First let me set the scene. This morning i landed in Amsterdam, and from there flew to Milan. A car picked me up and brought me to Stresa, a little (what used to be) fishing village on the edge of Lake Maggiore, but for some centuries has been the go to vacation destination for people within this region and without. Northern Italy, very close to the Swiss border (about 30 minutes drive.)
I had a meeting for 1.5hrs, and afterwards walked into the little town center to grab some dinner. Unlike my trip in February (the off-season when we have our training) it was buzzing. A million tiny restaurants, cafes and outdoor seating areas. It got a lot cooler in the evening dropping from the high 60s to the low 50s as the darkness came. i read a few menus and ventured into a small outdoor area in the square. I had a delicious meal followed by an even more delicious Espresso Italiano.
There is this buzzfeed list bouncing around the Internet about 12 things you need to do aloneat least once. When it first came up a couple of years ago, one of my good friends and i really latched on to it, and prided ourselves on having done every single one. The biggest one for us was Travelling alone (also because a lot of the others can be done WHILE travelling alone.) Since then he and i have travelled alone (me mostly for work) and have shared our experiences and the depth of that experience.
it really is so magical.
On my way to dinner this evening, i walked along the promenade of Lake Maggiore. The sun was resisting sleep as dusk set in, and the lights started twinkling on the opposite shore. The Isles developed by the Borromeo family were also lit up in all the old world glory they stand for, and what a sight! Couples, old and young, arms entwined walked past me. Languages from German and Swiss, to Spanish, English and even a group of Sri Lankans passed by me.
The best thing about travelling alone is not having to think about a second person. What do I want to eat? What do i want to do now? Do i just want to stand outside this store and stare at some art for 15 minutes? It’s a certain level of responsibility that comes with the freedom, and a level of INTENTION that comes with having to make decisions on purpose. It’s enpowering.
I’m lucky because i get to travel for work, and travelling for work means, mostly travelling alone. (I have a whole spiel about not envying me for my job, because just like everything else it has its pluses and minuses-but i will leave that for another time.) But i really recommend people to do it. Even couples can go on separate trips. Ladies should go on a girls trip that has open periods where you need not spend every second with the other girls. Guys should hit the road for some time on their own, to do things their significant other might not be adventurous enough to attempt. IF you’re single, STOP WAITING TO TRAVEL!
The other thing. “Travel” does not mean International. Within each of the nations we live, there is so much we have undiscovered. How often have you heard people say, (or have you said yourself) that you wouldn’t have gone to a museum or other attraction in your city unless you were taking visiting friends? Be a tourist in your own city!
It all sounds so cliche, but its true.
I’m sitting outside on my balcony that faces the back of the hotel and the mountains. The stars are bright, and despite the 50F weather, i’ve been out here for over an hour writing and thinking how the cliche would be complete if i was a smoking hand rolled cigerettes and listening to some French music. One part of taking part in this experience is doing the cliche things (a few months ago, i sat in a square, outside Como Cathedral, drinking wine, eating pasta, while a man in the corner crooned out an old timey tune on his accordion.. I’m not even kidding. It actually played out exactly like that) and realising why its a cliche.
To tie it all up, one day i was driving home and i realized, “this IS my life.” All the schooling, college, tests, and interviews, successes and failures have brought me right here, and i’m no longer waiting to live my life. Since then every experience that is open to me i have taken; and this alone has changed my life more than anything else.
Live intentionally, and see what happens to you next!!