Before I left for my trip to Oxford, England and Polperro in Cornwall, many people were shocked that I was traveling alone. “I’m not alone.” I assured them, “I’m on my own.” I much more enjoy being on my own to meet people I am meant to meet wherever I end up. For example, at Oxford University where I was attending a summer writing workshop, I met some of the most amazing people without having to worry that anyone I was traveling with would be uncomfortable with me being me. That is what has plagued me my whole life. I would be constantly worrying or living the hell of doing something wrong as far as how I was with people. When I travel on my own I can be me with no interruptions. Come what may.
At Oxford I met amazing people from all over the world enjoying being a student again with other like-minded people. There were classes in Creative Writing, Are We Alone In The Universe, Peace Talks and several more. There was Taran from northernmost Scotland, John from Australia, and Elizabeth Ann from Beekman Place in New York City who was a total blast! Not one of them suggested I tone it down, not be me or any of those things I might get if I didn’t travel on my own. Don’t get me wrong; I do travel with friends at times. It is a different experience with others, which I prepare for. When I am heading for an experience I’ve never had before with people I’ve never met, I want to be on my own.
There was Rosemary from Maryland who shared with me, at the Eagle and Child in Oxford, that the Kolbe Test would be something to look at when working with my clients. (And myself). She explained that a ‘Quick Start’ was a person with energy, imagination and thinks and does things quickly. Good and bad to that as I have become aware throughout my years as me. I really liked Rosemary and I hope we keep in touch. Andy, from Wales, who I couldn’t figure out in the beginning of our course as he was writing a story about a boy, 800 years in the future, with the least amount of emotion to the writing and all the data and analytical information Andy could muster. We debated for the first few days about the difference between being a robot and human. Just when I thought I was sick of my hearing own self, he and I began to shift into understanding the parts of each other’s thoughts and intentions for our work.
By the end of the workshop our group performed a play for the entire Oxford University Adult Summer Workshop with Rosemary writing and directing the entire play, input from all of the 12 of us in the writing group and Andy as lead professor. It was received well and I played me, emotional, reacting to the harsh professor (played by Andy) attempting to bring out only the facts about our stories. I wailed to the audience when I interpreted fellow student’s presentation of clouds as being about my relationship with my mother! While I was making a ‘scene’ on stage, the other actors walked off frustrated with all of the emotion while Mary, a wonderful writer in our class, and I remained on stage. Mary kept her very proper composure and asked, “Is that an English cloud?”
Polperro is a historic harbor village having the enchanting reputation for having once been a smuggler’s cove. Not much has changed or is allowed to change here since those days in the 1600s and so on. Each morning I hear the fishing boats, just outside my cottage window, rev up their trusty, well run and tended to engines to head out for their daily work of fishing for themselves and those of us waiting on shore for the best to arrive for lunch and dinner. Other small motorboats, owned by locals, wait for their daily crowd of tourists and sometimes locals to go to neighboring harbor towns like Looe and Fowey where Daphne du Maurier spent much of her writing career. Once in either of those places, I found people to talk to and pledge to remain connected with. Speaking about the topics of my book, “Am I Going To Be Oaky?” brings about the instant conversation that goes deep almost immediately. I love it.
I have a great deal of difficulty leaving a place I have just met for the first time. I want to stay longer and learn more, experience more people. But, alas, I must return to Pittsburgh. I don’t have good re-entry. My appetite and thoughts remain of those places I have enjoyed to my hearts content, on my own.