I am sitting in the lounge at the Lagos International Airport waiting on the flight that will start me on my big girl adventure: A 10 day trip to Mauritius and Cape Town – All by myself. I packed for this trip with a mixture of feelings. On one hand, I was excited. Look at me! Going on my first vacation alone! I have gotten to the point where I can take myself to an island off the coast of Madagascar and then hang out in the southern part of the African continent. This is wilder than my wildest dreams. But on the other hand, I was a little sad: Look at me! Going on my first vacation ALONE. I never dreamed I would be 31 and forced to go on vacation by myself.
A financial accomplishment but a personal failure, of sorts.
And honestly, I’m scared that this will be the first of many vacations that I’ll be taking by myself…because all of my married girlfriends will be too busy working or taking care of their families. I’ll be the eccentric but fabulous, continent-crossing, no-husband-having auntie who wears peasant shirts, Birkenstock sandals, an armful of bangles and dreads down my back. (Me! Own a pair of Birkenstock sandals? God Forbid!) I’ll bring my god-children gifts from all over the world like gold medallions from Bali, hand-woven fabrics from Ghana and fertility sculptures from some rainforest in Ecuador. They will look at me like, “what am I going to do with these?” I’ll leave behind an array of lovers half my age in all colors of the rainbow and when I finally do come back to the States, I’ll sit around in my girlfriend’s kitchens telling bawdy stories about being drunk and dirty dancing on a bar in Marrakesh. My girlfriends will laugh and say, wow, your life is so exciting while they whisper behind my back about how scandalous I am. They will take solace in kissing their children’s foreheads while they sleep and laying in the crook of their husband’s arms.
So needless to say, I’m apprehensive. I’ve successfully crossed the first hurdle of living internationally. Now, my first vacation by myself. Well, at least I can say that I surely have lived.