Heading up North to prove you can travel on your own and be ok, despite a broken heart and an old car!
There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.
The weekend following the conversation and splitting up with the ex was hard, and this week was made that bit harder as I was supposed to be racing this weekend with him at a 24 hour endurance race that promised to be a lot of fun. I just couldn’t face doing it, especially as my emotions, I’ll admit, are still fluctuating between anger and grief. So it seemed like a sensible idea to do something completely different.
So I booked a night away at a B&B in my favourite part of the world – Northumberland. I muted references to the race and certain people I follow on Facebook, deleted the Strava app off my phone and after having late breakfast/early lunch with one of my friends, drove the 2 and a half hours North to Wooler.
I had a fantastic drive. I’d updated some of the CDs in my car to something more upbeat than normal (apparently, my normal taste in music is depressive). The traffic was good and for the first time in well over a week, I felt genuinely quite cheery. I used to love driving, but over the last few years, I didn’t do much of the longer distance stuff and left it to him. I decided to stop worrying about the car – if it broke down, I was in the AA and I had my credit card with me. Turns out car was brilliant and probably just needed a good long drive itself – my old tank of a Volvo was definitely made for cruising!
I arrived about 5ish, stayed long enough at the B&B to dump my bags and freshen up a bit before heading off to Salt Water Cafe in Beadnell for my tea. I’d planned on doing my favourite things while I was here in an attempt to cheer myself up and claim them as my own, making new memories and all that jazz. Tea was lovely but, being on a heartbreak diet and having no appetite, meant I just couldn’t finish it. I wandered down to the harbour – it was too nice an evening not to, before heading off to Alnwick for a twilight swim. Keeping myself busy so far was working.
Saturday was a bit of a different matter. Managed to push down some breakfast and had a lovely chat with a couple who were cycling. Checked out and headed over to Alnwick to mooch around the beautiful Alnwick Garden. Despite being busy, I managed to find a quiet place of solitude on a hanging swing, so sat, wrote in my diary and read a little. Hunger pangs started and I went into town in search of food, managed to eat and then headed to Barter Books. So far, travelling and holidaying solo going ok – a few moments of wanting to have a weep nearly creeping in.
The afternoon was the hardest, having head space is all well and good (and being all that way from home, on my own, proving to myself I could go it alone so to speak, was a good thing) but you can be alone with your thoughts and feelings too long, and the walk up to Dunstanburgh Castle proved to be quite hard. Last time I did it, the ex and I ran it. It’s one of my favourite castles too. All this lead to was a complete mash of emotions and probably proved hardest part of the day. I walked to the top of one of the towers – and could feel light-headness kicking in. This is unusual and I’m not sure how much of this to contribute to not eating enough verses emotional feelings. For the first time in a while, I was glad to be back in the car and heading back towards Beadnell. I was determined to get some form of run in, having taken my kit to run as well as the fact I had backed out of a race I’d been looking forward too (I have since debated whether I should have just gone and done it to make him feel awkward – though I might have felt awkward too and it wouldn’t have been fair on everyone else in the team).
Running is hard. Really hard. Especially when I’ve barely run in a month. But run I did. Only 4.5km around the village and along part of the beach. But I think it helped. I switched off a bit as I was more bothered about how hard this running was! Sport and exercise are definitely good therapy. By the time I’ got back to my starting point, I felt somewhat better and went to paddle in the sea before consuming ice cream. Deciding it was time to head home, I rung home to tell them when to expect me.
The drive home was different again to the drive up. On the way up, I had stopped at a friends for lunch, stopped at the services for a drink and obligatory loo stop and then headed up, sun shinning, music blasting, determined to enjoy it. The drive home was different. It was an easy drive (I think football was on), there was little traffic and no really hold ups apart from the odd average 50mph zone. It was nearly a straight drive back at 70mph cruising. So much for the easy bit. Concentrating on driving meant little time for thinking about feelings, especially with music playing, but I made the mistake of driving right down to the A1/A64 turn off, past the turn off for the race I should have done, and bang! Emotion overload. Coupled with the fact that my sunburn was kicking in, I was actually glad to be home. I’d been away, on my own, mostly enjoyed it, and more importantly, survived without tears.
The biggest revelation? Not having to consult others or wait for anyone while travelling is quite liberating if you don’t mind your own company. I think it is going to take me a while to just readjust to not having to consider others wants and feelings quite as much.
And try as I might, I still missed him and I still had the same questions spinning around my head but for a while at least, everything was ok. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, and my head knows things happen for a reason. In the mean time, I am still going to continue nursing a broken heart.