Sunday, November 05, 2006

Solo in Paradise

When I was younger I used to have very romantic notions of travelling alone. I imagined myself filling up a single backpack with a few shirts and a journal, buying a Eurorail pass and heading off with nothing but my observations and blank pages.

Now that I am a little older and have experienced it a bit, solitude does not exactly hold the same appeal as it once did. It strikes me more as depressing and something to avoid, so knowing that I would spend my first two days in Honolulu by myself was a bit daunting. But what else could I do? I strapped on my armor and prepared for two days alone in paradise.

At first I did pretty well. In the airport waiting for my final connection I sat down against a wall and got lost in my observations of the other passengers. I attempted to mold into my surroundings and fly under the radar, so that I could just be. It became refreshing to just be there and not have to try to be anything. Not charming, not cute, not smart, not amusing. Not strong. Not on top of my game. Nothing that I feel like I have to be every day to survive work, socilization, family, life. Travelling alone I could just exist. Suddenly I felt a surge of independence as I realized my current state. This is what is so nice about being alone.

I did manage to hold on to that feeling most of the time, even when other feelings started to creep in - like boredom. Lonliness gave me a break and pretty much stayed away. It was nice to explore and relax, although I did find myself thinking, "Oh, this place is wonderful! I can't wait until Jason gets here and then we will really enjoy it." Then I chided myself. Why did I need someone else there to enjoy it?

But the reality is, I was looking forward to my friend getting there. Being alone can be empowering, but having someone to share life with is much more fulfilling. Plus, then you have someone to take pictures for you.

*Rees, sunbathing solo in Waikiki.


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