Boy can I be a grump. My mother is constantly, at times irritatingly, optimistic. I, however, require the perfect balance of feeding, resting, drinking and being left alone to remain in good spirits. When traveling with a companion, the first three are touch and go, and the last one is difficult. It doesn’t matter who the companion is or what their temperament is, being with someone constantly quickly makes me feel smothered. After spending 14 straight days of honeymoon with my husband, I was contemplating staying in Barcelona by myself and sending him home solo.
I held out OK until the Wednesday morning of this trip. That’s when I started to lose it. I needed time alone and I needed it fast or I was going to lose it and ruin the trip for everyone. Thankfully my mother is a tired old lady, and that morning happened to wake up late, leaving me to breakfast solo in sweet, sweet silence. We went on a tour of Prague’s Jewish Quarter and the tour group was large enough that we weren’t on each others heels the whole time. That evening she turned in early, and I made my way down to a Mexican restaurant in Old Town Square (yes, I’ve had plenty of Czech roast pork and dumplings too, but one can only eat so much winter comfort food). I had a few hours to myself to sip margaritas and read The Ocean at the End of the Lane (I finished it in 24 hours and loved it, btw). That solo time was so refreshing and was essential to maintaining my sanity.
When I talk about needing “alone time,” I don’t mean quick breaks to do something on my own. I mean that when I’m traveling for more than just a day or two, to keep myself happy, the split on socializing and alone time should ideally be around 50/50. This is a LOT of alone time, I know. And maybe it’s some evolutionary feat of maternal instinct, but I don’t need as much alone time away from my kid. My husband will tell you that I definitely need breaks from toddler-herding, but I can handle more time hanging out with my little one than I can handle nonstop with other adults.
The next two days bring an outing to Cesky Krumlov and a beer brewery and tasting tour. Mom’s starting to get the drill down– she gets her rest, I go out for some drinks and some reading, everyone is happy. It’s even more perfect that the Czechs love their beer, and it’s cheaper to go out for a pint than it is to go out for a coffee.