Returning to normality

It has been 3 weeks now since I returned from my first international Solo trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and I have experienced a real difference in terms of getting back to my ‘normal routine’ in comparison to holidays that I have taken with family/friends.

The most challenging part has been my re-interaction with others. After spending so much time in my own company and choosing how and when to engage with others, finding myself placed back into society where I have a variety of roles including Mother, Friend, Colleague and Worker, I have felt the demands that all of these roles have on my attention and I have struggled!

As in other challenging times in my past I resort to my ‘survival guide’ which has proved to work marvellously on previous occasions. I avoid alcohol, I drink lots of water, I eat more fruit, I remind myself to be appreciative of the people that I have around me that make my existence a positive experience.  I make efforts to spend more time with those whose company I enjoy. I ride my bike, I walk, I climb a mountain. I also spend a ridiculously large amount of time ‘reframing’ daily situations and eventually normality resumes.

Unfortunately, before this happens I reach ‘breaking point’ after an incident at home involving sausage pasta (or should I say the lack of it)! I return from a bike ride sweaty, dressed in lycra donning a riding helmet and within minutes of being home, I find myself screaming like a ‘woman possessed.’ I am following ‘the youngest’ around the house demanding where has all the sausage pasta gone!! This is not my finest moment and unfortunately ‘the youngest’s’ girlfriend is exposed to the incident, I am not proud…………….

Once I have recovered and come to terms with the fact that in order for me to travel, I need to spend time in my normality (as this funds my travel). I settle back into my western routine, often reflecting on the wonderful experience that I have had. During this time, I am unable to accept that my time in Sri Lanka is done and so in true ‘mid-life crisis’ style, within two months of my return to the UK, I have booked flights back to Sri Lanka for August 2017, where I will visit for just under three weeks to take in its delights at a much slower pace.

Lots of people have asked me whether my first solo trip was what I thought it would be and the answer is…….no not at all.  My biggest concerns before I went were, what would I do with my time? Would I be safe? Would I be ok going out and dining on my own in the evening and the answers to all of these questions is……..If you can do these things at home then you can do them anywhere.

The same rules apply in terms of keeping safe, I follow my instincts, the same as I would when choosing somewhere to camp or heading off on a trek on my own.  I have never been concerned about going into Manchester and dining solo, or to sit in the sunshine with a glass of wine ‘people watching’ on a Saturday afternoon and I certainly don’t struggle to ‘fill my time’ when I am in my own company. I am able to enter a Zen like state which is wonderful.

The ability to be able to focus on nothing and nobody apart from yourself is a skill that is mastered, especially if you have raised a family where some days you don’t even know your name never mind what your needs are !

What I do find interesting is how differently I see myself when placed in environments where nobody knows anything about me.  Most of the time whilst I was away, nobody knew where I was or what my plans were for the day which made for a refreshing change and is a millions miles away from my western existence where pretty much every minute of every day  my movements are known by somebody.

There is an expectation as to, where I am going, what time will I be home, what will I be making for tea, which I appreciate are all part of normal family dynamics but given the opportunity to escape this for a while, it has highlighted just how restricting I can find this at times.

This experience has been wonderful, the destinations were fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed my own company, and on the odd occasion the company of others, and absolutely yes I cannot wait to do it again 😊

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