Thursday, June 05, 2008

Here I Go!

I leave for Turkey on Saturday night. This trip is finally here! Paul, the new guy, offered to drive me to Dulles. Above and beyond the call of duty! I am traveling alone, meeting the tour in Istanbul on Monday afternoon, so being seen off by a friendly face means a lot to me.

I have gotten so many different reactions when I tell people I am taking a 2-week vacation in Turkey. All of the people who have been there are elated, telling me what a great time I am going to have, it’s so beautiful, the people are so nice, the culture if fascinating, and all the rest. Then there are the people who pause for a couple of seconds trying to compute “Turkey” and “vacation.” They are genuinely curious and interested but I can tell that they don’t really get why a person would go to Turkey, like what is there to see.

And then the reactions when I reveal I am traveling alone, although I am meeting a tour group in Istanbul.

Jonathan: So are you traveling with friends or family?

Me: No, I am going by myself.

Jonathan: Oh, wow.

Me: I am meeting a tour group in Istanbul.

Jonathan: Do you know anyone on tour?

Me: No, not yet.

Jonathan: Pause

Jonathan: Wow, that’s quite an adventure. Maybe you will meet the love your life.


Well, no, that’s not what I am looking to do. He is very excited to hear about the trip, but he is part of that (huge) segment of society that needs to put people together.

I am not thrilled to be going alone, but I am not letting that stop me from going. Part of the reason is that Turkey is not a place many of my family or friends would want to travel to. And I could not travel well with some of my closest friends.

I am in fact dreading the 12 hour flight through Madrid. I don’t do well on long flights. And I am going to feel totally isolated. So I know that I have to go out of my way to make connections with people. My introverted personality will serve me well, but only up to a point. Then I need to interact with other humans, even if they are strangers.

And then I will meet the other people on the tour, many of whom will look at me, and any of the other solo travelers, with some trepidation. I get it all the time.

Hmm, she is friendly, smart, interesting, attractive. Yet she is alone. There must be something wrong.

So I will have to break into those groups of couples and not threaten any insecure wives whose husbands might speak to me.

I sometimes feel like a stay single to carry the flag. It’s okay to be alone and do things on your own. Our society is so marriage and family focused that single people are marginalized most of the time. If I ever get married I will feel like I am abandoning my brethren as I moved to the dark side.

Bon voyage! See you when I get back.