The Pleasure Of Solo Travel
There are couples who boast that they have never spent a night apart. Cue violins!
I think: Shoot me. Just shoot me.
I think every long-term couple needs serious time apart. Granted, this is much more difficult if you have kids, especially very small ones, when time without another person’s labor can feel like drudgery.
I am home now in NY after 14 days away from the sweetie. He couldn’t pick me up at the airport because he was working, but I came home to flowers and, while away, to a half-bottle of champagne sent to my hotel room.
My Vancouver room, at the Sylvia (go!), was barely 150 square feet, but bright, airy, quiet — perfect for one person. The beach was, literally, across the street. (And, of course, turned out my grandmother lived there when it was still an apartment building; built in 1911, it’s a Vancouver landmark.)
While away, I did a variety of things I love to do, some of which he hates. (And vice versa.)
He hates crowds so, last night, alone, I sat for 5.5 hours (yes, really) on the beach awaiting the U.S. entry in Vancouver’s annual fireworks festival. I wanted a good spot; by the time it began at 10:00 p.m., some 200,000 people had joined me. I read, slept, listened to music, read, slept, watched all the people around me.
I sat still. I don’t think I’ve ever just sat anywhere in New York, ever, for 5.5 hours without moving. Or, more to the point, feeling restless or bored or that I should be doing something. Vancouver is a city jammed with slim, blond, lithe folk. I saw no one one obese and few over 30. Everyone’s in spandex or on a bike or roller-blading. And, even mid-week, many people were on the beach.
Doing a lot of nothing productive, for once, meant I fit in right in. Whew. I can’t wait to go back and do a lot of nothing again, soon.
I spent six days with my Mom; as her only child, she likes my undivided attention. She whipped me at gin rummy; I beat her at Scrabble. Competitive, us?
Instead of reading three papers a day and listening to the radio and TV, I listened to music and scanned a few papers. I read three lovely novels: Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin, The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (a Canadian writer) and Come, Thou Tortoise by Newfoundland writer Jessica Grant.
I liked “Brooklyn”, and loved the others. As a Canadian, I really enjoyed the many references that resonated for me, whether the name of a colored pencil set or landscapes I know well.
I went out for dinner with Colin Horgan, a fellow True/Slant writer whom I’d never met before, a brave move on both of our parts — what if we were bored? Or awful in person? We had a terrific Indian meal and a great time. Solo vacations are all about adventure and meeting new people without the easy out and familiar comfort of your partner.
The sweetie played a lot of golf and watched the Golf channel uninterrupted and worked hard and caught up with his friends. We spoke and emailed — and missed one another.
When you’re partnered, do you go away on your own? Do you enjoy it?