My Brave Self Travel

Solo.

Wednesdays.

Wednesdays became my day.

The day I put everything aside…To-do lists, exhaustion, even sometimes meaning saying no to others. Wednesdays were the day, I remembered to live.

When friends called to grab dinner, a coffee, I told them I had plans. When they needed more volunteers, I went against every desire I had and told them I was busy. When my TO-Do list did not seem to grow shorter, I scrapped it. Wednesdays were mine.

The day I got into my car, turned over that 1996 Nissan rumbly engine and thought, “What do I want tonight?”

Did I want to grab a hot tea and walk through busy city streets watching the lights twinkle, the new couple chattering with excitement over the possibilities, and street lights rotating endlessly through the cycles? Or was tonight the night to stop in the record store I always passed by on my way to a meeting, but finally I went inside and had hour conversations with old women who teach you wisdom like, “Rainy days are meant for coffee and scratchy records. Don’t forget it” Would it be the night I went to coffee shops outside of my neighborhood, sat at my own table, recognized no one, and sipped slowly with no agenda of where to go next. No phone in sight, no instagram photo to claim these trips as actually happening…but just being and breathing deeply.

Was it a night I wanted to lay on grassy hills and watch the planes land over me and hear their jet engine winds whip through the tree branches like whips?

 Would it be simple and I’d perch up in the musty bookstores among piles of powerful words and endless stories?

These nights made me fall in love with me.

Not in the dysfunctional self absorbed way that those words make it sound, but in the way that makes you discover you. The way you realize in bookstore basements you enjoy the way your mind soaks up every last word these authors slaved to perfectly craft on a page. You like that you get lost in it.

The way you know your love for finding other’s story is something that will stick with you for life and you can’t help but get lost in fantasizing where that storytelling will take you.

You appreciate that something in you makes you smile at the smell of an old book that hasn’t been opened in decades or closely watching your latte steam slowly between your hands.

I’m not sure why, but 22 was different for me. 22 was the first time I was away from any sort of team, classmates, work crew (substitute teacher life). It was the first time the white noise of busy lives and bursting groups of friends weren’t easily accessible. The noise went quiet and life went still and suddenly it’s just your voice.

I think my adventurous side shaped during that year: The year of  Wednesdays. Some Wednesday’s were uncomfortable to be alone. Some made me think of old hurts, insecurities, letdowns, failures, and sometimes all the things I didn’t love about me. But some Wednesdays, told me to live.

Some Wednesdays reminded me that I am a story as well. A story that is being written and looked for and story doesn’t happen unless we go looking for it. So each Wednesday, I went out and looked for it and those story hunting times suddenly grew beyond just Wednesdays.

Story suddenly happened when I stepped on a plane and headed to San Francisco alone.  In one day, I walked 23 miles in old thrift store leather horse boots across the Golden Gate Bridge, through Delores park, Chinatown, record shops, up every Lumbard street step, wharfs, bike rides, coffee shops, free scones from friendly strangers, and back to the Golden Gate Park. Story happened when along the way I began to talk to strangers in coffee shops, ended up on sailboats with local students, got stuck with invalid transit tickets and walked so far to get back home my toes were bleeding. But, man do I have stories to tell there.

Story happens in solo Europe trips discovering beyond your American self, heading out to the desert for meteor showers or maybe heading out just to find the trails where can no longer get lost in the city.

22 and Wednesdays, it taught me to live.

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