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Sometimes, I wonder if my mother regrets raising me to believe that all things would be possible for me, because when I was a sophomore in college, I bought a plane ticket and went to Paris by myself on my way to a summer study abroad program in Italy. It was an amazing experience: I spent three days desperately trying to blend in and not appear to be an obnoxious traveler, while at the same time I kept sneaking glances at my guide book as I soaked up the City of Lights.
I fell in love with the cathedral of Notre Dame, and I made a point to visit there each day before I began my wanderings. In three full days, I crammed in visits to classical and modern museums, cafes and bookstores, snapping photos and wandering beneath the changing clouds that hang over Paris. To this day, I have never seen a sky that is quite like the one over this French city.
Traveling alone is an interesting experience. There is no one to cooperate with, no concessions to be made. Any kind of travel is transformative, but without the voices of others to cloud your mind, I believe that a person will undergo deep psychic and mental changes if she takes the risk to venture out into the world alone.
And a risk it is, although at the time I don’t think I was consciously aware of that fact. I stayed in a hostel, sleeping in a co-ed dormitory with five other travelers. My first night in the city, I realized that two of my roommates were male, and I felt a bit unsettled. I slept in my clothes behind a barricade that I constructed using my backpack, waking up at every sound and breath. It was a miserable night, but thankfully, my fears came to nothing.
Even so, I haven’t traveled alone since that trip. My husband has as bad a case of wanderlust as I have, and we’ve been lucky enough to travel together, even returning to Paris a few years ago; the city still enamors me, even after all this time.
With gas prices lower than we’ve seen in a long time, lots of people are taking to the road and the air to travel for the upcoming holidays. It’s a time of gratitude and love, whether you’re flying solo, headed back to visit your blood family, or carving out time for the friends you hold dear, but when so many people hit the roads, tensions can rise and safety can feel tenuous.
I wanted to share a quick spell for safe travels with y’all before I head off for Thanksgiving. Take your time, be courteous to other drivers, and consider asking Isis for a little extra protection before you leave your house....
I did some traveling in September, and I’m about to do some more traveling throughout the end of October. While making a to-do list and going through some computer documents I found this little travel charm, and it reminded me how important it is to protect oneself, whether traveling near or far.
A life-changing journey started two days ago for me, and it involves driving over a thousand miles with everything I own (which only half-fills my car) to start my life over. I'll be stopping at several places along the way, turning an emotionally painful one-way trip, into an adventure of self-discovery. Well, doing the best I can, there's no denying the tears and pain.