If I were single, I don’t know that I would ever travel.
I rather like doing things alone. I’ll happily eat in a restaurant or go to a movie solo. I’ve done any number of road trips by myself. It’s terrific to be out in the world with no cares.
But get on a plane and visit a distant place? I’m not drawn in. First of all, since September 11 I’ve come to dislike flying. The increasing security theater at airports, and the declining service and comfort on airplanes, has ruined it for me. Also, big trips are expensive and I’m just not likely to spend that kind of money solely on myself. Finally, even though I like being alone, the idea of being alone in a foreign country just sounds lonely to me. There’s nothing so compelling to me elsewhere in the world that I’m willing to deal with the hassle, expense, and isolation of going there to see it.
It’s not like I had that kind of money anyway as a single dad raising my kids and putting them through college. But those days are gone and I have the means to travel now.
I seriously considered remaining single. I liked a lot about my single life. It was peaceful, and that peace was worth a great deal to me. You might not see it given that my blog is all about the things I do and the places I go, but I’m a homebody. I had my home set up exactly as I wanted it. I have my own aesthetic and I like tidy surroundings, and I was able to tailor my home accordingly. Going home was like entering sanctuary, and I was extremely happy there.
On the other hand, doing all of the home maintenance and keeping my garden felt empty somehow because it wasn’t part of caring for anyone else. I regularly questioned why I was doing all that work when only I was there to appreciate it. Also, despite my loner nature I missed having a regular companion. When I have a partner I’m not the type to be joined at the hip with them. But it’s just so much more fulfilling to share life and fun together.
That’s why, as my kids were nearing high-school graduation, I started dating again. I hoped to find a good companion. I wasn’t having any luck meeting people out in the world, so I turned to online dating. I hated it. After a couple years I decided to give up. I was matched with Margaret at the very last minute — my account was set to expire in a few days.
Margaret is an excellent companion. I have had a whole lot more fun doing things with her than I would have had I remained single. She’s also a good woman and we both love each other very much.
I did trade some things away for this companionship, though. I’m back in the world of helping young adult children to launch. I didn’t expect that we’d still be doing it at this point, and frankly I was glad to be done with it when my sons became independent adults. Also, things around my house are not all exactly as I’d like them to be. My wife has her own aesthetic and way of running a house and ours don’t always line up!
However, caring for Margaret and my whole new family gives my life meaning that it could not achieve while I was single. It’s not that my single life was meaningless, just that my married life is so much more meaningful.
My mother died with some regrets over the man she chose as her husband. He had good qualities — he was stable and provided for his family, and he loved us. But he also had a selfish streak, in that he would almost never do something that didn’t interest him. Mom would have liked to share more life experiences with him, but Dad wasn’t interested and just stayed home. Mom would have liked to have been taken out for dinner and drinks sometimes, and to take a few vacations to see places she’d always dreamed of. It was only after Dad died that she finally did a little traveling.
Margaret itches to travel, and has a long list places she’s dreamed about experiencing.
Number one on her list was Ireland, the country of her ancestors. It’s why we honeymooned there. She’d also like to see Italy and Spain, and the south of France, and Scotland, and Australia.
I still dislike flying, and spending the kind of money overseas trips cost. A loud voice in my head urges me to just stay home.
But we can afford to travel, and it fills my wife’s spirit so. We’re considering a trip to Italy next year, and she already has it mostly planned. It’s about all she can talk about.
So hell yes, we’re going to travel. It’s not like I don’t enjoy it when we are on the ground wherever we are. I experience beauty, pleasure, and fun I would never have otherwise.
I never knew I needed to visit Kylemore Abbey, this grand castle in the Connemara region of County Galway, Ireland. I remember the castle coming into view on a long path. My mind was boggled by the stunning view. It is a memory Margaret and I will share through our lives.