My kids are so delicious I could eat their faces on a regular basis. Yes, they are a lot of work (← understatement of the century), but I dig them. I really do. Something that helps me maintain that feeling over a decade-plus of cleaning DNA off of surfaces that DNA absolutely should not be on, assisting in mandatory school projects I’m not told about until 10 PM the night before they’re due, and attending birthday parties in painfully loud places, is the fact that I make a point to travel alone every year to recharge. Yep, you read that right: I travel alone every year. Here’s why I do it.
- Whether my trip’s goal is to challenge my mind or body, relish in the laughter of naughty old friends, or seek Zen in complete solitude, I’m doing something for myself and that is hugely important to prioritize.
- New accents greeting me at hotels make me smile. They just do. And since I’m alone, the people who have them are always willing to chat me up for a while, usually revealing really interesting stories or giving me insider scoop to the area I’m visiting.
- I can bring a lot more of my adventure gear (hiking boots, snorkel, DSLR camera) with me when my suitcase isn’t filled up with a two-foot-long stuffed bunny my daughter simply CANNOT be away from overnight.
- Peeing alone is something all mums should experience.
- So is peeing at a luxury spa on a bidet with more buttons than an elevator in an aloe-scented bathroom, then having a friendly lady hand you a warm towel to dry your hands with when you’re done washing them afterwards.
- Being physically removed from a place where there is always something that needs to be done—errands, laundry, answering the question “Why, Mama?” twenty times an hour—forces me into a relaxation I forgot even exists.
- Two words: Maid. Service.
- With no one to depend on (other than Siri and my Uber drivers, of course), I remember how empowering—and fun—it is to be the one in control of every decision about what to do each day.
- Wine tastes so much better when no one has dropped an action figure in it to see if he can swim and when it’s actually a margarita because my husband is the one who prefers to order wine with dinner and it’s my time now so I’ll take sugar on the rim and two limes, please!
- Diving into fresh white bedding—like the glorious nocturnal nests at Hilton Garden Inns—and dreaming actual dreams at night rather than lying awake with a tiny elbow in my jugular fantasizing about getting my toddler to sleep in her own bed for once is divine.
- Waking up when my body is ready to wake up rather than when someone tackle-hugs me at dawn because she missed me while she slept all night can be quite refreshing. So is staying in bed to read two books a day, uninterrupted, not having to worry about anyone picking them up and accidentally seeing the swear words in them.
- As someone who constantly reminds people big and small to share, it’s wonderful to have to not share a single thing for a few days. Not my new shampoo, or my spot at the window atop a skyscraper looking out across the city, or my footpath gelato, or the TV remote. Oh, sweet glorious angels singing on high: I GET FULL CONTROL OF THE REMOTE.
- As I find my way around parts of new cities I never knew existed, I also find little parts of myself I never knew existed. Sure, sometimes that part of myself gets talked into buying something beautiful that I end up never wearing once I’m back home, but I still love spending time with her.
- People-watching from my solo table at the edge of a new restaurant is better than any soap opera ever invented. So is ordering dessert before my meal.
- After a little time, the peace and quiet gets to be too much and I start craving the madness back home, proving that that is where my heart is. Always.
image: Kim Bongiorno