A Tale of Two Travelers

Today I am back with BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel Project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Today's topic is an appropriate one given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: Family.

For the first half dozen years of my adult life, I was the quintessential bachelor. I did what I wanted, when I wanted it, and this also applied to my life in travel. If I found a great deal on a hotel, or if there was a hot new restaurant I wanted to try, I had no problem going alone and loved every minute of it. As time went on, I actually started to prefer visiting places alone, and was ready to dive into the world of solo travel abroad. And then I met a chick for coffee...

Wandering London Alone...Photo Thanks to a Random Passer-by

I knew right off that this wasn't just any girl, but after dating for a couple months I was presented with a problem. I had planned my first solo trip abroad for the coming January, and suddenly the idea of going to Europe alone was far less appealing. Not to mention that, while I was still rather dense in the art of being in a relationship, I was smart enough to know that "Hey I'm going to Europe, I'll see you in a couple weeks" didn't rank high on my list of pending conversations. The solution to my problem was clear...this trip to Europe wouldn't be solo after all.

Our adventure to Paris and Barcelona was fantastic, but also a learning experience. All of my previous trips had been with dudes, so adjusting to travel with a chick was a new experience. More than anything, however, I had to get back in touch with the concept of we instead of I when deciding where to go and what to see. In the end, with the exception of a brief spat in Barca where I was grumpy, the trip was a great experience, and our relationship had passed an important test....we could travel together. 
Thankfully, She Passed the Travel Test...
Six years later, that chick is now my wife, and I have lost touch with that guy that used to love going places alone. Take last weekend as the perfect example. The wife was out of town visiting family, and I was invited by a buddy to a hockey game down in Tampa. I decided to make an evening of it and stay the night at the Sheraton Riverwalk. I had big plans for my bachelor evening at the hotel. Room service after the game, the breakfast buffet the next morning, and of course, a king-size bed all to myself...I was going to do it all. In the end however, it was all a complete bust. Ordering room service in a giant suite all by myself was just an utterly lonely experience, and I was left wondering how I ever did it.

Family it seems has changed not only who I am as a person, but as a traveler as well. There was a time when the idea of a family was a completely foreign concept, but six years after meeting that chick for coffee, the idea of jetting off to Europe alone seems equally unfamiliar. I'm sure the old bachelor inside me got a laugh out of my misery last weekend, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here