“Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it.” 

Last night the storm was terrific. The rain pelted the windows and the wind roared, the old freight train roar. I watched out the window for a while then went to bed. The dogs and I slept soundly. This morning dawned cloudy, but about 11 the sun broke through, and the wind disappeared. My deck and front yard were cleared of leaves yesterday, a wasted effort as both are again covered in red and browned oak leaves. I keep saying I’ll close the deck. It’s like my looking at the clothes basket in the hall and saying I’ll do the laundry which I don’t.

When I was a kid, I didn’t ever mind being by myself on my excursions. I’d ride my bike all over. I’d stop and watch the trains or hunt for golf balls across the street from the course. I’d stop at the town barn and check out the horses. Beside the town hall I’d sit on a bench and eat my lunch. It was always a bologna sandwich with yellow mustard and some cookies, Oreos if any were left or it was the Saturday after my mother food shopped. In my house, Oreos disappeared so only the quick of hand got any. My excursions usually ended in the late afternoon.

Even now I don’t mind traveling by myself. I do like a companion but not having one doesn’t stop me. I think the only difference is my nights end early. My first trip alone was to Ghana, but that was easy. I was going home. I wandered around Accra, found some great places to eat and met a few new people at the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps Ghana at the swearing in of new volunteers. I ate local food, my kelewele and jollof rice as often as I could. I rented a car and driver and travelled north to Bolga. That’s where I figured I’d find former students, but they found me. It was a trip filled with joy that salved my longing, my forty years of longing for Ghana.

I went back to Ghana the next year.

My solo trip after that was to Morocco. I stayed in a riad, an old house converted for guests. I wandered all over Marrakech with a guidebook for directions. I was busy every day. For dinner I mostly ate in the square where every night they set up tables around grills. I never ate in the same place twice. I rented a car and driver and went into the mountains. I rode in a horse and carriage around the city. I even took a cooking lesson. I shopped in medinas and haggled. That was one of my favorite ever trips.

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