I have a long weekend coming up and I’m not sure what to do with it. What I’d like most is to spend a few days alone, writing, bumming around near this hotel in Redmond where my husband and I like to stay. It’s near the river, and in summers past we’ve rented bikes to ride along its banks and down to Lake Sammamish. Though I suspect the weather will put the kibosh on any thought of biking, there are still bookstores to enjoy, bougie restaurants, an outdoor shopping mall. There’s also a theater where, instead of popcorn, you can get a glass of wine and a panini, or a cup of cocoa and a plate of warm cookies if that’s your speed. Best of all is the lobby of the hotel itself, which has a lovely fireplace and lots of seating. I have spent hours there writing, staring out the window, finding words where I thought there were none.
I haven’t been to Redmond on my own. It feels very self-indulgent, particularly with the aim of going there to write. I’m not working to a deadline, or even toward a goal—and say that were the case, there’d be no need to travel any farther than my armchair. Writing is a sedentary sport. So it’s hard not to feel guilty about booking a room just for me, to work on writing that’s just for me, to see a movie by myself and have a beautiful unshared meal or three while I’m at it. You’ll admit there’s a lot of moi in this scenario.
And it’s possible that the idea of traveling solo is a little weird. I know that for many people, it would be disconcerting to sit alone at a table for two, or buy a single ticket at the theater. I can understand that. But I have never been deterred. Being alone is a joy. I love the release from responsibility, the calm experience of having to please only myself. I love being silent, not having to carry a conversation, finding myself free instead to simply listen, and look, and think about the feels. I like a long silent walk, a car ride with the music turned up. Book by the fire, an early night, a cup of coffee at dawn with the rain like scattered jewels on the window. I love the gradual onset of boredom and missing those more permanent parts of my life, and bundling myself into the car, knowing that the big square house on the hill and my people and my life are waiting to welcome me back.
We write sometimes to see what we think. What I think this morning is that a couple of days alone will do me good, so I’ve got my booking and the hotel’s confirmation ready in my virtual pocket, headed by a promising first line:
The world is waiting for you.