Sunday. June 25, 2017. An airplane.
The last 2 days have been filled with traveling in the most boring sense. I left Yosemite yesterday at 0930, got to the Amtrak at 1313 and waited for 2 hours before boarding. I then took the Bart into San Francisco to get checked into my bunkhouse after 2000. This morning I woke up at 0645 to eat breakfast and buy SF souvenirs before heading to the airport at 1230 (all made more difficult by the pride parade happening in the home of the first LGBTQ community.) My first flight was delayed 45 minutes and then my second flight by 2 hours and 45 minutes. I am finally on the plane out of my layover in LAX. This all made for a long 2 days, but still tolerable because I love traveling and being in a new place. So there are worse things, am I right?
Outside of sitting bored on public transportation, the only other significant thing I have done is eat. Last night at Montesacro Pinsario, a restaurant with a traditional Roman take on pizza. It was good, but not as flavorful as I would expect. Granted I over season everything and rely heavily on condiments. Regardless, the waiter definitely had to be annoyed with my continuously asking for another topping to add (from parmesan cheese to their red sauce). This morning, I woke up with the intent to try a new breakfast location; Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, but it was closed due to the pride parade. So, I had Mama’s again (and the mama’s cristo again because it was SO good!) Then, later at the LAX airport, I ate at California Pizza Kitchen and drank 2 margaritas to pass the time. I was hopeful the margs would help me sleep on the plane, but they have already lost their affect. And to top it off, the only full album I have on my phone right now is the Chainsmokers, definitely not nap music. (Note: I deleted the majority of my music to make room for more pictures.)
Really the only other notable detail about the last 2 days, is again, talking to random people. It is amazing how much more social you are when completely alone; especially me, since I love to talk anyways. And as I previously mentioned, people love to ask questions about my trip and future plans, and LOVE to comment on my solidarity. Which now I suppose is a good time to reflect on being alone, not the original plan.
Last October when I went to Arizona to visit my then best friend, we had so much fun hiking that we started discussing backpacking. It was her dream to go to Yosemite, so we began seriously planning this trip. We bought our permits in January, the first day available, and acquired all the gear over the following months. Obviously exciting, it was a big topic of conversation, together and with literally every other person in my life.
Leaving the drama out, she was in grad school and started a new job. So her finalized planning was put off until later, and she wanted to make changes to the length of the trip. Originally we were going to see San Francisco together for one day, then I was going to fly out early so I could still see SF when she could not, then the required time allotted to pick up our permits was not going to work for her. Remaining objective, I will leave out the details at that point, but she then was no longer going at all.
It never crossed my mind to cancel the trip entirely. I was too invested, too excited, and literally too much in need of a getaway. So at that time, it became a solo trip and I bought a 1-person tent.
I had traveled alone in a sense, driving to Tennessee and flying to Arizona to meet up with friends. But I always met up with someone and actually spent the bulk of said trips with someone. So this was a relatively foreign concept to me. But living by myself as a night shifter sometimes feels like isolation and my dad travels alone for work on the reg, so it never seemed a big deal to me personally.
Honestly it did not become a big deal until people started acknowledging it and commenting excessively while in Cali. It was not even back home when people’s worries increased significantly after she backed out and I announced I was going alone. Nope, it was here. I have heard “You’re so brave” too many times to count and been asked “What do your parents think?” even more. I guess being surrounded by other vacationing strangers, none of which are alone, was when I realized it was against the norm. It was not just loved ones vocalizing fear, but rather a common thought among the average population.
That being said, I recommend it. I got to see what I wanted to see at my pace, I met so many great people, and I had ample time to just appreciate being alone with my thoughts. It gave me an even greater sense of independence and helped me realize I truly am changing in regards to my perfectionist attitude. I was required to go with the flow, and be aware of surroundings entirely and always. It was a big trip, and successful despite all the issues along the way. I enjoyed it immensely.
So I am thankful to have gone alone, especially when considering the company I would have had. I do not mean that in a bitter sense, but rather it was a stressful trip at times and I 100% guarantee it would have been worse for her. It was more enjoyable not having to stress about another person’s stress. It was more enjoyable not having to rely on anyone and not being a burden to anyone (which would have been probable with my sun burn and adjusted plans.) Overall though, I am most thankful for the independence and confidence in being alone that it encouraged. I will plan solo trips in the future; I have too much I want to see in this life to always wait for someone else to be able to go too.
So anyways, I am nearing the end of this trip (at about 0300 in Indy time, my goodness) and my momma is going to be at the airport to pick me up. Once I finally wake up tomorrow (it has been 1.5 weeks since I slept in my own bed!!), it will be time to leave vacation mode. I will have to start eating better again, work out routinely (especially when considering my now encouraged goals of the PCT and rock climbing), be frugal with my money (to save for future adventures), and get back into the monotonous tone of everyday life. Good news is at least I do not have to go back and worry about laundry, as my mom spoils me and does that (which tbh, she deserves better souvenirs after this week’s laundry…)
Until the next adventure,