I was reading a blog recently and the blogger asked whether folks take vacations alone. I thought about it and I have to admit prior to my aunt getting sick, I would go away for an entire weekend by myself. Sometimes Atlanta, Birmingham or even right here in the city. I really miss that time. However, I have not been on an extended vacation alone, but I am not opposed to it.
For my birthday in 2001, I decided to treat myself to a weekend in Atlanta to see Janet Jackson. In case you didn’t know, I am a Janet Jackson Stan! I booked my hotel, my car was road ready and my ticket was purchased. However, on that Wednesday, September 5th, my aunt went into congested heart failure. Of course I was scared, neither the concert nor the weekend away were on my mind at the time. So I was spending time at the hospital and had to take off from work. By Thursday, she had stabilized and was feeling much better. In fact, she told me to go on my trip she would be fine. And as apprehensive as I was, I packed my bag and Friday I stayed at the hospital until I left. It was weird hitting the road from the hospital, but it saved me a few minutes.
I got there right at night fall and if you know me, I can’t see at night so I will not drive in unfamiliar territory. I missed my exit and was headed to Tennessee at one point, but I found my way back to the right exit and hotel. I was staying at the Westin in downtown Atlanta and I had forgotten how wonderful the service was so handing my keys over to the valet and checking in was great because the stress of getting lost ain’t cute on nobody.
Once my luggage arrived, oh yes, they took care of that and got my ice for me and I tipped handsomely. I was starting to relax. Only problem was I was hungry, scratch that I was starving! So room service it was because I was in for the night. After checking in with my aunt and friends to let them know I had made it to ATL, I relaxed with some good food and a long shower (I hate showers), but the shower heads at the Westin, chile…
The next morning after checking on my aunt, I decided to check out my surroundings and guess what I found, The Westin had a Macy’s attached and me and shoes had a love affair of dynamic proportions! I was in heaven. I also ate lunch at one of the restaurants in the area. Mind you I was doing this all by myself. Alone.
I remember taking a short nap and finally getting ready to see Janet. Since the Phillips Arena was within walking distance, I got ready to walk my way to the concert alone. The walk wasn’t that far and once I got into the venue (they checked bags and everything) I went into fan mode. Yes, I purchased a t-shirt and glossy book of her photos. Yes, I was a true Stan! As I made it to my seat, and let’s be clear I didn’t have floor seats I may be a fan, but my mama and aunt didn’t raise no fool. Plus, this was the tour where she got sick and cancelled a lot of dates including the Birmingham date, but I knew I wanted to see her in Atlanta. I almost got suckered into “renting” binoculars but my germaphobe ways wouldn’t allow me to do so not knowing if they had been sanitized from their last use.
Once I found my seat, I sat there patting myself on the back because I was going to see Janet, alone. A couple on my row was surprised I would be at a concert alone, but for me it was a birthday present to me. They were also surprised I knew the opening act’s songs and danced to my favorite Janet tunes. I screamed, yelled and danced like no one was watching, but I had the best time. And my new couple friends actually were from Birmingham and had to catch the show in Atlanta so I made some new acquaintances. I enjoyed myself immensely. I was on my own time. If I had gone with some friends I would have missed the opening act and most of them would have dropped out of going at the last minute. Hell, it was my birthday present and I am glad I did that for myself.
Now, one thing I didn’t really pay attention to was I would be walking back to the hotel after midnight in downtown Atlanta. Probably not the smartest thing to do but lucky for me there were other folks walking back to their hotels from the concert so I felt relatively safe. I was still singing my way back to my hotel.
After I got back to the hotel, Johnitis (a condition named after my Uncle who would go out of town and leave a day later or even the same day of arrival if he was ready to go, whether you wanted to or not. The condition consists of having clothes packed well before departure and a nervousness compelled by your unrealistic need to be back home now!), I packed up my small suitcase and had things ready to hit the road the next day. Let me tell you all, the sun was barely up when I was checking out. I made it back to Montgomery in an hour and 45 minutes and my sister can tell you I did because I talked to her the entire trip. I needed to see my aunt!
My aunt came home that Sunday evening. I had taken off on my birthday, September 10, 2001, so I chilled that Monday. Unbeknownst to me, that Tuesday would change the world! So can I go on vacation alone? Yes I can, because life is too short to not do the things that will make you happy!