This past week I've been in Vancouver, BC for a Yin Yoga training. It's the first time in a long time that I'd been by myself for more than a day or two. It's been luxurious and challenging at the same time. Most people think I am pretty outgoing, and I am, but I'm also a person who needs a lot of alone time and I'm very shy in new situations.
This week by myself has given me a lot of alone time that I need (and don't get enough of on a daily basis.) But it has also challenged me because my shy, introverted self has been in unfamiliar surroundings with no partner, friend, or family to bolster me into bravery. To make matters worse, I've been without cellular service so I haven't been able to use my phone as a social prop or for navigation in a new city.
I've eaten all of my meals alone, asked for directions to every place I've wanted to go, alone, studied alone, woken up alone, gone to sleep alone. Now, at the end of this week I am done with alone. Yesterday, I took a walk, alone. I am notoriously horrible with directions so I definitely geared myself up for this independent adventure. My daughter regularly asks if we are lost, even when Siri is telling me which left or right to make. On this walk, in a new city, alone, I had no Siri, no navigation, no map. Just me.
As I walked, I noted where the water was so I could use it as frame of reference. I paid attention to different buildings, pieces of art, notable gardens. I had no phone, no clock, so I just walked until I had to pee really badly and then I turned around. Being without the familiar crutch of my phone to tell me where to go or my partner to reassure me that we weren't getting lost, made me use my own senses more- to notice where I was walking visually, to feel what direction made sense in my own body.
The whole experience of being alone and fending for myself made me realize that that way of life isn't sustainable for me. I am not an island. I like to be alone sometimes but I definitely don't want to exist permanently in that state. It also gave me a opportunity to push myself in ways that shed light on my own strengths and abilities which so often lay dormant.
Another great part about this extended alone time is how excited I am to go home. I still have to get to the airport, find my gate, eat a few more meals--alone. But then I get to go home to my family and friends and bed and porch and cell service and face lotion. There's no place like home.