Why is my passenger seat so often empty?

Twice on this journey, I’ve invited friends to share in the adventure with me. These were people with whom I’m very close, with whom I have a deep connection on multiple levels.

Just me and a 49er in Nevada City

Just me and a wooden ’49er outside Nevada City. As a solo traveler, I take a lot of selfies.

And yet, occasionally, I found myself resisting both visits.

Don’t get me wrong. We had great times. These were positive experiences that I’ll treasure as part of the Meander. However, at times, my heart simply wasn’t open to companionship.

When a friend is in the passenger seat, Me Time becomes We Time. And We Time creates a whole different set of challenges for me.

Me Time and We Time in the past

Believe it or not, I tend to like things my way. (If you’re reading this blog, you probably believe it.)

So, my resistance to We Time is not unique to the road. Since my engagement ended in October 2010, my heart has been mostly closed to real companionship.

This is apparent in my dating life. For a year after the breakup, my heart was closed due to the pain and my desire to rebuild. And in my last nine months in Arizona, it was closed as I wound down my Bulbstorm and Tempe Leadership commitments and prepared for my trip.

During both of these periods, I dated – at times thoughtfully, at times not so much. Regardless of the approach, I always found one reason or another to call it off. In between these periods, I let my guard down for a few months in spring 2012 and had an amazing summer with a great girl.

I treasure Me Time. Paradoxically, I’m awful at creating space for myself. I crowd Me Time out of my schedule with business networking and social engagements and dating for the sake of dating.

At what point upon my return will I clear my schedule to create space for Me Time? And then at what point will I open my heart to create space for We Time?

Me Time and We Time in the future

I’ve already considered ways to structure my life when I return to accommodate Me Time. For example, I want to camp alone once per month and I want to finally commit to another can’t-miss yoga class.

Reading Huck Finn on a cold day at Crater Lake. Now there's a guy who enjoyed travel companions.

Reading Huck Finn on a cold day at Crater Lake. Now there’s a guy who enjoyed travel companions.

As for opening my heart to We Time, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s already happening.

I mentioned that I’ve attempted to date in the years since my breakup. I’ve also tried to forge non-romantic friendships. It wasn’t easy at first. I kept a lot of awesome people at arm’s length.

Slowly but surely, I got better at connecting. I got better picking up the phone (to text or Facebook, certainly not to call!). I got better at asking for help. I got better at being myself and being honest.

I now have a wonderful circle of close friends and I’m tighter with my parents than I’ve ever been. Plus, I have an ever-widening network of people who share common interests, from hiking to business to civic engagement.

I believe that the progress I’ve made with non-romantic relationships will serve me well when I return home and resume dating. And, for the first time since October 2010, perhaps my passenger seat will be open to We Time over the long haul.

Wanna read more? I may not be good at connecting with humans. But I love connecting with Jeffrey pines, coastal redwoods, and ducklings.


  1. So well stated. I have found that I have a great need for both a lot of social interaction and a lot of time to myself, and each makes me appreciate the other so much more.


  1. […] So many have served me in my Meanders. Opening their homes. Putting me on their rafts. Challenging my stubborn ways. […]

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