I did some traveling this weekend. Just three hours away Friday for a swim meet, and back on Sunday. Nothing wild, exotic or fancy.
The difference this time: I went alone. And that doesn’t happen often. Not after over twenty years of marriage, anyway.
Don’t get me wrong. The Husband and I are independent people who have never been joined at the hip, or any other anatomical part. But when we travel more than two hours from home, we tend to do it together. It’s more habit and custom than anything else, and neither of us is complaining.
But every so often, it’s good to be alone. By yourself in the car, with ZZ Top or other drive-worthy music blasting from the speakers. Solo in a hotel room, with complete control of the TV remote and no wait for the bathroom. A table of one for dinner – and yes, you should take yourself out when you’re traveling alone. My hotel room had a kitchenette, and one night I did make use of it for dinner. But on the other night, I went out to a small Italian joint near the hotel. The food was average, the service was good and prices were acceptable. But all of those considerations seemed secondary to the fact that I was dining with myself. Society is long past the stage where single diners evoke stares from other customers and a seat near the restrooms. Eating by oneself means you have the opportunity to observe behavior and eavesdrop on conversations. And of course, you should. No law prevents you from being nosy; social convention and good manners require you to be somewhat discreet about it, however.
Whether the trip is long or short, local or foreign, when you have the opportunity to take to the road without companionship, do it. It can get lonely at certain moments. But the ability to stop and shop at a ramshackle produce stand, photograph a decrepit old theater or explore an abandoned church is a freedom many of us don’t find when we travel with someone who prefers the “Point A to Point B ASAP” method of getting there.