Back in the fall of 2017, I took off on my family for a few days to do some solo travel and went to the most bizarre places. I visited places my kids would never go to with me – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with a side excursion north of Prince Albert, and Edmonton, Alberta. Neither place I had ever been too before unless driving through with my parents as a teenager counted. And in a surprising for me twist, they’re not exactly balmy or somewhere I’d ever choose to vacation in. I wanted to find the aurora borealis! The northern lights have been on my “bucket list” for as long as I can remember. Also, I wanted to catch up with my cousin, whom I never get to see because she lives all the way out there and I’m in Toronto.
More truthfully, I felt like I needed some space, space from arguing kids, space from tension with my spouse, space from a messy house that is almost finished renovations, space from my over extended work life. I needed an adventure and I certainly was not finding it where I was, no matter how hard I searched inside. I really think Mom should get away and travel solo at least once a year.
It doesn’t make me a bad person or a terrible parent for leaving for a few days and recharging my batteries. I’m also not a stranger to travels without my kids. I found a couple days in my schedule and I booked it. And left.
I needed an adventure and here’s why Mom should get away and travel solo once a year:
1.) We need to go away to be missed. Sounds shallow, right? What child wouldn’t miss their parent? For real, get away for a couple days and they figure out exactly what it is you do. You’re not just the snack getter or milk pourer. You’re the nurturer, the bedtime story reader, the boo boo kisser, the hugger, the pant leg fixer, the morning alarm clock, the afternoon comfort.. get where I am going here? When you come back from being away on a trip, they show you how much they have missed you. And honestly, how much you missed them.
2.) You get to read that book you’ve held off on for months. You need time to think about your place in life, where you are, how you got there and what your trajectory is going to be in the next few years. There is solo time to browse Facebook on your phone UNINTERRUPTED, or only if you allow interruptions.
3.) SLEEP… Who doesn’t need some zzzz’s without your children or your spouse around? Spoiler, I starfished hard one night – on a king size bed, closed my eyes and didn’t stir for a good 7.5 hours. Amazing! I could not remember the last time I had the opportunity to do that. It’s not likely you can ever do that at home with the kids. Someone is always waking up for stories, snacks, water or worse – someone has peed the bed and you have to change sheets, mattress pad and start a load of laundry at 4:00am.
4.) Meet new people! Have conversations you would not normally have! Hey – why not? On my flights, I sat beside a construction worker, a border security specialist and a federal judge. All of our conversations were amazing. These were people I never would have met otherwise as we never would have crossed paths. I exchanged business cards with two of them as we discussed ways in which our paths possibly would cross again in a professional type manner. Never would have met them and conversed with them if I had not travelled solo.
5.) See somewhere new that only you would appreciate! You interests could differ greatly from your family AND THAT IS OKAY! Your kids don’t want to stop at that historical site on the highway? No one else wants to see a log cabin that an important figure of the past built? You’re the only one who wants to eat at that burger joint in an old railway car? You get to do it without them and without quarrel! Want to scope out a library and touch old hardcovers on the shelve? YES! Travel on!
6.) Catch up on conversation with old friends and family members without being interrupted a zillion times! It’s so hard to talk and catch up when you have to stop to get for snacks, wipe pooh pooh, tie shoe laces, referee sibling rivalry. Any parent would get it, right? How many times have you been to brunch with an old friends, had to bring your child (or children) and well, there wasn’t much opportunity for meaningful conversation? Good old conversation, how I’ve missed you.
7.) Remember who you are. YOU! Yes, not just someone’s mom or wife. Before you held that identify, you had interests, hobbies, things you likes to read and watch. Take some time to rediscover what fills your bucket and then fill it!
8.) Airport time is a breeze with just your carry on bag and your online check in complete! Travel hands free, no stuffies or extraneous bags with granola bars in hand. Oh and on the plane – you can watch whatever movie you like. That’s right, because you’re not referring an argument between your kids. Or between you and your spouse or your spouse and the kids or between you and the kids.
Convinced to travel solo yet?
And I have not convinced you yet, I’m not sure how I can convince you any further? I suppose if I was a spa and hard core self-care gal, this would be what it’s all about. For me, this particular trip was mental, not about getting pampered. Because I am a woman and I was heading off on my own, I had done a little bit of research about where I was going and what to expect. I knew I would be safe and return home to my family refreshed and with another excuse to head back on my own again next year; I still haven’t found the northern lights. The aurora borealis are still on that bucket list.