Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas solo woman traveler

From a jaali-enclosed room in the women's quarters at Amber Fort. The last 2 Christmases have been waypoints on my unexpected journey to singledom. While it would be nice to have a traveling companion to share the sensory overload and daily annoyances of life on the road, I don't. I'm doing just fine. When I feel lonely I give myself a little pep talk and back off the "must see everything" path for a bit.
In 2014, I spent Christmas in Shanghai, on break from my teaching in Tongling. Last year I was on a plane coming home from a family visit to Australia. I allowed them to enclose me in a big warm hug, which is what I needed at the end of the worst year in my life. This year, I'm exiting the fog of disappointment and regret, and I gave myself a trip to Jaipur. It's what I plan to do with my one fabulous life. My roll aboard suitcase will fly back with me to America next week with pretty much the same contents I brought. It's not stuffed with trinkets. For Christmas I give myself experiences not stuff. The location of this photo, from inside a palace where the maharaja many wives and concubines lived out their lives in purdah is so utterly ironic. I feel blessed that I live in a first world country where I don't have to follow such repressive rules, nor give a rat's about what the neighbors think. The Indians look at me curiously and enquire about my marital status. I take it for what it is: curiosity. They mean no harm. They're not judging. My life as a middle aged foreign woman traveling solo is totally beyond their imagination. India underlines the restrictions placed on women in so many countries of the world. Lucky for me I can happily visit for a while, but not need to stay in it.

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