I remember driving through New Hampshire one day; I think it was October, the leaves were colorful, the weather was beautiful, and we were on our way to another weekend adventure. He was driving, and I was staring longingly out the window, in awe of how amazing the mountains looked as the road curved us around them.
“It is so beautiful here. The mountains are perfect. I love this drive.”
“If you love this, you’ll love Colorado. I can’t wait to drive you through those mountains. You will be so happy.”
We never made it to Colorado, and he ended up taking that cross country trip out west without me about 2 months after he left me.
“I need to get away.” I texted her. “I need to get out of Maine and I need the mountains and I need some girl time.”
“I’ve got a bed and a car if you can get on a plane I’m free February break!”
Within 24 hours I had booked my tickets for February break to go visit a friend (who, mind you, I had never actually met in person) in Colorado.
We went to the same high school, we had a few mutual friends, and we were social media acquaintances. She would like and comment on my adventures, and I on hers. We had always felt that we were the same spirited person, and we always knew one day we’d venture somewhere together.
I knew Colorado was a place I wanted to see, and I almost felt like I had to go. I had to prove to myself that I didn’t need him to take me there. He wasn’t the source of my thirst for a weekend away creating adventures wherever I could, but he showed me that I had that thirst and I had to show myself that I could quench it on my own.
I hesitated for a minute, I was never good at spontaneity; though I have to admit, that was another good thing that came from the relationship I had with him. He never hesitated a moment that involved adventure, and it’s what brought us to so many places and what called us to do so many cool things.
My moment of hesitation quickly passed when I remembered all of the money I had dropped on plane rides to North Carolina and all the gas I used driving to and from the Cape every week for 2 summers. I had so easily and quickly spent the money on that, I knew I needed to spend this money on myself.
February break came and I boarded that plane solo heading across time zones to meet my new friend and fulfill a beautiful memory I had not yet made. I was excited and nervous, but it felt so freeing. I was doing it, and I was doing it for me- by myself.
He was right, like I knew he’d be. I loved those mountains. They were incredible. But what made them even better was that I saw them in the passenger seat of a vehicle I’ve never known, with a friend I had just met, and a new love in my heart.
“Here, let me take a cool picture of you right here” she said.
Girls just “get it”. We all love a good photograph of us in pretty places.
“I hope you’re having a fantastic time! I can’t wait to see you and hear all about it when you get back!” the text read from the new love. He had no idea what he was supporting, he had only just come in to my life a few weeks before hand, but he had already made me believe that the life I would continue with him when I returned would be full of that squeeze-your-hand-so-tight-so-you-know-I-care feeling.
When the time came to go back to Maine, I felt ready. Like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe, without feeling like such a huge part of my life was gone. We all lose things when a relationship ends; and I was so scared that my opportunities to adventure were gone. I knew I could still hike, and paddle board, and visit the ocean- but I proved to myself that I could do the bigger things, too- like get on a plane, fly to a new place, and explore unknown territory with people I’ve only just met. I’m not a huge fan of solo-traveling, simply because I believe that the best adventures and experiences are shared, but now I know I can do it, and that is something I truly needed.