Friday, February 29, 2008

going solo

I chatted with Tommy yesterday. The little punk - he's getting ready for his trip to Rome in a week. Oh yeah - with a side trip to Pompeii for a day. I'm so glad - and jealous! - that he's able to take all these trips, and that he takes the opportunity to take all these trips. Traveling alone can take some getting used to, at least for me.

I was remembering last night one of my first solo trips. Without looking it up, I think it was around Christmas 1989. I decided to go surprise my brother David who was on a mission in Holland/Belgium. Shows how much I understood about mission rules, doesn't it? I went to church with David, and hung out a little bit afterwards, and that was it. Oh, and as I recall he got reamed by his Mission President for his dumb sister coming up to visit from Germany. :)

I remember that weekend as being gray. It was strange traveling alone, and I didn't much like it. I don't even remember the main city I was in - I think Antwerp, because I remember going to a diamond museum. I also remember going to a movie, which cost a ton but was exciting because it was in English with subtitles, as opposed to being dubbed by crazy German actors.

A more recent trip to Paris - but still around 10 years ago - was actually a GREAT experience traveling alone. I went with a friend, who was helping her friend get ready for her wedding. I stayed with Dominique, a friend who was a nanny. Total Cinderella deal - the family had a HUGE, gorgeous apartment in the 13th Arondissement, with incredible vaulted ceilings adorned with plaster relief designs. Dominique lived up the back stairs a few flights in a room the size of a closet - room enough for a twin bed, a wardrobe, and a small sink. You could sit on the bed and wash your hands in the sink - that's how close together they were. There was a common bathroom down the hall for all the nannies in the building to share. In the distance through the window you could see the Eiffel Tower.

The first day was a little strange, but after that I really got into being able to do what I wanted without having to discuss it with anyone else. I spent 3 days in the Louvre, just wandering around and really looking at the masterpieces there. I spent an afternoon sitting in the Musee de l'Orangerie, immersed in Monet's waterlilies. Those silly posters of tiny segments of them don't even come close. I spent hours sitting by the Seine, just watching people. I don't think I even made it inside Notre Dame.

It was funny last night to remember the contrast between the two trips. I'm glad Tom is not such a wimp and is able to just take off and go visit and experience all the different places he's been!


Tom said...

I'm glad you don't think I'm a wimp. To be honest, though, 'going solo' is a little bit daunting. I agree that it's nice to be on your own schedule, not dependent on polling the group to find the lowest common denominator to decide what to do, or where to go. But there's also something to be said about having a travel buddy. It can help to expand one's horizons by doing something that they want, but you weren't necessarily thinking of.

I have to admit that I've had some fantastic opportunities to travel around a bit. Mostly, it's because of where I am. It's much easier to jump in a car and drive to Krakow when it's only 1200 miles and $300 for gas on the round-trip, vice 15 to 20 hours and probably $1500 for a plane ride.

Rome should be fun. And I'll be sure to get lots of pictures for you, which will have to do, since I'm not going to make it up to Venice to get the glass beads for you...

kat said...

i'm totally with you on the daunting part. it's totally daunting. there are trips i didn't take because i would have been on my own. while most of the time i PREFER traveling with a buddy - it's always good to have someone to poke when a really good goofball walks past - i think it's great that you don't stop traveling because you donh't have a travel buddy.

Tom said...

Well, I have to update you, Kat. I've been here 2 days now. Spent yesterday on a bus to/through Napoli and Pompei. Really amazing that an entire city got buried by volcanic ash! I'm taking tons of pics, so you can live vacariously through my adventures...