This blog, in all its infinite randomness, is not turning into a travel blog. I honestly don’t travel enough for that. What it is turning into, however, is a place where I can share my journeys through motherhood, work life, marriage, and of course, self-care. And I’m slowly learning that travel, for me, is a form of self-care. So…sometimes you’ll get travel posts.
I had an inkling that travel was restorative, but I really didn’t believe it until my solo trip to Chicago recently. Now, I’ve traveled alone before but it was usually for a one day conference and was a quick turnaround trip by car. I didn’t really get out and explore the city and it felt more like a work obligation than an actual solo “vacation.” Even when I headed down to San Antonio for Blogalicious a few years back and I went alone, I didn’t really feel like I was on my own. It was weird because I was, but it just didn’t feel like it.
Chicago was different, or maybe I was different. I hopped on a flight after work on a Thursday and flew into Midway International Airport. My blogging buddy and Chicago expert, Natasha from Houseful of Nicholes, recommended Midway over O’Hare and I’m glad I took that advice. Midway is not huge, but it’s a pretty decent size and I appreciate the fact that it’s not a behemoth like LAX…because LAX had me feeling all the way overwhelmed. I’m thankful that Hubz and J were with me for that one.
I’m also thankful that they weren’t with me on my trip to Chicago.
Does that sound bad? I’m sure it does, but it’s the truth. From the time I boarded the flight to the time I grabbed my luggage when I made it back to Omaha, I didn’t wish they were with me. Of course there were a few times when I thought, “J would love this” or “I wonder if Hubz would like xyz,” but I never once wanted them there. I needed to be rejuvenated without the pressure of being “mom” or “wife.” I just needed to be me for a while, to be completely selfish in what I wanted to see/eat/do/buy or where I wanted to go. And it was lovely.
Beyond the amazing experience that was Blavity’s EmpowerHer17 (I’ll dig into that later), I also explored downtown Chicago, rode the train, rode the subway, got lost and ended up in some pretty unique spots, ate some great deep dish pizza, took a river boat architecture tour, and splurged on room service and breakfast in bed. The more I did, the more confident I became. The more confident I became, the less anxiety I experienced. And the less anxiety I experienced, the more I enjoyed myself.
Is this how solo travel works? I mean, really? Because if so, I’m not sure why I waited so long.