Last year I started a travel blog, but that is really the end of this story, the destination rather than the starting point. At the time, I was less comfortable putting myself “out there” and have worked to keep personal details private while imparting my stories and opinions here. Reading over my first posts on this blog, including the “Welcome!” which was supposed to be an introduction, I can see how stiff-armed I was. A year later, I would like a do-over. There is much more to the tale of how I arrived here.
I have always loved to travel, even as a child, but about 10 years ago I was living a very full and happy life that left no room to wonder about anything besides creating a comfortable and happy home with my husband. I was a newlywed, not for the first time, but I am an optimist and had high hopes. We had a great time together in those days, but about 4 years in we hit rough water and the fight to keep us afloat utterly consumed me for the next 4 years. As the balance tipped from mostly happy to mostly unhappy days, and days became years, I tried everything I could think of to try to fix it, to save us, but it was difficult with a partner who was so satisfied with his own situation that he didn’t want to acknowledge the existence of any problems.
When the storm was over, I found myself alone, washed ashore with the broken and scattered refuse of a wrecked marriage, and no idea of who I was or who I would become. The first two years on my own again were spent rebuilding. Rebuilding finances, rebuilding family relationships and long neglected friendships, rebuilding my own identity. I paid off large chunks of “marriage debt”. If you are unfamiliar with this phenomenon, allow me to explain. In my case anyway, debt was accumulated not because of some secret spending habit of either one of us, but more as a result of choices we made together that seemed fun and adventurous at the time (“Let’s take another trip to Europe and pay for it later!”) but that, without us egging each other on, may not have happened at all.
After about 2 years of divorce recovery, I realized I had the gift, the absolute luxury, of making my life into anything I wanted it to be. With the means and the wisdom that comes with experience, I suddenly felt like the world was my oyster! That’s when I really started to focus on developing myself professionally and personally in order to create my new dream life. At one point, I was able to take a leadership course for work, where I took a Meyers-Briggs personality test that told me what I already knew, that, among other things, I am deeply introverted. Therefore, when a coworker told me she could imagine me becoming a travel blogger, I thought, “Nice idea, but I would have to share my thoughts with others? No way!” The more I thought about it, though, the more I wondered whether there might be more like me out there, wondering how they can travel, alone possibly, especially challenging between the dreaded “single supplement” and general safety concerns. I began travelling more, on my own, and keeping a detailed travel journal. When I met up with my brother for part of a Norway trip last summer, I shared the idea of travel blogging with him and he said, “Don’t wait! Do it now!” That seemed to be the final push I needed. Since then, I have given myself over to a travel obsession and am surprised now by how much I enjoy sharing the experiences I have along the way. Yes, I have had to get outside myself. Yes, I have had to speak to strangers. Whether it leads to new friends or just to a place of beautiful solitude, I can tell you, it is always worth it.