Rethinking A Few Things

I spent last week in New York.  It was a work trip that had been planned for a while.  It wasn’t really good timing, and it wasn’t really a thing I wanted to do, really.   I thought perhaps that it might distract me from some things which will remain unsaid.   It was distracting, and it did put certain things out of my mind, but yet, the things that replaced those thoughts were perhaps not what I was expecting.

It wasn’t so long ago, visiting for another work trip at a different job entirely, that I thought that I could easily move to New York at any time.  In fact, I even envisioned myself going to NYU for grad school.  I didn’t even care what the field of study might be.  The point was that I would be living the student life, probably sharing an apartment in an exotic borough, like the Bronx.   I always thought of it as a sojourn.  I felt that I would spend a few years in The Big Apple, but eventually the Bay Area, specifically the East Bay, was where I would end up for good.  I have never felt that I belonged anywhere the way that I feel that I belong here at home.

As the years went by, it was a dream I sort of forgot about.  I knew I wouldn’t lay down permanent roots somewhere else, so I just settled into my roots here, and forgot about moving away.   I explored more of the world, even further outside of New York and the United States, and everywhere I’ve ever been, no matter how much I liked it, I always was happy to come home to California, to Oakland.  I am more Oakland or East Bay than anything else.

So, it didn’t surprise me very much to find myself not really digging New York.  I mean, strongly not digging.  I could not wait to get the heck out of there.  I didn’t want to listen to the endless honking, and I didn’t want to get bumped and jostled down the street.  I had no desire to squeeze myself onto an overpacked rush hour subway train.  I didn’t want to wear a hat, a hoodie, a coat, a scarf, and mittens. Every part of my body seemed to be screaming in protest to my surroundings.  And at the end of the day, I was so tired.

New York City is exhausting, and it wears my soul out.

When I finally got home, and walked to work on Monday, the sun was shining, I was wearing a light hoodie, no one bumped me as I walked down the street, and I think maybe I heard one car horn honk.  I am so happy to be home. Home, sweet, peaceful Oakland.

dorothy

Just sayin’.

Words Fail

Sometimes there’s nothing to say, and nothing to do, except sit and wait for the awful to wash over and be done.   There are things so unspeakable, so horrific, and heartbreaking, that no possible action could ever make the thought of them less painful.

I’m sitting in a hotel room in New York City right now.  I have very little desire to go out and explore, as I have done in the past when visiting.  I just kind of want to sit here, with myself and my thoughts.  I’m not feeling too adventurous,  and I spent a large portion of the evening playing a simple and silly video game.  My stomach is bothering me.  I have a headache.

Really, what happened, though, is something so awful, that I don’t really want to write it anymore.   I’ve written it a couple of times, in emails, and in instant message windows, when saying it out loud was too hard.  I don’t want to put the letters together to form the words that make up the sentence that explains why I am sitting here alone.   This thing, it was bad.  Really bad.  And I’m not all that surprised to find that it’s effecting me in strange ways.    The sleeplessness I expected.  I figured that I would cry a lot, and thus have headaches.  I didn’t realize how dehydrated I’d really get.   I wasn’t expecting actual physical pain that would double me over.

I’m here in New York for work.  If not for work, I would have stayed home.   I just want to curl into a ball around my yucky tummy, and my heavy heart, and my headache, and cry as much as I want.

I am grieving, and it’s not something I want to be doing right here.

Expedia Sucks

This could end up being very long, and if you don’t really want to hear about it, please feel free to not read ahead.  Please don’t read to the end and then leave a comment telling me what I should have done.  It’s clearly too late for that.   I am pretty much throwing this out there as a last ditch effort, as I have been told by several people that throwing a hissy fit on some social media is a really good way of getting the attention of a company that doesn’t want to pay attention to you, or is trying to avoid your issue as hard as they fucking can.  At this point, that’s where I stand with Expedia.

So, as you may know, if you read this blog regularly or follow me on twitter or instagram, I broke my leg in March.   It was a massively unfortunate accident, and it derailed several plans about how I was hoping to spend my summer.   Initially I had hoped to spend two weeks or so in Portugal over the summer.  I have never been to Portugal, and it would have been my second ever trip to “The Continent”, the first being in Paris over New Years.  One of the things I was looking forward to doing in Portugal was spending time at the sea, and of course, surfing.  When I broke my leg, I knew that a big summer trip was out, and that if I did go anywhere, it would be nowhere near any ocean, so that I would not have to sit and look at it, knowing I couldn’t enjoy it.  I did that once before in Kauai.  It sucked.

But I did want something to look forward to over the summer, for “after” the injury, when I could walk again.  Not something overly taxing, and I didn’t want to be away from home for too long.  I decided to look for some place that I had never been, in the United States, where I could I stay in a really nice place, and just kind of be away.   In April, I hopped on Expedia, and looked at several cities that I had been curious about, and found a lovely hotel that I was really excited to visit, and so I booked my airfare and hotel for a long weekend in June in Nashville.    And at that time, I opted for Expedia’s trip insurance, just in case my leg wasn’t good enough to go.

As the time drew near, I realized that I would be able to make the trip, and I was looking forward to it.  I knew it would be a little bit difficult with my leg, but I thought it would a great idea to sit in a beautiful hotel, with my leg up, writing and reading, and whatnot.  I bought a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry, just because “when in Rome.”

The only downside of the trip that I booked was that a non-stop wasn’t available, and so in order to make the timing work the way I wanted it to, I booked a red-eye out of San Francisco.

Fast forward to the day of my departure in June.  I was mostly packed, just throwing the last of my stuff in my bag, and about to head out the door around 8:30 or so for an 11:30 flight.  I was going to get a ride to the train station, and take the BART into the airport, which takes awhile.  Just as I was throwing my toothbrush into my bag, double checking my packing list, and putting on my shoes, I got an alert that my flight was cancelled.    Thankfully, I hadn’t already left.

I got on the phone, and called the airline.  I sat on hold with them for over an hour.  At that point, it was getting really late, and I was tired.   As I was sitting on hold, I got an email from Expedia saying that I had been rebooked on a flight in the morning, and to call immediately to confirm.  I hung up on the airline, and called the number in the email.

When I spoke to the representative over the phone, she said that the airline had booked me already for the 6:00 am flight, which would connect through Dallas, and I wouldn’t get to Nashville until about 6:30 that evening.  This meant I would lose a day of my long weekend, I would miss the show at the Grand Ole Opry, and oh yeah, I had no way of getting to the airport by six in the morning, since the BART doesn’t run that early, and it was too late to call for a shuttle to pick me up.  I was already exhausted, so I asked about the trip insurance.   The representative told me that since it was before the time i had booked the flight to leave, and since the cancellation would be due to the airline (American Airlines, for the record) that I would qualify for a full refund of the hotel and the airfare.  I told her that I would like to cancel.

She explained that I would have to wait on the line, because she would have to contact the airline with me on the call to cancel since they had already booked me on the 6 o’clock flight.  She put me on hold, and I continued to hold for over an hour, again.

And then I was disconnected.

I called back, and explained my whole situation again, and the person I spoke to said that they would continue to try to get in touch with the airline, and that someone from Expedia would call me back once the airline was on the phone, so that we could complete my cancellation, and get my refund.  Meanwhile, they had already processed the hotel cancellation, and I should expect that refund in a few days.

It was close to midnight when I got off the phone.  I tried to stay up for a little while, expecting someone from Expedia to call me   back.  At some point, I fell asleep.   They never called me back.

The next morning, I called again. I was placed on hold again.  I was disconnected after a long period on hold again.   I called back.  I was told again that someone would try to get through to the airline, and then call me back, and that I didn’t have to wait on the line, as long as I would be available to take their call.   I hung around my apartment all day, waiting for them to call me back.  My vacation turned into a staycation, and then it turned into being stuck in my apartment, waiting for a call back.  Yes, I could have taken my phone and left the house, but I didn’t want to risk missing the call, so I thought it was best to stay home where I knew I would hear it ring.   They never called.

Over the next several days, this cycle repeated.  I would call Expedia whenever I knew I had a couple of hours to spare, be put on hold, put the phone on speaker, try to relax and enjoy my time off, eventually get dropped from hold without resolution.  I was told almost every day that if I got dropped off the call, they would call me back as soon as they got American Airlines on the phone.  That never happened.   Finally, a day or two before I had to go back to work, I was told by a supervisor at the call center not to worry about the refund, they would take care of it, I didn’t have to call anymore, I would just get an email in a couple of days to confirm my cancellation and refund.

I waited five business days, and I didn’t hear anything back from Expedia.  No phone call.  No email.  No refund.    I called them again from work.

This time I was told something completely different.  I was told I would have file a claim with the travel insurance company.  This is the first I had heard of another company being responsible.   The person I spoke to from Expedia transferred me to the  insurance company – Aon Affinity/Berkely Travel.

The representative from the insurance company, after I explained the whole situation, told me that I would not qualify for a refund, based on the policy I had purchased, and that all I could get was a credit from the airline.  I was so angry and flustered, and I explained that I had been told exactly the opposite by Expedia.  He said I would have to file a claim, and that I would find out what I was eligible for.

I thought that the phone call was what was needed to process the claim.   I got an email from the insurance company a few days later, and because I was irritated, I didn’t read it closely.  A few weeks later (admittedly, I’m not sure exactly how many weeks), I double-checked the email, and realized that I had been mistaken.  I still had to file paperwork in order to get a refund or credit.   If someone had said that first night that I had to fill out paperwork, I would have done it then, but at this point, I was tired of dealing with it, and for some reason, kind of embarrassed that it hadn’t been resolved.  I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, though.  None of this was my fault.  I did the responsible thing by purchasing the insurance.

So, it took me awhile to get over all that and fill it out, but I finally did, and I submitted it.

Last week I got a letter from them.  According to the letter, the type of  travel insurance that I purchased from Expedia at the time that I booked my trip was not provided by their company.  The policy I had purchased was Expedia’s own, and they were the responsible party for dealing with my cancellation and refund, and that I should contact Expedia.

I have not tried to contact Expedia.   I dread dealing with Expedia.  I don’t ever want to deal with them again.  Their customer service is a nightmare.

I know now that I should have been taking better notes, getting the names and IDs of all the people I spoke to, and logging the dates and times.  I should have stayed more on top of it, instead of putting off dealing with it.   I should emailed them, and called them more.

But I already missed my trip.  And spent hours of my time dealing with this.  I didn’t want to give them any more of my time.    I missed my trip, but I thought it would be alright, because at least I could spend the money on something nice for myself.

So, Expedia sucks.  American Airlines probably sucks, too.  If I could have gotten in touch with them in the first place, I might not have had to cancel my trip at all.  I wouldn’t have had to call Expedia at all.

But I’d rather know that Expedia sucks.

Aon Affinity / Berkely Travel isn’t all that great, either, since they could have told me at the beginning that they weren’t the ones who I had purchased the insurance from.  How hard could it have been to look that up?

Has anyone else out there had a horrible experience dealing with Expedia and trip cancellations?   Or any bad experience with them at all?   Let me know about it down in the comments.  Let’s vent.

 

Oh, and for my trip to New Zealand in a few months, I’m booking the hotels and stuff myself.  No more Expedia.

Family Vacation

I was able to go on vacation with my family, where I was the youngest by about 16 years.   It was a wild and crazy time, and I am so glad that I got photographic and video evidence.

 

I love my family, but they’re absolutely bonkers.

 

Just sayin’.

CSGL – Aloha

It’s been a well known fact to everyone around me that I’ve needed a vacation.   Case in point, my boss kept saying to me in our weekly one on one meetings, “Peggy, go on vacation.”  The only thing was, being a Crazy Single Girl, I didn’t really have anyone to go on vacation with.  I knew if I was going to take a vacay, I was going to have to go on my own.    The idea of going alone, didn’t really bother me, but I wasn’t sure where I should go.  I wanted to make sure that I would enjoy myself, so I wanted to make sure that there would be plenty of stuff for me to do, but also someplace where I could have some downtime, and that I could stay someplace nice.   Another concern was safety.  I didn’t want to be a worrywart, but I also didn’t want to spend even a single moment of my vacation feeling uncertain about being alone or worrying about getting lost someplace by myself where I might not know how to ask for directions.  So, I was undecided for several weeks about what I should do or where I should go.

Then one Sunday afternoon, I was sitting here on the couch with my cat, flipping channels trying to find something to watch on television, and came across a movie.   A very bad movie.  A very cheesy, bad movie that I’m embarrassed to admit that I watched five minutes of. It was a movie about a single woman who goes on vacation by herself to Hawaii.   And, yes, it was on Lifetime.   And yes, she ends up hooking up with a much younger man, who is, of course, a surf instructor.   (Bloody hell!)

Okay, awful, awful movie.   As bad as that DVD looks.   But it gave me a very good idea.

I started looking into vacation packages to Hawaii, and decided that the island of Kauai would be best for my purposes.  Mama Bear went there a couple of years ago, and told me about a kayaking trip she’d taken, and I’d wanted to try that kayaking.  So I booked my trip for the week of 4th of July.

And the lead up to the trip, and hearing everyone’s ideas and opinions about it, was almost as fun as the trip was.  I heard everything from “you’re going to be surrounded by newlyweds” to “you’re going to hook up with a surf instructor”  (reference Heather Locklear above and you’ll know that the women who said this have been watching too much Lifetime) and finally “Kauai doesn’t really have a hook-up vibe.”   I shrugged at it all, and said “whatever happens, happens; I’m open for anything,” but hooking-up wasn’t really my purpose for going.  I wasn’t going to turn down any surf instructors, and the thought of a vacation fling had crossed my mind, but I had no intention of cruising for them.  I wanted to get the heck out of Oakland, and I wanted to relax.  I wanted to spend some time in the sun, and I wanted to try some things I had never tried before.  More than anything, I was hoping I’d get bored.

Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I was legitimately bored?  Yeah, me neither, because it’s been that long.

So finally, after weeks of anticipation, the day arrived for me to fly away.  I arrived at the airport at the recommended time, about an hour and a half before my flight, only to find that the flight had just been delayed for four hours.   Crap.

I did what any self-respecting, self-sufficient CSG would do.   I found a bar, and I ordered a beer.   Within a few minutes, I realized that the guy next to me at the bar was on my same flight.  And he was alone!  And he was cute!   …..   And he was wearing a wedding ring.  Double crap.

To say that my first day of vacation was anti-climatic would be an understatement.  Originally I was booked to get into Kauai at 7:30.  Plenty of time to pick up my rental car, check into my room, and get the lay of the land.   I boarded my flight four hours late, and a couple of beers later.   I got into Kauai about 11:30, and by the time I got my bag and my rental car, it was well after midnight.  Oh, and my rental car!  I had booked (and prepaid) for a compact car.   I got in so late that all they had left were SUVs, which some people would see as a free upgrade, but I was not impressed.  I barely drive at home, and I do not know how to drive an SUV.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it.

I finally got to my hotel, and to my room, around 1:00 in the morning local time, so 4:00 a.m. at home.  I immediately made the executive decision that I was going to stay in bed until noon the next day.  The wild roosters had other ideas.

But I was stubborn, and I did not get up until noon, and then I spent the majority of the day by the pool.

In the afternoon, I sauntered over to the poolside bar, and found that it was happy hour, and they were serving $3 Mai Tais.   Lordy.  Now I always say you should never let a Mai Tai make a decision for you, but as long as you let them know who’s in charge, they’re a fine drink, and I mean, I was in Hawaii.  It’s kind of required.   I ordered a late lunch, had my Mai Tai, and I busted out my Kindle to do some reading. (I was reading a book about Nazi Germany – perfect light reading for poolside.)   It wasn’t very long before the first in a series of recurring events on that trip came to pass.

As I was sitting minding my own, a guy came up to the bar, ordered a Mai Tai, and asked me what I was reading.  He was quite a bit older than me, and, how shall I say this….not my type at all, but I told him what I was reading, and we started talking.  He moved to a sit nearer to me, and asked about my tattoos.  He started telling me about himself, he was divorced, and visiting Kauai with his two teenage sons.  He pointed even pointed them out across the pool.  Then things took a turn for the strange.  He proceeded to tell me about how he split his time working in DC, where he was from, and in Scottsdale, and that he had left his wife for a gal he met on eHarmony in Scottsdale.   So, yeah, he was selling himself really well.  Then he began launching into a borage of conservative political ideas, which pretty much killed the conversation.  He wasn’t very charming, and he certainly wasn’t a hot surf instructor.  Damn you, Heather Locklear.

I had no idea that this would be a trend.

That evening, as I was sitting on my balcony, I could hear a bit of music drifting up from the lobby.  I wasn’t really tired, having stayed in bed so late, so I decided to check it out.  I found my way to the lobby bar, where there was a guy playing guitar and singing, and sat down at the bar in front of the tele, hoping to catch some highlights from the ball game.  That was the night that I made friends with the bartender, E, which was probably the smartest thing I could have done.   Not too long after I had ordered a beer, a fella walked up to the bar, and sat next to me.

And here we go again.

I have to say, the second guy was not nearly as creepy.  He was actually kind of sweet, and wasn’t really hitting on me too hard. He was also divorced and there with his kids and extended family.  We talked a bit about activities, and he told me about a great cruise he’d done with his family, and told me about how he had booked it with the hotel’s concierge.   All the while, my buddy E was laughing at me.   It wouldn’t be the last time he was getting a laugh out of my time at the bar.

The next day, I got myself a nice breakfast, I spent a little time by the pool, I visited the concierge to book myself some fun, and it being the 4th of July, I went out to find some fireworks.  I went to the one official fireworks display on the island, Concert in the Sky.  It’s a typical kind of fair, with food and bands.   The bands were a trip, since they kept going back and forth between songs that sounded like traditional Hawaiian music and disco.  And they did it effortlessly.   As I was sitting there, I posted to Facebook “Sitting in a damp field listening to Hawaiian music and waiting for fireworks. Yay, America! No ka oi!”

And once the sun went down, explosions!

The next morning, I had to get up pretty early for my kayaking trip.  It was the only thing I felt was absolutely required on my trip, and the only excursion I had booked before I left.  The trip included a kayak up the Wailua River, and then a hike to Secret Falls.  I had never been kayaking before, and I was looking forward to it, but I was also a bit nervous, because the kayaks are built for two people, and I was by myself, of course.  Luckily, when I arrived, there was a family on the same tour, and they were willing to loan me their teenager to help me row my canoe.

They were really nice, and their kids were cool; they sort of adopted me for the day, and it turned out that they were also from the Bay Area.   I liked the kayaking, but I definitely enjoyed the hike even more.   It was pretty muddy on the trail, and I slipped quite a bit, but it was still a lot of fun.  I’d never been to the bottom of a waterfall before, let alone swam under one.

Definitely what made the trip was our tour guide, Jesse, who was a real character, with a lot of stories.  He, according to him, had done a hundred and one amazing and unbelievable adventures.  Unbelievable being the key word.   But he was a good storyteller.

But definitely the best part of it all was that there was a rope swing along the trail over the river.   That was another thing that I had never done, and I never thought I would do.   It was an amazing feeling to go flying on the end of a rope, but the most amazing part was letting go.    (There’s probably something to that, but that’s an entirely different post.)

The kayak ride back was not easy, and I was really tired, but I had also booked myself to go to a luau that evening.   Now, overall, the concierge hooked me up, however, the luau she helped me booked was not in any way a traditional luau.  They said that it was a Cirque du Soleil style.   Once again, I was a little bit nervous, being alone, of who I was going to be sat with at the luau.  I thought for sure that I was going to end up sitting a whole table full of newlyweds, but I was really excited because I got my first fresh flower lei of my life.

They also had a little craft section, and I bought the necklace you can see in the picture.  (I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I love this necklace.)   I was sat a table with an entire extended family, the grandmother, her kids, their spouses, and their children.  They were really nice, and I had a very nice chat with the Grandmother who was sitting next to me.  The only thing about them was that they weren’t at all impressed with the food.  I, on the other hand, had multiple servings.  So much good food.  Kalua pork, lomi lomi salmon, ono, purple sweet potato, mac salad, coconut curry vegetables, and of course poi.   It was so good.  Also, a couple more Mai Tais.

After dinner, there was quite the show.  Dancing girls, dancing boys, fire dancers, the works.   But kind of over the top, if I’m being honest.

And after the show, I got to take some more up close pictures of the performers.

You’d probably think after all that that I would be dead tired, and want to go straight to bed.   And you’d be wrong, because I was on my twelfth wind.   So when I got back to the hotel, I dropped in on E.  Since I was still wearing the lei, there were many jokes about it.  Of course, within fifteen minutes, a fella sat down at the bar next to me.  E was cracking up.   The difference was, this guy was not divorced.  His third wife was upstairs in their room.  Apparently they weren’t having as good of a time on their vacation as I was, and they’re relationship was falling apart.  So, it was a mix of him hitting on me, and bitching about being married.   And then he started giving me a hard time about wearing makeup.  My favorite was when I said something about my big floppy hat keeping me from getting sunburnt, and he snidely remarked, “how can you get any sun underneath all that hair?”  Charm personified?  No.  Piece of fucking work?  Hella.

Damn you, Heather Locklear!

The next day, I didn’t have any excursions planned, but I hadn’t seen much of the island, so I decided I would go for a drive.   It’s not a big island, so it’s really not a long drive, but there are lots of great spots to stop and take some amazing pictures.

It really is one of the most amazing and beautiful places.   It’s breathtaking, and these pictures, they don’t even do it justice.

I got back to the hotel, and had dinner at the bar.  It was going to be the last night that E would be working during my stay.  It was also, thankfully, the last night that I got hit on by an older divorced guy.   Now, mind you he, he wasn’t as over the top as the last guy, but true to form, it was an experience.   I have never in my life actually been patted on the ass by a stranger….until that night.    Had it happened under different circumstances, I might have punched him in the eye, and knocked him on his ass.   I don’t know why, but in that moment, I just thought it was hilarious.   Maybe it was because I was on vacation, and I figured it would be fun to tell the tale when I got home of the fifty-something year-old tire salesman (I can’t make this shit up) who patted me on the tookus, and who couldn’t remember my name for longer than five minutes in a row.

But I had to go to bed early, because the next day was the biggest day of them all, and also the earliest wake up call.  Normally I would say that you should never, ever get up before six when you’re on vacation.  But this was worth it.  The final thing that the concierge helped me book for my second to last day in Kauai was a catamaran cruise of the Na Pali Coast.   This is the cliff coast of the island that you cannot reach by roads.   You can only see it one of two ways, by sea or by air.

But did I mention that it was really early?

But I made it in time, and got on the boat, and we were under way.

The water was gorgeous, the views were gorgeous, the guys on the crew were…trying to be funny.  They were kind of funny.   Kind of.

And soon enough, we came across a couple sea turtles, who were way faster than my camera, and also, dolphins.

Part way up the coast, they dropped anchor, and we got to go snorkeling.  This was another thing that I had never done.   I didn’t have one of those underwater cameras, because I wanted to experience it more than take pictures of it.  Plus, I wasn’t sure that those things would take a very good picture, and didn’t want to waste my money.   It turns, out though, that I’m not very good at snorkeling.  My nose kept running in the mask, and sunblock got in my eyes.   So I kept coming up out of the water and rubbing my eyes and nose.   They had a crew member on a surfboard in the water to keep an eye on us, and he noticed that the mask was bothering me, so he started chatting with me, and invited me up on the surfboard to see some more dolphins that were swimming by.   Also, he taught me how to tandem paddle on the board.   Take that, Heather Locklear!

If you don’t know, and I didn’t before, tandem paddling involves the person on the back of the board, in my case the helpful crew member, has their face all up in your backside.  Of course he really wasn’t hitting on me, but so what?   At least he wasn’t 50, and, you know, weird.

After paddling and snorkeling, it was time for us to continue our cruise along the cliffs.  The cliffs are stunning.

It takes a lot of work to stay that pale in Hawaii, you know?

For my last day, I decided that I just wanted to take my time packing and checking out.  Ultimately, I ended up lounging by the pool, again, because relaxing and feeling the sun on my shoulders is definitely not something I get much of here in the foggy bay area.   I sat down with a notebook, and made notes about all my adventures, and even did a little work on a story I’ve been writing.  Finally, in the evening, I had to make my way to the airport.  I had a quick flight to Honolulu, and then the redeye back to San Francisco.

But my vacation did end on a very high note, as I made a new friend on the flight over to Honolulu, and friends who live on tropical islands are good friends to have.  I’m sure Heather Locklear would agree.

It was probably one of the best vacations I’ve ever had, and I’m really excited about the idea of taking more solo vacations.  I met a lot of really cool people, even if I also met some cheesy divorcees.  I don’t think I would have met quite as many people if I had been there with a friend, since I would have talked with them more than anyone, and not been as open to striking up conversations with as many people.  My favorite part was just how many things I got to do that I had never tried before.

I was really surprised when I got home, and so many people said to me that they were proud of me and that they thought I was brave for going by myself.  I hadn’t really put that much thought into it.  I just knew that I wanted to go, and I wasn’t going to let the fact that no one could go with me stop me.   Besides, going alone meant that I got to do whatever I wanted to do, and nothing I didn’t want to.

Mostly I came home feeling like there’s nothing in this world that I can’t do, if it’s what I really want.

And also feeling pretty damn good about how I look in a bikini for the first time in my whole damn life.

Just sayin’