poetry, prose, and image by Brittney S Holland

Friday, September 23, 2011

On Flying Solo

Traveling alone isn’t something I mind. Perhaps my solitary youth prepared me for such. Perhaps my marriage to one who’s “all about the destination” when I’m “all about the journey” has left me no other choice.

Either way, traveling alone affords me the freedom to linger when something moves me, to recognize God in the smallest details, to pause and listen when He speaks.

My first solo flight was to Puerto Rico, to Santurce and Old San Juan. I stayed two weeks for a writer’s workshop, attending sessions a couple hours per day. I spent the rest of my time mostly alone, wandering and writing.

I have visited New York City and Washington DC sans ami.

Rome, however, is my greatest solo flight. This time I loaded my iPhone with an Italian language app and an interactive GPS. I spent four glorious days by myself. (I would have stayed longer, were it not for my work schedule and my wallet.)

Unless addressed in English, I tried to communicate in Italian. Other than my transports to and from the airport, I walked everywhere I went.

I visited The Vatican, where I went to confession and attended Mass.

I visited The Sistine Chapel and The Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevera.

I ate at street side bistros and drank wine with both lunch and dinner. I attempted small talk with my waiters and met a wonderful trio from England.

At every turn, I tried my best to blend in.

I must have met some degree of success, because one gentleman seemed surprised that I am American and said he had me pegged for a German.

That evening, I ordered my entire meal, chatted with my waiter, and paid my bill entirely in Italian (broken Italian, but still Italian).

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