I had just escaped for a few days on a mid-winter getaway. As I sat at the hotel bar on the first evening, I chatted with a couple from Australia. It didn’t take long before our conversation was joined by the bartender and a Connecticut man, as we all exchanged stories of where we grew up and places we traveled.
I hardly noticed that the woman from Australia had stepped away to take a call. When she returned, there was a look on her face that immediately darkened the mood. She whispered to her husband and began to weep. He shared, “Her favorite aunt just died.” There was an immediate silence. Then the bartender spoke. “ I understand your pain, I lost my fiancee just a year ago.” The Connecticut man bowed his head and told us he had just lost his mom to cancer. A server overheard the conversation and spoke about losing his sister. There I sat beside them knowing I too had my stories of loss. As I listened to these people reveal the pain they had each been carrying, I thought about how we never really escape grief. It doesn’t matter how far we travel. It will always be part of who we are. People ask me all the time, “How do you travel alone?” My former response used to be, “ I don’t really have a choice.” But the more that I think about it, I am choosing. I have learned that tomorrow is not guaranteed. So today, I choose to see the world, meet new people in my travels, bask in the warm rays of the sun, run on the beach at sunrise, drink coffee while listening to the sound of the ocean and carry my grief with me on my journeys.