Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Confessions of a Traveling Mom

I have a confession to make: I went on an 8-day trip to the Alps. Without my son or husband. And I liked it.

Let me clarify/justify: It was a work trip, and I did almost cancel the trip when I figured out it was eight days long. I had agreed to go when I thought it was a six-day trip, and even that seemed long to me. The longest I'd been away from Sam in his 2-year, 3-month-life is five days, and that was hard. But eight days away, and so far away...I just didn't know if I could do it.

Yes, I missed him terribly, but I got into the groove of traveling by myself (until meeting up with the others, but even then, I was traveling more by myself than usual) and enjoyed the change of pace. The trip included running/hiking on the Trail du Mont Blanc which circumnavigates the Mont Blanc Massif, crossing over into Italy and Switzerland and then back into France.

There were a couple of hard days out there. One day, in particular, I thought I'd be hiking/running 10 miles and getting in a van. Due to logistical difficulties, I ended up having to hike/run 26 miles instead on a sore big toe and sore knee. But as we climbed into a storm atop the Col de la Seigne, crossing from the French to Italian border, I was pretty happy to be out there suffering. It'd been a long time since the whole purpose of a day was getting from point A to point B by foot, and that, I cherished.

Another highlight of the trip for me was sitting in cafe by myself in Chamonix for the better part of four hours. I alternated between working on my laptop, reading a book, writing in my journal, and...just sitting there listening to people speak French. I switched between Orangina, Perrier and coffee, after eating lunch. Just to have the time to think, or not, was fantastic.

Now back at home, a month later, I'm back in the swing of family life and juggling everything.and I really dig that, too. (Sam and I rode a little train in downtown Boulder this morning and had some lunch--a very pleasant couple of hours.)

I do feel a little guilty for having gone on that trip to the Alps, but Sam and Mark were totally fine, and I came back having a little more sense of self that I'd missed.

I do realize that I'm lucky to get opportunities to go on trips/adventures like this for work, and this was a big one. But even small outings -- a two-hour trail run, or going to do a race with a friend -- seem really valuable in maintaining life balance between being a mom, and everything else.

I do think adventures are always good, even when they're bad. This one just happened to be pretty darn good.