I’m trying to slow down. To embrace this journey. To embrace the fact that this isn’t a trip for me to see the country and tour the sites. It’s a trip for me to be alone with my thoughts and emotions. To be alone with my grief.
It’s strange showing up in a new place and not having a plan. To not have already mapped out every single thing I wanted to do and see, fearful to miss out because of lack of research.
My researching drove Brad crazy. For months before a trip, I would spend countless hours in books and on the internet, mapping out the perfect vacation: a balanced mix of “must sees,” off the beaten path finds, and downtime for relaxing and spontaneous exploration. Hours planning the kind of trip that felt magically unplanned. Planning brought me joy. The excitement and build up leading up to the trip were almost as much fun as the trip itself. Brad wanted me to be more “go with the flow” and just show up. To let our trip unfold naturally. I used to swear that our vacations were always so wonderful because I planned. And I knew Brad enough to know how to plan for him too: the perfect outdoor cafe that’s not overrun by tourists; the main attraction’s less visited and often forgotten sister site; sex breaks.
I’m actually doing this road trip how Brad would have wanted - unplanned. Not as a way to honor Brad (although I wish I could say that were the case). But because I was too busy with my grief and sorrow to plan. Because I just didn’t care to plan. Because some mornings telling myself to get up and put one foot in front of the other, to walk out the door, is exhausting enough.
As I am sitting here at 9:15 in the morning, my hair wet from my shower, sipping coffee on a patio, and writing, I realize this is exactly the type of slow morning Brad would have craved. I would have been eager to get out the door by 8 - to check out the perfectly adorable coffee shop around the corner before a full day of exploration. I would have been antsy and eager, fearful we were wasting the day. Fearful of missing out.
I am trying to embrace this new me. Or at least this temporary me. Eventually I’ll get dressed and head out, unsure of where I’m headed. I will try and ignore the pit in my stomach that regularly inhabits my body these days. Try and ignore the fear of exploring a new place without a plan. I will try and find joy in my day.
But for now, I am going to sit here a little longer, sip my coffee, and watch the day unfold around me. Not just for Brad, but for me.