Today I walked my dog for three hours. We started at my campsite and we walked, and when we came upon an interesting beach we descended and walked some more. I delighted as my dog ran back and forth, bounding into the waves, chasing birds into the sky and running back to me to make sure I was proud of all she had accomplished. And when I grew tired of trudging through sand, we continued on our way and came to another path and I followed that through a grove of trees that hung above me like a wooden tunnel pierced with sunbeams. Then, some beautiful pink flowers appeared in a field nearby and I stopped to have a look and contemplate their pinkness in such a sun-scorched field. And then we kicked up dirt, and ran a ways, because I felt like doing that next.
Eventually, panting, I turned around, pressed play on one of my favorite podcasts, and retraced my steps back to the campsite. It was growing dark so I brushed my teeth and hopped into bed under my reading light. Waves crashed outside my open window, the way they did on my white noise machine at home, but they were real this time. I read a book that I’d been meaning to read for nearly a year now. My dog snuggled against me, kicking her feet and whispering tiny woofs as she dreamed a dream that was her life.
This is why I travel alone. Because sometimes there isn’t space for hours of wandering at home just because you saw a pretty flower or an enticing footpath. Because it’s hard for me to turn it off and unplug and see the beauty in all the little things. Travel connects me to a deeper part of myself that sometimes gets lost in the rigors of life and the structure of work, and the running of a business. It connects me to the child inside that wants to chase birds with my dog on the beach, or cook s’mores on a fire I built with my own two hands and breathed life into. Doing so alone doesn’t make me feel lonely. It makes me feel strong, and feminine and wild. And it makes me feel alive.