One of the goals for Anita’s expedition to Europe is to test out the concept of solo travelling. By her going on her own, we finally address one of the challenges of retirement per the joke: “For better, for worse, but not for lunch.” We have been joined at the hip for six years of retirement. But there are some advantages for solo travelling, as I was confirming with experienced solo travelers in our Thursday Coffee and Conversation group, that meets in nearby Cuernavaca. When planning a trip, having to focus on consensus and compromise does not come free, in terms of individual needs and imperatives. This was especially true for this trip, and Anita had very personal reasons for making this trip, related to her Mom, who was German. And of the two of us, studying and practicing German for several months is a better investment for someone is studied German for 4 years. She is also learning the ropes of travelling in German, so she will be in great shape for assuming responsibility for planning and guiding what will be a series of trips for both of us to Germany and Austria.
Germans couples have a practice of taking separate vacations. It was hard to understand the advantages of this, with our American perspective. Well, we are finally getting some insights. For me, as the one staying back, I have rediscovered the great delight in reading correspondence from my better half. When I was the one deployed (aboard ship), the letters from Anita were jewels, that I would read and re-read countless times. One of the funny ironies is that I have this repeated dream of the two of us returning to young versions of ourselves. Well, when reading the facebook messages from Anita, it feels like it is 1980, again. Then I was the one on deployments from four to seven months, annually. onboard USS SAN DIEGO in the Mediterranean. Now the roles are reversed.
And the third benefit of solo vacations is that we divide fores, accomplishing two sets of goals, simultaneously. Except for me, it is a solo vacation in-place. I am accomplishing goals for supporting the family enterprise, here, that require my presence. And I am re-focusing my approaches to projects that I have been making very slow progress on. I am reminded of the advantage of a six year long distance relationship. Both of us were able to focus much better on college, and later, for me, on my work aboard ship, which was equivalent to three full-time jobs. But related to the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” point in the previous paragraph, every minute we had together was precious.
As I type my comments about my solo vacation “in-place,” my 2 year old grand-daughter, Zaha, asked me to help pull over a chair so she could show me some key items in her bag of sweets. In Mexico, there is a delight with combining spicy with sweet flavors, including candy. So she introduced me to a candy made from Tamarind and Chili. It reminds me of the mixture a beer cup or glass is dipped in and then filled with beer to make a “Michelada.” Mmmm. Anwyay, there is a reason Anita is more disposed to take a 3 month trip away, and I am less so. She spent a number of years as a stay home mom and home schooled our girls for several years. I, on the other hand, missed out on a lot of the moments of our kids growing up.