My first trip as a free woman was to Seattle and Vancouver. I had been to Seattle a number of times with D but never to Vancouver. My good friend B had been to Vancouver but never to Seattle. She had lots of air miles for free tickets and I had quite a few from my divorce settlement. If you are in the divorce process now or expect to be soon, be sure to check with your attorney about hotel and airline points. North Carolina is a 50/50 state so I was entitled to half the points D had accrued. I might not have known that had I not received a finance book from our financial advisor. There was a very helpful chapter in the book about women and divorce and how to navigate through it without losing your dignity or your shirt. I am forever indebted to MM for sending me the book. The most important lesson I learned from that chapter was that I must put away emotion when dealing with my financial security. I wasn’t always successful but I tried mightily.
Early October, 2009, B and I boarded the plane and headed out on our grand adventure. She is a seasoned world traveler and I, having worked for two different airline companies, have a bit of airport/travel experience too. We went to Seattle first and used ground transportation for the rest of the trip. Now that’s something D would never have done–use ground transportation. There’s much more control when you use a rental car. But B had done a thorough job of research on Seattle’s and Vancouver’s bus service so off we went. My two older daughters had made this same trip some years ago and didn’t rent a car; thus we were comfortable with this plan.
B and I shared hotel rooms and split all the costs. We got along very well and I have fond memories of the trip. I tried to teach her not to over plan our time and she tried to teach me to drink more wine. She was a wonderful tour guide. She has taken numerous groups of teenagers to Europe, especially France, and so she’s accustomed to planning for the best use of her time in whatever city she’s in. I like to learn about the places I’m going but I’m not particularly good at making a concrete plan. That made me a grateful and willing participant in her schedule. I jokingly told her that together we have one good brain.
I have asked myself several times why I chose to go to a city that D and I had been to so many times. It’s still a bit of a puzzle to me but I think it was the fact that I was a little scared of traveling without my former travel buddy and I wanted to have at least a little familiarity with the place. I avoided being terribly nostalgic about my former trips except on the plane ride home. I think the realization hit me that yes I would be taking all my future trips on my own. I rested my head against the window and allowed myself to accept the tears that rolled down my cheeks.
Next month I have another trip planned with a different friend. This one will be shorter. We will climb up to Mt. LeConte Lodge on the Tennessee side of the Great Smokeys. I hope I’m in shape for this.