When you’re single and you love to travel, you pretty much have three options.
1) Wait: to find people to travel with – usually going where they want to go or worse, go with a tour group of chatty, dull, fanny pack wearers.
2) Never go anywhere.
3) Travel alone.
When presented with these options, I choose number 3. So I travel alone a lot. It took a while to get the nerve to travel alone. And though I still dread it a little, I have never gone on my own and regretted it.
I dated a freshly divorced guy last year and I told him that I was driving across Utah by myself to hike all the awesome National Parks. He was amazed. He said, “What about when you see something totally cool? You have to have someone next to you to slap and say, ‘Isn’t that totally cool?” And I curse him every time I am traveling alone now and see something totally cool and think of that.
But the truth is – you don’t. Is it nice to have someone to slap? Sure. Am I not going to go see totally cool things because of that? Hell no. Take a picture. Post it on Facebook and say, “Isn’t that totally cool?”
But the reality is I am never truly alone. I love to drive. So when driving around new places alone, it helps to have GPS. The voice I have chosen on my GPS is a man with an Australian accent. His name is Ellis (I didn’t name him, Garmin did). I picture him as a cross between the rugged manliness of Russell Crowe with the sensitivity and dimples (and six pack) of Alex O’Loughlin from Hawaii 5-0. We vacation together often. He is an excellent travel companion. He never raises his voice or has to stop to pee. We like the same radio stations. He always wants to go exactly where I am going.
Not to say we don’t have our problems. We have had our arguments. Who can forget the trip from Durango to Santa Fe when he INSISTED that we take the main highway to Albuquerque and back track to Santa Fe? And no matter how many times I tried to go another way he kept bringing me back to the highway. He may not take a tone with me or use adult language, but we both know what he really means when he says, “Recalculating.” We almost went into couples counseling after that trip.
Recently on a trip to Hawaii, I thought Ellis died. One night the device went off and would not turn back on. I was panicked. I felt lost and truly alone, my future as black as his screen. It was dark and raining and I had just gotten to this part of the island had no idea where I was. And I thought, “How did I become so dependent on this invisible man?” I’ve had decade long relationships that were less co-dependent.
But I held the “on” button for a long time and he came back to me. So we are together again. And until I have someone with me that I want to slap, Ellis and I do just fine.