I'm on the last day of my 10 day cruise on the Carnival Vista. I just couldn't manage to drag myself away from bed this morning and subsequently missed my scheduled excursion...So, I did what comes naturally to me: I set off on my own. I hired a taxi and visited each of the places I would have seen with a group, only I did it with my taxi driver Theo, discussing our children, our tattoos, our shared love of the old world, Greek mythology and my identification with Aphrodite. Greek gods > Roman gods.
The past 12 days have been a voyage of discovery, celebration and rebirth. I wandered the streets of Barcelona, I sailed on the newest Carnival ship, the Carnival Vista - which is the first in their new class - I explored ancient cities on my own and with my closest friends, I both mourned and celebrated the end of my marriage - in Rome - with Prosecco and Prosciutto, at the same tiny cafe I visited with my daughter three years ago, and I made many wonderful friends along the way.
Traveling on your own, like doing many things without a companion, can be an overwhelmingly lonely experience at times. And then there are times when you sit down at the end of a long day and the person next to you smiles, strikes up a conversation about the Ramones and you realize that this whole being on your own thing? It's an adventure.
I'll be leaving Athens tomorrow with a smile on my face, and maybe a little tear in my eye, because life has a way of surprising you with a little happiness when you're least expecting it.
I am leaving Europe HAPPY.