Sunset photo taken by Rachel Stewart at Papamoa Beach.

My Own Alone Space

Posted on Posted in Reflections on Life

 I’m on a bus. Alone. The seat beside me is empty, save for a sandwich, a bottle of water, and my Kindle. It feels empty without Rob beside me, his long legs askew and his hand on my thigh. It also feels undeniably spacious. And that’s the theme I’m exploring this week: space.

I’m heading to a peninsula jutting into the cold Pacific waters off New Zealand’s North Island. Rob is flying to American Samoa to visit a buddy from his Peace Corps days. I didn’t want to go for a number of reasons: money, travel time, the fact that we just left a very similar setting. But the main reason was to create some space.

I love Rob more than most things on this planet. I love him even more fiercely after our travels together. But we haven’t spent more than 24 hours apart in the past year. Hell, it’s rare that we spend more than two hours away from each other. As independent, self-sufficient people, that’s kinda weird. And sometimes unsettling – what if we become too dependent on the other to spend time apart?

Solo explorations infuse our relationship with new energy, and give us the freedom to disengage from the sometimes too-comfortable couple circle we present to the rest of the world. It’s hard to break into a circle, so the space inside can get stagnant. We do better together when we take a little time to explore the world alone. Separately. Individually.

Being alone provides a completely different space for my thoughts and my body. I move differently, am more observant, more quiet, more spontaneous. I can eat what I want, when I want. I can read all day or write all night. The space I usually allot to Rob is waiting, beckoning, a blank slate to fill as I’d like.

This last year is the longest I’ve gone without an “alone time” trip of my own. During our relationship, I’ve spent at least one hundred nights away from Rob — for work, for fun, for me. For us. All of these trips created a different energy in the space vacated by my husband. It’s always a pleasure to see what wiggles into that space when I’m alone. Sometimes it’s chaos, sometimes it’s peace. It’s always enlightening.

Today, I’m on a bus alone. I’m going on an adventure to see what I can find. I’m following my feet wherever they take me, knowing that – in the end – they will take me back to Rob, where we will reunite to share our stories, our space, ourselves.

Sunset photo taken by Rachel Stewart at Papamoa Beach.
Photo taken by Rachel Stewart at Papamoa Beach.
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4 thoughts on “My Own Alone Space

  1. This design is spectacular! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to
    start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  2. How refreshing to hear this message! I recently had the opportunity to travel to India with my mom – but my husband could not make it. We have an awesome enough dynamic so we were both comfortable with me making this trek – some of which was solo. Once the trip was booked, I was surprised to realize that I had very rarely traveled without him! Even more, I realized how much I relied on him on our international treks and that I was feeling nervous to travel internationally without him. I was shocked to realize this about myself as I pride myself in being an independent person. It is so easy to become overly reliant on another without any awareness of it. It was also interesting to observe others reactions of this trip – many were puzzled by it. I am happy to say it was a fantastic trek that involved many life lessons being learned. I am looking forward to seeing more of your adventures, thanks for posting!

    http://www.KaylinLydia.com

  3. You put this so beautifully — especially the anticipation of reuniting with new stories to tell, new memories to share.

    We did long distance for 3 year and we’ve been cruising 6 months/year for 3 years, and while both have ups & downs, I wouldn’t trade our 24/7 life together for anything… but that said, sometimes it’s nice to reunite in an airport, hearts full of happiness and renewed appreciation for the other 🙂

    Happy sailing!

    Leah
    http://www.withbrio.com

  4. I think one of the reasons Don and I have lasted 33 years is because we have “alone time.” He fishes – something I once considered taking up, but decided against so that he could have something that was “his.” I quilt, or read, or watch TV when we go out in our RV, and when we’re home, I quilt or substitute while he either fishes or works around the house. I hope you enjoyed your visit to North Island. New Zealand is on our bucket list.

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