As a work from home mum, I don't travel often. Let's be honest, I rarely escape the house without a child (or five) in tow. But last week, I flew to Melbourne - for an entire week - to record the audio version of my book.
The process was quicker than expected, and my automatic response was to book an earlier flight home. I mean, how are they surviving without me? But with everyone heading north for the school holidays, all flights were booked, leaving me with an entire day to do… whatever I wanted.
It was an odd sensation indeed. I went to the art gallery; I stumbled across the ACMI screen culture museum and spontaneously purchased a ticket for an exhibition. I stopped by the cathedral. I sat in a cafe, devouring an entire plate of salt and pepper calamari, on my own, without interruption. And, more importantly, without the guilt of believing I should have been doing something else, for someone else. Because, well, I couldn't.
Watch: Parenting 101. Post continues below.
I noticed I was walking slowly, strolling in fact, instead of purposefully striding, as I normally would. Then, I realised, I was smiling as I strolled. Smiling, as I noted my surroundings. The architecture, the people, the sounds. When I returned to the hotel, I poured a bath. I played music. I relaxed.