I’m traveling alone — not totally alone as I have a couple relatives in town. But I have my own little, and I mean little, AirBNB. And I don’t see these relatives much. They have their own routines here and I don’t want to interfere.
I get up at leisure, drink as much coffee as I want, grab a complimentary bagel and fruit from the lodging office, and after I finally get dressed usually go on a bike ride. I talk to no one except a few friendly words with the apple-cheeked Ukrainian cleaning women. (“The sun is nice today, yes?”) It’s really freeing to have no daily plan and no one to confer with about what to do. No compromising and being polite. I just do things on the fly.
Since my lodging’s wi-fi keeps dying, my biggest challenge has been finding a coffee shop that has working wi-fi. Even Starbucks revealed its wi-fi was down due to faulty Comcast issues. I found a Cuban joint in a trailer that had it, but there was no place to sit. I knew of another place with lovely furnishings, romantic Latin music and where I had to spend a minimum of $6. But this situation I could handle.
No need to make small talk with someone, and I embrace the ability to fall asleep, take a dip in the bathwater-warm pool outside my door, and eat lunch and dinner whenever and where ever I want. My go-to lunch has been non-fat, Greek yogurt with granola and dried fruit and maybe a pear, apple or tangelo. I’m really winging it at dinner — mostly sitting at the bar during happy hour, getting a beer and maybe eating something fried — shrimp, conch fritters, fries. Fried food is prolific here.
My solitary state is broken by texts and phone calls from family and friends, but I talk to them only if I feel like it.
It seems everywhere I go on this tropical island I see couples holding hands, arms around each other, mild bickering, and quick stolen kisses behind a bar entrance. It bugs me because, quite honestly, I’m jealous. I want what they seem to have — what I used to have.
I’ve made friends mostly with gay men, both single and coupled. A young Parisian man and his New York City lover were particularly sweet. I find gays to be the friendliest and, no surprise, they share my politics. Such camaraderie is not easy to find these days.
More than anything, this trip has proven that I can travel alone, even with my compromised health. So where will I go next?