“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
After years of traveling very constantly for work and pleasure, I had hit an unexpected dry spell of being grounded – quite literally. I made a few domestic business trips and a couple trips cross country to see family, but I was missing a true overseas adventure. While those small trips had their share of enjoyment, what my soul truly craved was a journey to an unknown destination where I could discover. After having seen a few places in Europe, my heart is always drawn to culture and history there. Between switching jobs, work deadlines, family and friends (which were all fun) I just couldn’t fit in a time to take a trip. There were many well laid out intentions, but all ended in near misses and disappointments. There was a trip to Germany that didn’t happen because of work. The trip to Thailand, that fell apart due to family stuff. A trip to Israel that didn’t work out weather wise. This spring, I determined to take a trip overseas before the weather changed. With different work commitments, things just weren’t coming together – I just wasn’t able to get time off. There was a small window that looked promising in August, so I tried planning a trip for then, but that window closed with 2 days of it opening. That one almost broke my heart. Then finally on a Tuesday, all the stars aligned, and I was able to take vacation the following week. I started my mad search for destinations, tickets, and hotels. I was so lucky that by Wednesday I was able to book my flight and by Thursday I was able to confirm all my lodging. And Friday I was flying out!!! Yes – 3 days from vacation being approved, I had begun a trip to London and Paris.
This was my first time in both cities, and with the limited time I had to prepare for the trip, there was no time for any planning – I would just show up and let the next step find itself. This was also my first solo mission. I’ve traveled alone for work a lot and done portions of vacations alone, but this would be my first time doing a whole trip by myself from beginning to end – the whole 10 days. While I love traveling with friends, I really wanted to experience a full trip on my own. This was an opportunity to discover an unknown place all on my own. The thrill and excitement of surviving on my own with nothing more, then my own instincts (and Google maps) to show the way. It’s in moments like this when you are dependent on just yourself, that you realize who you really are. And this was also an unscripted trip with no agenda – all I wanted to do was experience these 2 cities and would let the journey unfold for me. This was a time to enjoy my own company and on some level prove to myself that I have the ability to survive and have lots of fun on my own.
It was finally time to break out the newly renewed passport with its crisp unmarked pages, and start filling it with stamps. As I got to the airport, fairly tired from 3 days of prepping and a little anxious at the lack of planning, I get upgraded to first class. And that is when I knew this would be the beginning of an incredible adventure.