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Happiness is Only Real When Shared (Malpais, Costa Rica)

Happiness is Only Real When Shared (Malpais, Costa Rica)

¿Viaje sola? ¡Ay, probrecita!

That’s how locals feel when they realize I travel alone. But I don’t feel like a “poor little thing”. Traveling alone is pretty awesome.

In fact, I have never felt stronger.

I wanted to be alone.

I left because I needed a break. I was burned out, depressed and, frankly, pretty useless at home. I did that to myself. This is not Mark’s fault, this is not Feng’s fault. In fact, this is nobody’s fault. It was happenstance. It was a combination of trying to do it all alone, not having enough help (or not accepting it), dealing with and adjusting to motherhood (and fatherhood) and the new dynamics of having a tiny human being ruling the house, trying to make a living at the same time, and of course surviving the winter.

Looking back, I would do things differently. But I didn’t know any better. I was focused on caring for Mark and on doing the best I could.

I think I did the best I could.

Now, things have to change. Nothing drastic but I will try my best to let it go, accept help and relax a bit.

Easier said than done, I know. Kick my ass if I’m being the old Juliette, please.

I learned a lot during this trip.

I had always thought I was pretty social but lately, I discovered I was actually very comfortable being alone. I guess I am more confident than when I was a teen. I know what I am doing (most of the time, anyway) and I know what I want (ditto).

I realized how much art and creating art make me happy. I need to write, to take pictures, to draw, to express myself creatively, no matter how.

I learned to appreciate what my body can do for me. I can walk, hike, climb, swim, rest in a hammock or hurry to the nearest bus station. And to do that, it needs fuel. Food. Rest. So that I can be stronger.

I realized that being a mother is now part of my identity. I can’t help trying to make babies smile, tickle toddlers and chat with children. I am comfortable around them and every time I see a kid around Mark’s age, I think of my little dragon. I miss it when he wraps his little hand around my finger or when he smiles to me. Even alone, here, I feel like I am part of a family—Feng, Mark and I.

I understood that I didn’t have to (and shouldn’t) sacrifice everything I like for Mark because it is not healthy, for both him and I.

Traveling alone is empowering. You focus on the basics first: staying healthy and safe, find a place to stay, a place to eat. Then comes problem-solving: managing various modes of transportation, several currencies, several travel options. You are left with very little time to worry and to “what if…”. This was exactly what I needed.

I am heading back to Canada in a few days.

I am not a new person. I am myself, again.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I’m so glad to hear that this trip has helped you just as you hoped it would. You took a brave decision in leaving for a little while, and now it sounds as though you are also feeling brave about going back. Have a wonderful reunion with your little family and make sure that you hold on to the real you as well!

  2. It feels so good to read this. I am leaving next month for a 3 months trip, alone too. I am not a mom but I’m relating to this article: I feel I need this to finally heal and be myself again. Yay to travelling!

  3. So glad to hear this! I would agree that sometimes when we are alone, we can hear ourselves think and come to realizations that we would not have with all the noise of daily life. I think it’s cool how you were able to connect what you did on your trip to recognizing parts of your identity.

  4. I was enticed by the post title which reminded me of a song. (Still humming the tune while reading.)

    Once I quit singing/humming, I recognize the familiar tone: authenticity.

    Every time I visit your blog I know I will always find the courage in each post. Not everyone can do it (I’m still learning) online. Some write anonymously; others own their words, reveal emotions, and just let things be.

    Once I head on to a trip some time in March, I’ll think of your words: “Trav­el­ing alone is empow­er­ing.” Can’t wait to start the journey.

    Thanks for the sincerity.

    • Thank you Carolyn. It’s not always easy to be honest and sincere (and frankly, sometime it hurts to admit the truth) but writing really matters to me, it helps me put things into perspective. It clears my mind. I have to be honest.

      Traveling is empowering, and traveling alone is… awesome. It’s okay to be scared but trust me, you will feel stronger and better 🙂

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