Inspiration for childless and childfree women

Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice


H (my partner) and I love travelling together but I also have a very soft spot for travelling alone. I’m not a particularly rich woman and when I talk about travel, it’s not the first-class-flight-to-a-glamorous-resort kind. If I’m with H we’re generally in Asia gathering something for one of his projects and if I’m by myself its likely to be in Europe, meandering towards someone I’m visiting or else doing some kind of research for my own work.

One of my favourite parts of any journey will always be the part that can be made by train. I love the sounds and rhythms of train travel, I like watching towns and fields flash by, I like hearing announcements of unfamiliar-sounding stations and I like the way my mind seems to want to match the train’s motion, with thoughts flowing easily and in an orderly way. I’m pretty sure I’ve done some of my best writing on trains.

Another favourite part of travelling for me is the moment when you open the door of a hotel room for the first time. On my budget, there might be a high ceiling, a four-poster bed and a bath with feet, or there might just as easily be cobwebs, broken tiles and a flickering neon light. I honestly don’t much mind which it is, as long as there is a kettle and enough blankets. Whatever it’s like, I love knowing that the room  will be ‘home’ for the next few days, where I will drink my first cup of tea each morning and curl up and read in bed in each evening.

If one of the perks of your own non-motherhood is the opportunity to travel, you might like to read a post about the wisdom of taking the odd risk or a post about the importance of marking milestones.

But in the meantime, if you’re a traveller too, what is your own favourite part of the journey?

[The beautiful image above has been borrowed with permission from Harry Bloom.]


12 comments on “journeys

  1. M
    March 23, 2012

    Sitting in a Spanish plaza, with tapas and a jug of sangria all to myself, something nice on my iPod, writing in my journal or a letter to a friend, capturing this moment of bliss, feeling grateful that my life has brought me to this point.

    • olivia
      March 23, 2012

      Oh my goodness M, that sounds heavenly!

  2. Angie
    March 23, 2012

    I lived on the East Coast of the United States for many years and traveling by train is the only thing I miss about it. I made the trip from Washington, DC, to New York City often by train, and I loved having those few hours to read and think, and anticipate the wonderful things I would be doing in the coming days.

    Travel is my passion, and I think my favorite part of it is waking up the first morning in a new place. I always wake up with the sun when I’m away from home, and I love throwing open the drapes or shades and looking out at my new world. So exciting!

    • olivia
      March 23, 2012

      Reading on the train is the best, Angie, I agree.

      And I can’t believe I left out waking up in a new place! I love it, especially after arriving late the night before and then seeing the view for the first time in daylight. Amazing 🙂

      • Angie
        March 23, 2012

        On our first trip to Hawaii, for our honeymoon, we arrived after midnight at our hotel and couldn’t see a thing. As soon as I saw the sun peeking through the drapes, I jumped up and pulled them open and was just in awe of what I saw. The colors of the ocean, sand, and trees were more amazing than anything I had ever seen! I love being able to recreate that feeling on every trip, and I hope I never become too jaded to feel that sense of awe and wonder.

  3. Megan
    March 23, 2012

    I also adore train travel. I grew up in Japan, where the trains are just delightful. They are clean, run on time, fast, go everywhere, and are incredibly well designed…completely spoiled me for trains anywhere else. As for my favorite parts of the journey, too many to count…I love the feeling of waking up in an unfamiliar place and heading out to explore. I love hotel rooms (for me, as long as they are quiet, that is all I need). I love finding the local place for the best coffee. I love the perspective on one’s own country (in my case, the US) that one gets from reading local news or speaking with local people. When I go back to Japan, which I do as often as possible, I love the feeling of being “home” (as what some call a “third culture kid”, home is a complicated concept for me). I would travel all the time, if I could! This was a major component of my decision to remain child-free. I couldn’t bear the idea of the restrictions that having a child would place on my freedom to move about the world, such as only traveling during school vacations, and being restricted to places like Disneyland (shudder).

    • olivia
      March 23, 2012

      Megan, I’ve never been to Japan but when I do (hopefully not too long) I’ll definitely plan a train journey! There is so much I would like to see and do in Japan.

      You’ve listed many more of my favourite parts of travel. I can’t believe I left out the initial quest for (for me) the best local place for a good cup of tea! That’s one of the best bits!

      And it’s really interesting that treasuring the opportunity to travel played a role in your decision to be childfree. I bet you’re far from alone in that.

  4. Kaitlyn
    March 23, 2012

    I’m not a traveler (yet), but I plan on traveling around the world. In fact, the fiance and I are planning on going to Europe after 15 years of marriage 🙂

  5. tiffanylo
    March 25, 2012

    I love traveling, too. When alone and going to visit friends in say, New York City, my favorite part is sitting on the train, hopefully with a seat to myself, listening to music or reading. It’s so calming, and it’s one of the only times I really get to regroup, I don’t “have” to be working, and I can do whatever the heck I choose. 🙂
    When I’m traveling with my husband, who also loves the excitement of new places, I love waking up the next day, preparing to explore. We’re often jet-lagged and a bit cranky when we first get in, but the next day, after a night of rest, we feel motivated, excited, and even a little nervous. It’s that thrill of anxiety and hope and wonder that makes the trip special.
    When we visited Amsterdam a few years ago, one of our most favorite parts of the trip–after getting the “lay of the land” after a couple of days!–was sitting outside at the Cafe Luxembourg, cocktail-ing, noshing, and people-watching. We were permitted to just BE, to take goofy photos on our phones, and to realize how damned fortunate we were to be in a new and exciting place.

  6. olivia
    March 25, 2012

    Ah, people-watching! Another point I can’t believe I didn’t make! And such a good one.

    It sounds as though you and your husband really have the art of travel sorted –
    “that thrill of anxiety and hope and wonder” – I know exactly what you mean.

    What a gorgeous comment to read.

  7. Mali
    April 8, 2012

    I love train travel. I’ve done third glass overnight train trips in Thailand, and a luxury journey in South Africa. I love waking up, watching the countryside pass by in the early morning light.

    What else do I love? Arriving in a new place, country, or even continent for the first time. The possibilities and potential are endless – even jet-lagged and exhausted I am always excited.

    • olivia
      April 8, 2012

      Mali, those train trips sound amazing! I do believe you’ve given me the travel bug suddenly…I think it was the reference to the early morning light…

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