I spent part of last week’s trip to Melbourne roaming the city streets alone. I was not lonely; I enjoyed the solitude. I felt, as I walked, solid, curious and aware.
Melbourne was practice for next year’s trip to Europe. Dare I walk the streets of Paris alone? Dare I broach Rome? Time will tell.
The anxiety I have lately suffered dissolved, for a time, in Melbourne. I was obliged by my lack of acquaintance with the city to draw on my strength and renew my frayed resilience. People say that will happen when you step outside your comfort zone, but I wasn’t really that far out of it. I was where the populace spoke my language; the traffic codes, the food, the images were all culturally familiar.
Did I feel strong because I had only myself to depend on, because I had no one else to consider, because the only needs I had to meet were my own?
When my companion joined me I saw Melbourne from another person’s perspective. I walked now familiar streets overlaid with stories of his past. I listened and I enjoyed, but there were moments when I regretted my lost solitude.
Strength is found when you walk, look, listen and when you share.