“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” -Rumi
What does travel have to do with divorce? I was trying to formulate my thoughts on the transformative effects of travel when I came across the above quote by Rumi, and it brought it all into focus for me. For me, a huge part of divorce recovery was learning to stand in my own power again. We hear phrases like, “Don’t give away your power,” or “Take your power back!” But what does that look like, and how does one go about owning your own power? Are we to beat our chests and shake our fists into the air atop a high cliff? No.
Taking your power back doesn’t happen with one dramatic declaration but with a thousand small moments of decision.
I’m writing this from a seaside restaurant in Cape Cod, Ma, and after navigating my way around Boston solo last night, let me tell you, this trip has already reminded me I am capable of standing in my own power. The fact that I’m from south Texas and have spent the last two days jumping into the crazy, whirling dervish of these northeastern “roundabouts,” a traffic phenomenon as alien to a Texan as a winter blizzard, has helped me prove to myself that I really can make it on my own. It may sound simple, but when you’ve spent seventeen years in the passenger seat on every out of town trip, there’s something both slightly terrifying and liberating about being the one in the driver’s seat.
Aside from the inherent confidence builder of managing travel logistics comes the reminder that life really does still exist in a world outside of the comfort of the married life and partnership you once had. When my marriage ended, places we had been and things we had done together just brought up painful memories. Travel is an opportunity to create new memories. Traveling to new places and meeting new people is memory building.
Mark Twain wrote, “Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.” I agree Mr. Twain. There is something liberating about discovering new places and meeting new people. There is something magical that happens to our awareness when we travel. We remember that there is a whole other world outside of the small one we have created for ourselves in our day to day lives.
When we travel, every day is full of new discoveries.
Today, it’s raining here in Sandwich, MA, and I’m all by myself. Being alone gives me incredible freedom of choice. What a gift! I sat in my rental car this morning, opened my google maps, and stared at the blank, gray search box patiently waiting for me to type in the destination of my choice. That’s right, I said, my choice. In these moments, I realize that I need to enjoy every moment of being forty something and single. I am alone with my thoughts, and the quiet and stillness make it easy to listen to my inner voice. To me, one of the challenges of relationships is holding your own inner compass, your own true north, in a life entwined with another person. One day, I hope I’ll join that delicate dance again, but for now, I’m in the lead. So, I see this time and this freedom today, not as a burden, but as a blessing.
Today, on this rainy Cape Cod Monday, I decide it’s a great day to find a little local cafe and write. Beth’s Bakery & Cafe is just a mile away according to google maps, so I fill that gray search line, turn on my windshield wipers, and take a right onto 6A. Beth’s turned out to be a great decision. I just finished eating the absolute most delicious homemade cranberry scone I’ve ever tasted with a side of whipped cream and berry jam. I’ve written about eight hundred words in the past hour and a half while enjoying a perfectly made cappuccino with the background noise of the locals bantering jovially.
Soon, I’ll be navigating the last roundabout of my trip before turning in my rental car and joining the masses in the lines of luggage and security in the bustling craziness of the Boston Logan airport. For now, however, I’ll enjoy my last two hours of discovery and freedom before I return back to my day to day. It’s a beautiful day to day I’m returning to, and travel is also a reminder that there really is no place like home and no people like the three little (six years), medium (thirteen years) , and now tall (sixteen years) people I can’t wait to get home to and hug.
As a matter of fact, my cell phone just lit up with a green text box from my six year old.
“Mommy, I love you to the moon and back. We made chilly!” This is what it’s all about. Going home with a new appreciation of the people I love and who love me back, and looking forward to driving back down a little Texas dirt road that dead ends at a house full of love and a bowl of hot, Texas “chilly”!