Posted by michelle on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 / Labels: travel
Ok. So I’m still way too tired and too busy to process 90% of the conference stuff.
That and I still haven’t done my homework.
And the week is only getting busier, so maybe after Sunday I’ll unpack a little.
Instead I’ll talk about traveling alone.
My husband travels alone all the time. For work.
I almost never do.
Like I’m not sure that I’ve ever flown into, an airport other than my own,with no one to pick me up on the other end.
I was excited about the trip and exploring a new place and some alone time.
Until the few days before.
And then I kind of panicked.
My dad has always been a ridiculous traveler.
He is a crazy planner. When we take family trips I get bound copies of maps, itenoraries and things to pack. Really last summer it was 13 pages long. There was even a table of contents. My husband isn’t nearly that type A, but he does his research. He looks up maps and restaurants and even checks the weather. Even when I go somewhere with friends, I know I can usually count on someone else to mapquest it and double check the reservations.
I like to just show up for the ride.
Except when there is no one else to follow.
So I started to stress about how I’d get from the airport to the hotel. Or from the hotel to the conference or where I’d eat.
I have a rule that I never to do chain restaurants when I travel.
But this often requires research.
Thankfully, my husband helped me out a little. He sent me my own itineraries. That I hadn’t seen since booking it all in May. He looked up information on the rail system and even managed to find some cab fare for me ( and 2 days before pay day…when there is no cash to be had).
But I was still a little nervous.
About getting there, checking in, or if anyone would talk to me at the conference.
I mean, most people go with friends.
And by some crazy accident I ended up in first class. I kept looking around me looking for famous people and I totally didn’t know what to do with the hot towel. But I was more than thrilled with my fresh baked cookie and read the entire 2nd book in the Hunger Games trilogy on the way there.
I even managed to figure out some public transit, because I’d much rather pay 3$ to get to my hotel than 30$ (and give that cash to strangers of course).
And my hotel was fancy. Like fuzzy white robe and mini bar kind of fancy.
I had plenty of time before check in so I wondered around for a bit.
I stopped in somewhere and had some amazing fish tacos. And only felt a tad awkward saying table for one.
My conference was located in a little block of heaven: Powell’s books (as in the largest new and used independent book store in the world), gelato, Pete’s coffee and tea, and Anthropologie. When the conference finally started I didn’t make any new best friends. But people were chatty enough and it was fine.
And people kept being impressed that I went somewhere by myself.
That my husband let me venture off across the country while he played Mr. Mom at home. And I was pretty impressed by him too.
And the next day I had a large chunk of time before my flight. And I wasn’t going to spend it at the airport. So, I put on my sneaks and started walking.
I saw miles of the city. I crossed bridges, took pictures, ate amazing food,
Had tea and coffee and street food. I read books, and looked at flowers and watched kids playing in a fountain at the park. I almost joined them. I tried on hats and browsed bookstores and talked to strangers. Awkwardly at first, and eventually with ease.
And it was weird in my head. Quiet. Not having anyone to joke with or follow around.
It was just me.
And I was doing just fine.
I even kind of liked it.
And then, a couple stopped and asked me for directions.
Because I didn’t look like some lost tourist.
Or girl alone in the city.
But like someone who belonged there.
Who was comfortable on her own.
Because I was.
Although, I'm pretty sure I accidentally sent them in the complete opposite direction of where they wanted to go.