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Travelling Solo to Get Better – Does It Work?

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.” Travelling 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 makes 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 me.

Travelling 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.

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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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