I have just returned from my first vacation in six years. Circumstances (dance competitions, Grandmother’s funeral, getting hours cut to four days a week) prevented me from having that opportunity until now. This year I received a third week of vacation at the fifth anniversary with my company, which played a big role in my being able to go.
The morning of my trip, I woke up with an excitement I’d forgotten all about – the anticipation of exploring someplace new. Because of scheduling conflicts, DH2U wasn’t able to join me. Most of the trips I’ve taken as an adult have been solo affairs. There is something liberating in going someplace on your own. Admittedly my 2003 ten-day adventure in Scandinavia was too long – beautiful, exciting, and all – but I missed having someone to talk to.
This trip was no where near as exotic or long. It was less than a week in Salt Lake City. And it was exactly what I needed. I chose SLC because I’d never been there, it was a city where one didn’t need a car, it has historical significance, tons of parks, and there were low price airline tickets. The fact that as a female travelling alone I’d feel safe there was also a factor.
The city was just as beautiful and clean as I had expected. It has a useful grandeur to it. The buildings were big, stunning, and yet seemed to fit their purpose quite well. My favorites were the city hall (background with clock tower) and library (right). [Click on any of the thumbnails below to see a bigger version.]
It was the second day of the trip when I had a deja vu moment of all my previous travels: I am a scaffolding magnet. I went to Paris – Notre Dame, covered in scaffolding; Berlin’s Brandenburg gate, scaffolding; Milan – the Duomo AND La Scala, scaffolding. I had to laugh when I can around the back of the City Building to see a crew with the crane.
I don’t know if they were installing scaffolding or not, but I was grateful for the visit from the ghost of trips past.
In my explorations, I was continually surprised by sculptures showing up in the most unexpected places. Many were of parents and children.
but even the more practical items got caught in the art mood.
What did surprise me was the aggressive pan handlers. I know that SLC is a city, and all cities have their problems. I was just startled when in broad daylight they didn’t seem to take no for an answer.
My third day was all things Temple. I was up at Temple Square, went on a tour of the outside of the temple and saw a replica cut-out of the building’s interior, spent a couple hours in the genealogy center, watched a movie about Joseph Smith, and finished the evening watching a rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
I am a person that is fascinated by others’ religious beliefs, so this was an excellent opportunity for me to find out more. For the record, I am very satisfied with my religious choice, and I feel comfortable discussing my faith and learning about the belief systems held by others. I’d read about the forced (by gunpoint) migration of the Mormons from New York through Illinois and Missouri, and it was interesting to get a take on it from a perspective different from a history textbook.
As my trip progressed, I remembered the best part of traveling alone: If I wasn’t in the mood to do something, I didn’t do it. I spent a couple days just walking around looking at stuff, sitting in the numerous parks, sitting by the pool, and reading. I walked 6-9 miles a day while I was there!
I will not allow myself to go that long between vacations again. It gave me a recharge that I didn’t imagine possible. I read three books and started a fourth. I wrote three blog posts and outlined five others. Most importantly, I relaxed and didn’t worry about the time or having to be anywhere (except the airport!). While I could get used to being independently wealthy, I know I will be able to have a renewed energy when I go back to work tomorrow.
What makes your trips memorable? … or … Am I the only scaffolding magnet?
2 thoughts on “Just What I Needed”
No, I’m not into scaffolding, although I do like buildings. Your post is a great reminder of how being alone shouldn’t keep you from traveling. Back in the days when I was single, I never let that stop me, and I can’t recall a single trip where I didn’t strike up conversations with interesting people. And you’re right in that six years is too long to go without a vacation. Life does get hectic, but sometimes even a long weekend in a “staycaction” mode can help recharge. Thanks for a fun blog.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am jealous that you can travel and not see scaffolding everywhere! Glad to meet a fellow solo traveler.
Loved your blog post about your son, the dancer. (Anyone who wants to see it, please read about it here: http://charliehudson.net/weblog/2011/09/06/when-your-child-chooses-another-path/)