The next trip can’t come soon enough. Not only have I been looking forward to it for literally the last year, but it’s coming at a particular time in my life where I really just need to go and be on my own for a while and experience insouciance in a major way. I am tired of trying to be everything to everyone. I am tired of dumping everything I have into people and having them be unappreciative and/or liars. For three and a half weeks, I am not going to be a wife, or a mom, or a friend, or a coworker. I’m just going to be me. The old me, who was fiercely independent and never needed anyone. I’m going to put myself first again. I’m going to move on from all of the people and things that have been weighing me down for years. If I’m cutting you out, chances are you’ve handed me the scissors yourself. I can’t wait.
This is my first completely solo trip. I’ll be traveling alone until I get to the field school, where I’ll know no one. My off days will be blissfully solo for the most part. And before I come home, I’ll be taking in Barcelona solo. While I am beyond excited for this all, I’ve got a little apprehension as well. First, and probably most obviously, for my safety. Traveling alone as a female is not without risks and I have been making sure I have well researched plans and safety measures in place.
However, I am also giving pause to what I might figure out about myself when I’m completely alone and independent. What if I figure out being behind a desk 8-4 for the next 25 years isn’t in the cards for me anymore? (Something I’ve already been thinking a lot about). How does that play out with a family? What if I realize just how miserable I’ve been for the last five years? What if I don’t want to come home? What if I add to the realization that I’ve been settling for entirely too long? A lot of “what ifs,” absolutely.
I have no doubt that it will be amazing, and eye-opening. I’m excited to see what I am capable of while on my own. A lot of this trip is pushing me far outside of my comfort zone and taking me beyond the role of a tourist. This trip is forcing me to become a traveler and experience a new country and culture in a way I haven’t done before – by getting my hands in the dirt and truly living like a local for three and a half weeks. By looking beyond the tourist traps and really getting to know the history of the place (and believe me, Menorca has tons of history… and pre-history to learn about). By forcing me to converse in a language that is more than just a language – it’s an identity for a whole region of people that’s tied to a tumultuous and long history.
By the time I come back, I hope to have a way better understanding of Catalan culture and history, and to be able to speak more than a few phrases. I also suspect that when I return, I’ll discover that I will be restless and no longer satisfied to merely exist my way through my life anymore. I also hope that this trip gives me the time, distance, and perspective I need to be able to know who is and isn’t worth keeping around, and how to stop being so afraid of losing someone who isn’t worthy of me being in their lives in the first place – someone who could so easily walk away from what I at one point considered the closest and best friendship I ever had. Will it be painful? Sure. But travel has a way of helping you heal in the most unexpected ways.