Previously, I had talked about finding a “bestie.” You know, just a really close friend, someone who jived with me, to travel with, or go out to eat with, so I don’t have to do it alone. And somehow I thought if a had a good friend, that would make my life better. I’m in closer contact with my first cousins and maybe I need to give it a lot more time.

I recently returned from “our” go-to place, the winery in North Carolina. It’s our special place, we could tell our family we were going to the winery and they all knew just where it was. We had my 50th birthday party there, Steve’s 60th birthday there, so we hoped everyone that was able to attend could see how special that place was to us.

Well, I’ve taken a sister there with me for company so I didn’t have to go it alone. She turned out to be a “Debbie downer.” She couldn’t understand how or why we (Steve and I), could just drink wine and sit at the winery and chill in the North Carolina breeze, with the sun warming our faces. Sometimes, we, Steve and I, hardly talked, but the heart felt it all.

I’ve gone twice by myself since then.

One time, I traveled there by myself, but I connected with some friends who live nearby for a winemakers dinner, which Steve and I were never able to attend because of my work. One of those friends had lost her husband suddenly, 5 months after Steve’s passing, and I was amazed by her strength. And now, she has two boys, 12 and 10 years old to raise. But she’s a spectacular and positive person, so she hides her grief well.

The other time I went totally by myself was a full blown disaster. Weather delays caused me to reschedule my flight… into another airport, I had no rental car available then, had to Lyft at 2 in the morning. Thankfully, we had so many friends that we knew through the years, they took me if I needed anything, to an ATM machine, to get snacks for my hotel room, they even joined me for lunch so I didn’t have to eat alone. And I never asked them… they just wanted to do it.

Well, this brings me to my conclusion – I just got back from a trip to that same winery with another friend. She’s divorced, and doesn’t travel a lot. I’ve known her for many years but I’ve never really known her well until this trip. She is my sister’s best friend, but she was around us so much at family gatherings and through fun and hard times… I thought… why not ask her to go with me!? While she was a great person to travel with – she wasn’t demanding, we had fun, we laughed – by day 4 of 6, I kept thinking… and I’d tell myself I’m just grateful for her company, I hope she’s enjoying this getaway, and… I’ll probably not ever ask her to go with me again!

The truth is, looking at all of the experiences I’ve had since Steve is gone, the trips I took by myself, even the disaster trip, were still the best ones.

I don’t want to invite anyone with me who I feel like I have to entertain and see that they have a good time because they’ve never been there. We always had a great time… slowing down… drinking… eating…. Just chilling. And I want to keep going there and doing the same thing… at my pace… not as a tour guide unless the mood hits me.

So, that’s why I’ve decided…. The search is over… I’m just going to accept it as it is and no longer seek that person who I thought I knew enough to travel with, call up for dinner… maybe and I’m pretty sure I need more time for this to happen but as a human, you will always look to fill a void to find happiness. I wake up every day and choose to be happy. So, I’m moving on. I’ll stick to what I know that I get joy out of and let the pieces fall where they may.

The search is over… May it come to me.

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