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WBH: Ticket for One

In the three years since I became a widow, I have traveled almost as much as I had in the previous fifteen combined. My odometer has whined about the nearly 250,000 miles.

Confirm ButtonWhen it came time for me to book my flight to Minnesota for the Kay Marie Sisto Memorial Walk, I got a bit wistful amidst the flurry of confirmation numbers and reservations.

Long ago, I learned a lesson from my grandparents. They had worked all of their lives and went on one vacation together: 1983. While they had a wonderful time, I knew from them both it was far too late for a first and would unfortunately be the only.

When my granddaddy died in 1992, I was pregnant with my first son. I did not want to have my marriage take a permanent backseat to raising my children and some j-o-b.

Traveling with the children was a given. My older children are quite the jet setters, having hundreds of thousands of sky miles. My younger children have ground miles on them… lots and lots of miles.

The Point

While we were married, there was little time (or opportunity) for us to be alone without the children. We made due with hotel suites where the little ones could be in another room, but no matter where we were, it was a lot like being at home, regardless of the crispy white sheets and trial-sized everything.

My trip to Minnesota was the first one I have taken alone since Russell died. No, I was not truly alone because I met Val there, but it was the first one with me traveling as a single.

Suitcases: One.

Carry on bags: One.

Tickets: One.

The quiet of the wild blue yonder.

The quiet of the wild blue yonder.

No one in the truck on the way to and from the airport. No one to backseat drive. No one to help with luggage. No one to create overweight bags. No one to drool on my shoulder on the plane. No one on my hip. No one to ask 30 times how long before the plane landed. No one to shriek when the flight attendant said just one more beer was out of the question. No one to ask if they could ride in the overhead compartment. No one who wanted to go to the head every ten minutes. No one to say the air was too cold. No one to complain it was too hot. No one to try to convince me we were getting off on the wrong floor. No one to want the pillow on my side of the bed. No one to wake me up three hours before my body was ready. No one to be asleep 20 minutes after we should have left. No one to tuck into bed. No one to kiss goodnight. No one to tell me to turn off the reading light. No one to object to the music I chose. No one to tell me I shop too slow.

One.

Even my CrackBerry defected for this trip. The shipping PTB saw to it I left with a dead battery which stayed that way until I got home to the batteries which arrived after my plane touched down in Minneapolis. Everyone knew I was going to be gone. Very few texted. Fewer called. I had email turned off.

Time

Ticking ClockTime dilates when you are alone. Your perception of it is hyper acute, which makes it seem to crawl. (See Watched pot never boils.) In the hours I waited in the airport, I observed many travelers.

The harried couples with little ones in tow. An elderly couple with a handicapped, adult child. Grandchildren escorting their grandparents here and there. Newlyweds. Soldiers coming home to balloons, roses and posters. Business people attached at the ear and palm to offices thousands of miles away.

As I walked the concourse, I caught my reflection in a door. I stopped. It was just me. For the first time in nearly three decades, it was just me. I filed the picture away for later. I popped back up on my radar four days later.

Dragon Down the Road

Truck with AttitudeTo be honest, I missed my truck. When I walked up to it late Sunday night, I stopped with the key in the lock. There I was again, looking back from the dark window. One. I gave myself a chin up smirk and put the bags in the cabin.

I climbed behind the wheel and prepared for take off. (Yes, it is similar to flight crew preparation.) As the truck warmed, I thought about it again. One.

For some reason, I really thought I would be much older when I was sans entourage.


Do you travel alone? Is it normal or new for you? Was Three Dog Night right?

Thank you for joining me for June’s Widowed Blog Hop. Take a few minutes to visit some of the other blogs along the way for some uplifting recovery and ways we widows/widowers are not so different from all you non-widowed types.

Hashtags: #widowed #bloghops #travel

Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog with hashtags and visiting the other wonderful bloggers on the WBH.

© Red Dwyer 2013
Re-Blogging of this or any other post on The M3 Blog
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40 Comments

  1. I could have asked you to kiss me good-night if that would have eased your stress some.

    I nearly always travel alone, in fact it is rare to travel with someone. My once in a while vacation with Dearly Beloved stresses me out. Traveling with you was less stressful.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..What I LearnedMy Profile

    Reply
    • ROFL! Somehow, I believe you would. LMAO! I am so glad I did not stress you out as much as he does 😉 I think it has a lot to do with the fact I know what grits really are. *wicked grins*

      Reply
  2. I have been on my own for 30 years, except for a short stink less than 20 years ago. I am used planning and managing everything on my own, although as I get older, I do wish someone was available to reach out to for a little support. As I get older that isn’t going to happen because men my age need more help than I do.

    Sorry to hear you are single. You are still a gorgeous and vibrant woman. Do you picture anyone in the picture with you? Do you need to be alone?
    Tess Kann recently posted..Flash in the Pan – CantinaMy Profile

    Reply
    • Time for you to be looking into younger men, Tess. 🙂 I do not need to be alone. I can; I just do not like it. I am at heart a happily married person. My Mate has just not presented himself for duty. xxx

      Reply
  3. I do not really like traveling alone because I am so used to having my family with me. Sure it is much more challenging to travel with the kids, but I would rather have them with. For me if I am not traveling with my children I am traveling with a bunch of teenagers. This summer I have a youth conference in St. Louis. That does not count as traveling alone. I am also going to Wisconsin for a wedding I am officiating and I am taking one of my kids along to spend time with. I guess I am rambling….you get the idea.

    Having said that, my wife and I are off to Tampa next week for conference. I am looking forward to that time because I am not alone, but still can enjoy some time without the kids.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..Sin’s Ugliness vs. God’s GraceMy Profile

    Reply
    • I hope you have a wonderful time. Having a week, even a working week, to be alone with your wife will be refreshing for you both. Be careful!

      Reply
  4. At 40, I took my first plane trip to Calgary, Alberta (from Montreal) to see my grandmother who was ill and wouldn’t make it to Montreal anymore to visit. I was alone and absolutely clueless. I flew Westjet and they were really helpful yet surprised that at my age, I’d never flown before. I will be 50 next year and haven’t been on a plane since. I would love to go somewhere for pure pleasure, and it wouldn’t bother me to be alone.
    Wendy Reid recently posted..30 Day Challenge: Day 2My Profile

    Reply
    • Oh, my word. I have been flying since 1972 (my first alone flight). I think you should be planning to meet us in Minnesota next year. 🙂 xxx

      Reply
  5. Being alone is nice sometimes, and sometimes it’s not. I guess it all depends on your mood and circumstance. If you’re traveling alone because you want to, that’s great, but if you’re doing it because you have to it can be rather lonely.
    Binky recently posted..The More You KnowMy Profile

    Reply
    • I am careful with the lonely word. This trip was really odd. I was alone, but not lonely. I was surrounded by wonderful people once I got to my destination. It was the traveling which was unfamiliar. Between us, I would prefer not to have to travel alone often.

      Reply
  6. Red, as always excellent reflection. I can relate to traveling for the first time on your own. I looked around the airport as I sat and waited for the flight to board. It made me sad and even cry as I watched other families happy being together. I even cried at those that were stressed.
    Samantha Light-Gallagher recently posted..Overcome your Fear…My Profile

    Reply
    • I am glad to see you, Samantha. I think I was most touched by the older couples with the grandchildren. xxx

      Reply
  7. Lovely to hear the tales of joyful travel, the excitement of traveling alone, for a change, Not to mention beauty of my state, even if it barely felt like spring! I love traveling alone – I have enough trouble keep9ing track of my own tickets, et al… I can’t imagine having to carry the responsibility of someone else’s as well.
    But the most rewarding is when I get to meet someone else at our shared destination/adventure.
    However, I have done the full on alone trip – spent a wonderful week in San Deigo reacquainting myself with all the lovely spaces and auras San Diego has to offer. It was a good trip for my soul, it was… having returned for a refresher after a decade away from my 20 year stint in SD…

    🙂
    glad all is well and that all went well!!
    BuddhaKat recently posted..Fractal Flavor Fav – Sunday editionMy Profile

    Reply
    • I am considering a single travel where I go someplace quiet for a while. I know me though… It will be about four days before I am stir crazy and missing the high speed to which I have grown accustomed. xxx

      Reply
  8. You know, I hadn’t thought about this. I haven’t traveled alone in a really long time…like a couple of decades. I do love to travel though and since my husband died I always have a plane ticket confirmation saved in my email. Even if it’s a year away the promise of travel is important to me and honors my husband’s legacy. He was a landscape photographer so we went many places together that were surreal. (My favorite was Death Valley…yes, Death Valley. Ironic, huh?)

    Wanderlust is being passed on to our children. My daughter spent 2 months in Yellowstone; her first travel alone at 19. My son is too young to go alone yet but has a decent frequent flyer balance. I set up his account when I booked the trip for our family to scatter his dad’s ashes in Yosemite. (When the photo linked in my signature was taken.) By the time he’s 18 he will have enough to make his own solo trip. The tradition continues.
    Tamara Beachum recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Half Dome HeartMy Profile

    Reply
    • I think the family traditions of travel are a terrific legacy. I would love to believe it helps them feel closer to him and connected to you. Death Valley is beautiful; I can see why it captured your imagination. Glad you stopped by, Tamara. xxx

      Reply
  9. Such an interesting perspective. I guess I don’t travel alone that much these days because I just don’t travel a lot. And when I do, I have my great daughter along, who at 15 is a wonderful travel companion. I’ve been single for so many years that I think I’d fall over and die if there were someone to lift the heavy bags, do the planning, share a nice hotel with. Maybe one day. Meanwhile, I try to remember the distinction between social loneliness vs. intimate loneliness … I’m fine with the first but the second is rather heartbreaking. For me, anyway.

    Reply
    • I have less to worry with the social loneliness. This place and my other site are so busy, I hardly have time to notice. It is when the electronics are all off I notice. And I agree it is heartbreaking. xxx

      Reply
  10. Ron

     /  January 11, 2015

    An interesting take on it. Coming from the opposite approach, my dislocation would come from traveling with a large tribe of loved ones. I have done it, but years ago. When it all boils down, One is the number we all have to be happy with. If we aren’t the other numbers cannot make a difference.

    Reply

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