Going It Alone

I admit it. I like to travel alone. Not that I don’t like to travel with my husband, or my children, or my family. I do, especially Rick. We travel in the same way, assimilating into a new culture by watching and listening.

But on this trip to England I’m all on my own. Which means that I don’t have a wing man, true. But it also means that I can go where I want to, even if I catch a sudden inspiration and turn on my heel to go back where I came from. I don’t have to worry about time or distance of whether the person I’m with can take my pace, or wants to see what I do. I can sit in a restaurant for hours nursing a glass of wine and reading, and nobody complains. I don’t have to constantly worry I’ll lose the person I’m with, or that they’ll be distressed or angry or, the worst, bored by what we’re seeing.

True, when I plan a trip I send out an advisory that goes something like this. “I’m the one planning this. We’re mostly going to see what I want to (i.e., in the fall we’re doing Italy, and by damn, we’re seeing Pompeii. I’ve wanted to see it since I was seven. The nice thing about Italy, though, is that I can sit the non-participaters down in a coffee shop and let them watch people while I’m checking out 2000 year old salacious mosaics).

But here and now, with no one to rustle a map in my face or sigh loudly or try and give me the correct directions in a rising tone of voice, I can get completely lost on the back lanes of England and enjoy the lambs and wildflowers and quaint country cottages without worrying that I’ll never find my way home. It’s England, for heaven’s sakes, which is about the size of Illinois. And while the bigger cities are woefully undersigned, you can’t turn a corner in a country lane without seeing a sign to five other little hamlets. And I swear each of those hamlets is more pretty and quaint than the one before.

So the only time I have to be on time is catching the train. Other than that, I’m okay. I’m on my own, after all.

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