Travelling on my own

I walked the streets of Rome and Florence mostly alone, spent a bit of time with colleagues (eating is a communal experience), and did a couple of tours with groups of strangers.

Oddly it was eating alone that was (relatively) most uncomfortable. Probably because I wanted to order a selection of foods and realized there was no way I could possibly eat them all. Then the exercise of choosing the ones which I most liked based on less-than-informative information on the menu {sigh}. The other was sitting at a table on my own. Always thankful that I was not placed in a dark corner 🙂 ! The sensation of being silent in contrast to the joviality of groups of people at various tables. This indeed is a test of how well I love my own company. I people-watch, catch up on the latest news on my device, go on social media or listen to music. A book did not go astray. Being alone also meant I am available for conversations, and I have had many with the waiters, bartenders, owners of eating establishments. Getting a local perspective is fun, and a little different from the official “story” told to visitors.

Only at certain times did the normative narrative of “you should be with others” creep into my mind.

One such instance was in company, when couples or the adults in families asked if I was alone. When confronted with my answer “yes”, they could not help the sympathetic or pitiful look on their faces. One person was rather direct and asked me, “wouldn’t it be better travelling with someone?” and “then you get to share your experiences”. Being made to feel inadequate or wrong, that I have not followed what “normal” folks do (at least in her experience) was quite funny. I knew it was pointless explaining my “whys” and frankly I wasn’t compelled to. Maybe that’s why I post pictures or blog? And chat to loved ones frequently? 🙂

The experience of solo travel is different, not any better or worse. As a mother, travelling with family meant I was usually the one making plans and organizing. With friends, there was a lot of negotiating and waiting. Travelling alone means I have only myself to depend upon, and sometimes I do wish to be absent-minded and have someone else make decisions.

So having been places on my own twice this year, I am looking forward to travelling with my children later this year. As they are in their mid- to late teens, I can take a back seat and allow myself to follow their lead. Perhaps I will see the world through their eyes. Oh, the weird and wonderful experience that will be 🙂

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2019 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

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