Sunday, June 12, 2016

Out On my Own

When I was planning my trip to Berlin for this research, over and over I was asked, "Is Michael coming with you?" Now, this is a logical question. We are married. I would be gone for several weeks. But somehow the question always took me by surprise. When I answered, "No, he's not," most people were shocked and responded with gasps and exclamations of, "Really?!," "Aren't you scared?!," or "You're going to be so lonely!" This is troubling and kind of problematic to me. Although, yes, I have been so dependent on Michael as a source of comfort, love, and care for years as my best friend, my boyfriend, my fiance, and my husband, I've still always considered myself pretty independent. This isn't to say, "Oh, I don't need him." It's just to say, well, I consider myself to be very capable on my own. I've dealt with a lot in life, and while it's extremely comforting to have someone going through life by my side now, I still don't want to lose sight of myself as a strong and capable woman.

Anyways, I would have liked to have Michael come along, to be honest. He's my best friend and my husband; obviously I enjoy his company. But first, I thought I'd barely be able to afford to go on my own and was hoping for just enough funding to get by. Once I realized that a lot of different funding sources wanted to offer me funding and figured that I would definitely be able to afford my own trip, I thought that maybe we could swing it to buy him a plane ticket so he could come too. But, by that point, I was only a couple weeks out from my departure date, and it was a little late to start the process to get him a passport (which I didn't think about until then). Part of me was pretty disappointed that I'd be away from him for seven weeks, but part of me was excited to solo travel.

Once I got here, it was a different story though. The first few days were extremely rough. I cried. A lot. I felt like 50 days solo abroad was going to be impossible. I was scared, lonely, and overwhelmed. I don't know when exactly things started changing for me; it happened kind of slowly I guess. I read a quotation that said something like, "Traveling alone allows you to enjoy your own company," and I realized that I didn't much like my own company. So at that point, maybe about one week into my trip, I decided that a sort of sub-project during my time here would be to figure out how to enjoy my own company, to work on myself.

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