After a day of near-constant rain and thunder (and just enough sun every now and then to make me think it might stop long enough for a walk, but then it would start again); a day of generally sitting and writing, reading, completing project tasks, sending emails, and partaking in various other glued-to-the-computer activities, I couldn’t take it anymore. Dusk was falling, I hadn’t seen lightning in at least an hour, and I needed to get outside and move. Grabbed my pink umbrella for a bit of cheer and headed out.
I’m glad I did. Walking gets the stuck thoughts out through my pores, leaving them to evaporate into the air behind me.
I had a conversation with my friend Carolyn last week about how much I love traveling alone. I get to make the decisions about when to stop and where to go, when to take a detour and when to take a shortcut, what to eat, what to listen to, who to talk to, and how long I want to do whatever it is that I decide to do.
Traveling alone tunes me into the things I love, and by connecting with those things, I also connect with other people and places more fully and genuinely. Because I have my space, I’m not so selfish about sharing it. Because I’m choosing how to share it, I am more open to the world around me. That said, I am also more protective of what I have learned I truly value.
For many reasons, I recommend traveling alone at least once in your life.
My conversation with Carolyn was primarily about driving around the US – in particular, she was asking me about a 6-month journey I took this past year. These walks I’m doing now are, at least on the surface, much more limited in scope than driving across 6000 miles from one terrain to another. But they have some similar payoffs.
As I walked tonight, I got glimpses of ways of living that appeal to me, and others that don’t – glimpses through windows and yards, of houses and porches, snippets of conversation, children, dogs, runners, fast drivers down quiet streets, couples talking under trees.
I also found delight in the bit of sky that was clear, the light refreshing rain, the frame of my umbrella around everything I saw, and the opportunity to let my thoughts sift through the sieve of putting one foot in front of the other, choosing my path, stopping to look up or down, taking spontaneous turns, and then finally putting the umbrella down and letting what was now a fine mist roll over me as I walked back home.