Ever been on a trip and spent it wondering what the fuck you were doing?
Just me then.
It’s normal for me to have a wobbly before I head off. Weirdly, it didn’t happen on his occasion. I’d done my research, booked my flights, buses and and quality accommodation (no more cheekends á la Cologne for me!), lost the weight I desperately wanted rid of, had my clothes all figured out, packed my bag, tidied the house, told the cat I was going to play out in the sunshine a long way away and have some yummy dinners but that I’d be back soon to give her a big, fat cuddle. I even had half an hour to spare before I had to head off.
There were no major dramas on the way to the airport. An okay overnight stay, no panics in the terminal and the flight was on time. My aisle seat was comfy, my neighbours non-annoying, the landing was fine. Okay, I had a little waiting time at arrivals for my car to my accommodation – but nay biggie. The lovely lady whose studio I’m staying in was there to meet me and I can’t fault the accommodation (apart from the fridge which decided to deposit a large amount of water all over the kitchen floor) which is right in the heart of the old town. This is my glorious view.
I’m in Kotor in Montenegro. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to (praise indeed since the places I’ve been to are now stacking up!). It’s glorious – I’ve left behind Storm Ali in the UK for blue skies, beautiful scenery, bobbing boats and balmy evenings.
It sounds like a fairytale, right?
And it is.
Only I’ve been here 36 hours and I’ve spent the entire time feeling REALLY FUCKING HORRIBLY ANXIOUS AND MISERABLE.
Trying to signal a struggle to someone at home the reply reads, “Don’t stress. You can sort it all when you get home. Focus on the trip.”
Well meaning. But how to tell that person that it’s actually the trip that’s causing the stress?
And why? What’s the problem?
Me. I’m the problem.
What am I doing?
I’ve been looking around here the past day or so and there is no one like me here. And I know that you should never compare yourself to anyone else but how can I not?
Everyone here my age is with someone.
The only solo women here are half my age, half my size, twice as confident and twice as beautiful.
And so the self-questioning starts.
What the fuck is this fat, ugly, doughy dumpling doing wandering around Montenegro on her own?
What do I think I’m doing?
And what do I hope to achieve?
I’ve always said that what I do isn’t bravery.
Because it isn’t about being brave; it never has been.
But I’m starting to think that it’s actually stupidity.
Total, fucking lunacy.
So I’ve decided.
I’m going to give it up.
I have one trip left and then that’s that.
It’s time to retire.
Time to sit at home with my knitting and my cat on my knee, staring at the wall and hoping for the best.
My love affair is over.
I can’t do this any more.
No more solo travel.