him one.


We Take Separate Vacations

My husband and I often take separate vacations and every time I get the chance to urge a woman friend to travel by herself, I do so. Few women will, considering it second-best to travelling with husband, lover, family or friend - people who will often discourage solitary flight.

Yet voluntarily placing yourself alone in the world for awhile can be just the tonic - particularly for those of us who have been leveled by the usual humbling experiences and are finding ourselves with gingerly timid emotions that cause us to avoid books, movies or experiences that might be too jolting, depressing or risky.

I believe that travelling by ourselves is for the psyche what exercise and diet are for the body: a ticket to aging without fear. This may be especially true for the mom who is ready to get out from under her super-mom-superwife-superwoman cape, which is now merely hiding a more authentic self.


Her Solo Words

Travelling and freedom are perfect partners and offer an opportunity to grow in new dimensions.
Donna Goldfein - American Writer

A person needs at intervals to separate herself from family and companions and go to new places. She must go without her familiars in order to be open to new influences, to change.
Katharine Hathaway, author, 1946

Travel shared can be wonderful -- but it can sometimes pose its own problems. Neither friends nor lovers are always in harmony in their enthusiasm or energy levels. Eleanor Berman, Traveling Solo, 1999

A solo traveler can be flexible-- an unexpected festival, an extra seat on an excursion boat offered at half price, a town so inviting you decide to hop off the train and explore it. Being solo you'll enjoy being able to change your plans without discussion.
Thalia Zepatos, A Journey of One's Own, 1992

My husband of nearly forty years had just died, and instead of being half of a couple, I was suddenly single. I remember wanting to be alone to walk on a quiet beach with the sea washing on the sand and to reminisce and think about what lay ahead for me.
Dorothy Maroncelli, Britain on Your Own, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

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