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.
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
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.
believe in this solidly, have done it
not often enough, and am amazed when every
solitary journey requires the same suitcase
full of courage.
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.
Freshly Broken Heart
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."
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.
into My Soup
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
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.
Take Separate Vacations
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.
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
and freedom are perfect partners and offer an opportunity
to grow in new dimensions.
Donna Goldfein - American Writer
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
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
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
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