As a woman, I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world. Virginia Woolf

Reading my post about a solo trip into New York City prompted my sister Jeanne to think about her many solo adventures over the years. Below she shares her thoughts on the advantage and pleasures of traveling – and being – alone.

Jeanne and me in Paris.

The Wrinkly Duchess looks at Oneness…

I believe several situations contribute to the preference of being alone.  First, you were an only child and have grown up with that paradigm.  You comfortably function as an ‘only’ with no need of constant reassurance.

Or perhaps you were one of a brood, lost among busy personalities and a hectic household, who longed for quiet moments away from the crowd.   I suspect the third type might be the folks who have crazy busy intense people filled jobs, whose eight hours are crammed with decisions and who long for quitting time and the quiet ride home. 

I’m part of number 2 and number 3. The oldest girl of seven siblings whose working mother was single for many years, so she depended on the oldest daughter to hold the fort and who’s after school and summer hours were spent wrangling the young ones while starting dinner prep and other assigned household chores like ironing and floor scrubbing. 

Sounds a bit like Cinderella but not really. Times were tough and I had to pitch in. Mom worked two jobs to feed us. It is the reality of many families.  Later as an adult I had one of those intense jobs which necessitated coming home late. My four interesting kiddos were my escape.

So now, as an senior, I find I treasure solitude.  It’s a treat to sit in a lovely café, peruse a menu and pick my favorites. No…”What are you having dear?” God forbid we chose the same entrée. Why? 

Traveling alone is really fun. I choose where, when and for how long.  I read up on interesting places or sites and jump in with both feet, discovering exotic cafes, adventures and friends along the way.  Curiosity and imagination are the very best traveling companions. Staring out windows of planes, trains and automobiles I wonder about the lives of those in towns and villages we pass and perhaps chose a future destination. 

Oneness doesn’t dictate always alone. It simple suggests you do not fear solitude and function quite well on your own. When a friend or relative comes to share my life for days or weeks, they are welcomed.  But my alone days are often filled with projects, reading, writing, volunteer hours, even movies and shopping. My brain is my friend, my companion and playmate.  I remember stupid old jokes my brother told me decades ago and I laugh out loud. I remember loved ones who I can no longer call to gripe about some insane political occurrence. I remember sweet moments in my very long life that still warm my shriveled up old heart. I realize that no matter that we lose in this life, perhaps the saddest is memory. They are the compendium of our experiences. Memory can be the best roommate. 

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