I prefer to write about things in chronological order, so I haven’t been able to write about anything else until I could write this. Where do I start?
I went to Paris in June.
I know I’m not alone when I say that Paris was my ultimate destination – the place at the top of my travel list.
Paris was the first time I felt free.
I had never previously traveled by myself. Why had I never travelled by myself, with myself, in 26 years? When I was able to be honest with myself, I realized that I feared traveling alone, being alone, because I feared the quiet, stuck with myself with nothing but time to think. Having company distracted me from harsh truths I needed to face about how I wanted to be living.
The year had been a challenge for me. I had ended a 7 year relationship, put the steps into motion to get a divorce and moved into my own very tiny apartment. It meant that many bridges were burned, some beyond repair. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one.
It meant I would face the fear of being alone. It meant I had the time to figure out who I was in that moment. And to remember who I wanted to be, hoped to be. Did I still have the same aspirations and dreams? Could I trust myself to make big decisions and heal after a large loss? I felt like I had a lot to answer for, to myself, and even more to prove.
The entire trip to Paris was spontaneous. I was supposed to leave St. Petersburg with my friends and come straight home. But it felt like a waste to be in Paris without stepping outside of an airport – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, partly because it seemed so uncharacteristic of me. The old me would have gone straight home, no questions asked.
Right before the trip to Paris, I had practical things on my mind – brushing up on common French phrases, figuring out how to not get lost, writing and re-writing my itinerary. The biggest fears I felt about the trip were in getting lost and not seeing everything I wanted to see. There was no self-doubt to hold me back and no negative voice in my head detailing all of the ways the trip could go sideways.
But most importantly, I looked forward to the alone time and the wandering around. It took months, but I was no longer afraid to be alone with myself.