Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great Expectations by Nannette Croce

I enjoy traveling alone. I don’t mean alone, alone––I usually take some kind of tour with people of like interests. What I mean is traveling without anyone––relative or friend––who knows me well enough to expect me to behave in a certain way.

Before my daughter was born, I traveled alone on business sometimes, but then I had to be business me. Then for almost 13 years I never left home without my husband and/or daughter. I never left the wife me or the mommy me behind.

It was 1999, almost 10 years ago now, that I took my first trip “alone.” It was a tour of Indian War battlegrounds in Montana and Wyoming, ending at the Little Bighorn. There were other single women on the tour, but they were just that––single. The idea that I left my family behind made me somewhat of a curiosity to the men who regularly left their families behind each summer to drive the vans and coordinate the tours for little money, but loads of adventure.

I’ve taken several themed tours since, and women leaving families behind is no longer an anomaly. It’s not about pretending to be someone we’re not. It’s about who we really are when we live outside of others’ expectations. It’s not about dancing on bars, at least not for me. Sometimes it’s about skipping dinner with the group to go to bed early, but with no apologies, no compromises, no disappointing someone else who doesn’t want to eat alone.

Sometimes I enjoy a romantic trip with my husband or a weekend with a friend, but sometimes I just want to be me––the me no one “expects” me to be.


Barbara Quinn said...

Oh yes, I can relate to travel alone and your theme tours sound great. The first time I went to Europe I was 19 and off I went alone with my backpack for over three months. It was easy to connect with other students and I loved being able to change course and direction on a whim. Now I prefer to have company, but there are definitely quiet periods during the travels, with no chatter or intrusions on thoughts, and I love that too!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Being a twin and a very social creature, I don't know if I've ever taken a trip alone without a friend or relative...but I just may soon!

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