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Imagine yourself in a foreign country. Your kids are an ocean away. Your husband is attending an all-day conference and has politely asked you not to call or text him. You are about to get on a city bus for the first time in your life en route to a big, bustling, metropolitan city.
OK, for some of you this might sound ridiculous. You might travel all the time for business and this is no big deal. For others it may sound magical; a break from the kids and even the spouse can certainly be a rare indulgence.
In what seems like another life — my unmarried twenties — I was an adventurer. I spent most of my time by myself, traveling new places, and I loved it. Then marriage and stay-at-home motherhood happened and all of a sudden I felt like adventuring solo in a far-off land was a bit unnerving. To be honest — scary!
>> Read more: Go It Alone On a Solo Adventure
I think that sometimes we get so used to being part of a couple that we forget how to function in ways we were able to when we were single. I used to be pretty fearless, but motherhood awakened in me an anxiousness, to protect them and myself, for them.
Despite my anxiety, I knew I had to get out and explore while my husband worked those two days. I was very excited about Amsterdam, a city that seemed so chic with its picturesque streets and canals.
So I set off on my journey, completely alone, both terrified and excited! It was such an odd feeling walking out into the drizzling rain to the bus stop a block from our hotel. I stood there in my coat and hat and hoped I looked like I belonged. However, my facade was shattered when I got on the bus and nearly shouted, “I need to purchase a ticket to Leiden Central!” and fumbled awkwardly with my Euros to pay.
After settling into my seat, I tried to relax enough to enjoy the gorgeous Dutch countryside, an idyllic scene of tulips and windmills.
You only live once! Somehow this mantra calmed my mind.
In Leiden, I managed to get on the correct train to Amsterdam and when I stepped out of the massive train station into the sea of tourists and bicycles, I felt a rush of adrenaline. I was here — utterly alone — and for some reason, the fear vanished.
I walked around the beautiful city with no real plan, whipping out my map when necessary, taking photos and stopping wherever I wanted. I was able to take it all in and truly enjoy the novelty of being by myself somewhere brand new and amazing.
I enjoyed myself so much that I did the exact same thing the next day, except this time I read my novel on the bus and somehow felt fantastically like I fit in.
I’m so glad I stepped out of that hotel into the rain, and into my own little adventure.