I’m on my way to the airport and it feels like I’m on the edge of a new horizon. What does that even mean? Well, I know that something different is happening, but I can’t quite work out what it is. I can see the change coming.
I have just been through a big personal change. I’ve been in a relationship for nearly four years. I’ve been a stepmother since I was 23. But now I am no longer in that relationship and, heartbreakingly, I am also no longer a stepmother. I’ve put my last four years into three people and they are no longer an active part of my life. It’s a bloody big change.
We we’re supposed to be going on a big trip together today. Parts of the USA, London, Paris. They are on the plane now, and I am not. But this isn’t about how I feel about that. They are going to have a ripper of a time together and bond incredibly. This is about change.
I have never travelled overseas by myself. My anxiety disorder has held me back, both legitimately and as a good excuse for not having to try something that puts me out of my comfort zone. But four years of step parenting and the heartbreaking decision to let that part of my life go have taught me something: if I can love, nurture, protect, and deal with the difficulties that looking after kids inevitably brings, then I can bloody well deal with any adversity I face when travelling in a foreign country.
So, with three weeks of leave from work already booked, I decided to stop ignoring the signs.
One of my brothers encouraged me to travel solo. He mentioned Vietnam as a good starting point and mentioned an app with amazing flight deals that I should download. I did. The next day I was catching up with an old friend I used to live with at college and he mentioned Vietnam. The app alerted me on the same day to some sweet flight deals for Vietnam.
Three mentions. Two encouraging people. A supportive work team. The next day, my flight was booked. That afternoon I booked a hostel for the first two nights. That was three weeks ago, and I haven’t booked anything else except for travel insurance.
Whenever I mention Vietnam to people, they’ve got nothing but good things to say. I’ve been given a lot of recommendations over the past few weeks and I remember some of them, but I will still be winging it.
I freaked out a little yesterday, wondering if I was doing a good thing. I’ve been part of a family unit for so long that this solo trip feels like I am cementing my singularity. I am solo. I only have me to rely on. I worry about being lonely.
It’s an entirely new way of travelling for me and it scares me as much as it excites me. But I will push through the anxiety. I will breathe. And I will be okay.