When I was little I wanted to be a jet setter, traveling the world to romantic places like France, Italy, Tibet and India. That dream also included traveling with a romantic partner. It never dawned on me as a little girl that I might not have a partner in crime. I'm of the camp that believes life is better when it's shared with someone else AND I don't let that belief stop me from experiencing all that I want to experience. I did and still do want to dream up travels with someone else and make our collective dreams come true. I haven't given up on that particular fantasy but I don't let it stop me from making things happen and living the life I want to live regardless of relationship status. "No regrets" is one of my mantras.
The purpose of this retreat to France is writing and yoga. I know the organizer well enough to know i'm in very good hands during the retreat. Looking for solo Alisha time I booked an additional day on the front and back end to explore the city without the training wheels of organized fun. It's only two days I'm flying 100% solo and when I was about a month out I realized I had some major anxiety about those solo days. It was amplified by a feeling of loneliness I experienced 2 weeks ago when I traveled alone to Kripalu in Western MA for a creativity workshop. I believe in owning our experiencing and looking honestly at that experience I can share with you that it was filled with feelings of major loneliness.
In Kripalu surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, stimulated by the content of the workshop I was attending even meeting new interesting folks I was left with a strong feelings of loneliness. From experience I can tell you that a partner doesn't necessarily fix that feeling. It's painful to find yourself in a relationship standing next to a person you love and still feel lonely (also a sign they aren't the one but maybe that's a topic for another post). Loneliness is a feeling I've had to make friends with, it's the feeling that will travel with me on this adventure. Would it be fun to have a friend to accompany me or a romantic partner to sit and sip wine with at a cafe overlooking the seine, absolutely. I refuse to let that feeling stop me from going on adventures or doing the things that i intend to do.
Stories of strong women comfort me and keep me moving forward with or without travel companions. Stories of women who do exactly what I'm doing now. Women who befriend the loneliness and move forward despite the pangs of longing or fear in their hearts. Yes there is fear, yes there is sadness, yes there is joy and yes I'm traveling alone. I'll leave you with this question, If you make friends with the loneliness are you really ever traveling alone?