Last week I went on a trip by myself. I turned 50 this year and there were no giant celebrations. I had grand visions of throwing myself a huge party but I just didn’t do it. But then I saw that the Counting Crows were touring this summer. And I thought that I would get myself a ticket. I tried to see if the dates coincided with the time I would be in NY but that was not to be. Then I decided that I would buy a ticket to see them someplace that I had never been before. And that I would buy a ridiculously expensive ticket that had me sitting really close and get me into a meet and greet with the band prior to the show. This all made sense to me. And then I bought the ticket. And it was in Texas, Irving to be exact. I bought the ticket around my birthday in April. I told next to no one that I had done this. Because I was not sure that I was going to go.
I could not remember the last time that I traveled anywhere alone (if ever). And I was afraid. I was uncertain if I could do it. Go to a place that I’ve never been to. By myself. So I did not tell. I did not tell because I was unsure. But life has a way of reminding you that there are so many more scary things than taking a plane alone and driving in super giant states. So the month before, I decided that I would actually go. Then I told. I told my family. They were a little irked but were able to roll with it.
I almost did not rent a car in Texas. That would have been a mistake. I put Waze on my phone after Google Maps took me to a road that was closed. And aside from that little snafu, I managed to always get to where I was going. I managed to not get lost. When I got back and people asked me what the best part of the trip was, I said that it was not getting lost. It was kind of a huge confidence boost for me.
One of my co-workers and a friend said things to me like, they did not think that they could travel solo like I had. I told them both that I did not think that I could do it either. But then I did. And it was good for me. It reminded me that I am able to do things on my own. That although the world is a scary place, I don’t want to live in fear. I don’t want the what-ifs to dictate my life and choices.
The other great thing about this trip is that it shattered any and all preconceived red state Texas notions that I had. No, I did not get into a discussion about politics with anyone. But Texas did not come close to living up to my high level stereotypes. This makes me as bad as the guy in the south who is brushing all the folks on the east coast with a broad blue brush. I think that maybe if more people were less afraid, less afraid to get out of their comfort zones and travel a bit, we really would see that there are more similarities than differences. And learn that there are places where everyone will call you ma’am but not because you are of a certain age but because it is polite. And I think that it’s a good thing that I know that.