The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

33: First, solitude

This past December, I took my first solo trip. Officially solo, I didn’t stay with any friends or meet up with a loved one at any point, I was by myself for the whole duration of the trip. This baffled the people I joined tours with, who were all couples/a couple with their daughter. They made comments about how women can do this now but why would they do so, and that they hadn’t done this and were now married and I get it.

Solo travel never appealed to me much. Probably because I wanted someone to listen to my jokes or ask for extra pillows when checking into the hotel (I sent the side comments to friends via text and didn’t need extra pillows because I had the bed all to myself). It was kind of exhilirating not to have to follow anyone’s schedule but my own, and do whatever I wanted. For the extra dose of solitude, the place I stayed at did not have wifi signal or a TV. I did end up watching my downloads on Netflix and reading a bunch, but only to stop myself from having out loud conversations because I wanted to hear something other than the wind across the hills.

I picked the right place to do this though. It was gorgeous, and clean and the community was small and secure. People were friendly and accommodating and somehow both aware and unaware of how breathtaking their neighborhoods are.

I’m very lucky to have been able to do this and go home and back safe, full, and extra in awe of the country I live in. I take it for granted when I read the news or have to commute for an extended period, especially when dealing with the almost unnatural traffic. I’ve come a long way from my 20s, both in good and bad (Bad: weight, Good: travel) I guess my 30s aren’t so bad after all.

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