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My Dance Called Alone

by Gwen McCauley
(Ottawa, ON, Canada)

I first travelled solo way back in 1975 when I was 26 years old. My husband had been killed in an accident and everyone was telling me how well I was coping. Inside I felt like I was coming unglued. So, intrepid little soul that I was, I concocted a scheme that went like this: if I can travel for a month in a culture where I don't know a soul, don't know the language or currency ...and if I can survive, then I know I'm 'coping' with life! ...ah, the clarity of youth!

Spain was my first choice but a wise older friend recommended Portugal instead because I'd be less likely to be hassled as a young, single female. Let's face it, this trip wasn't about meeting guys, it was about discovering myself. So off I went and had a totally brilliant experience that has left me forever changed.

Over the years I've discovered just how much I love solo travel and I've also discovered that I have a much bigger life issue around the topic I call 'alone'. I've recently discovered poetry as a medium of Self discovery and Self expression and created this poem entitled My Dance Called Alone which I share with you now.


My Dance Called 'Alone'

Alone has been the theme of my life
Day by day, year by year, I've explored its delights

Delights you ask, how can that be?
Alone is where none want to be, dread ending up

When I was young I would have said the same
But life has taught such lessons

How well I recall that first trip on my own
No one to care for, no compromise

The freedom of the road, adventure of the unknown
Moments of uncertainty. Resilience, strength discovered

Hugging precious sights and sounds deep within my breast
There is magic in private moments I clearly treasure best

There is joy in dining solo, sitting straight and true
Belying stories that a woman alone is merely making do

When I am alone, I see Me with such clarity
No one muddies the waters, leader nor follower need I be

Yes loneliness surfaces from time to time
Each visit an introduction to some deeper Me

Now here's the paradox of my dance called alone
In my life only hard work creates such moments

For companionship, relationship are the order of my days
Alone my choice, the fulcrum where I hone my love of Me

I need a lot of space you see for the blossoming 'Me'
Alone my tool, my instrument for laying bare, revealing

Travel, the loom upon which I weave from the dance called alone
Varied sights, sounds and people guaranteed to abound

My life the fabric woven, a rich, textured tapestry,
Alone and together mingle, threads linking I now see

Never truly alone when I am with Me,
Each breath, every step of my journey, my dance to more of Me


So many women fear being alone, being left alone. I now lead retreats for women where this topic surfaces. Time and time again my clients discover the silver lining to their fears and move out into their futures with much more confidence and joy than they ever though possible.

And where might you ask do I offer these retreat experiences? Why The Algarve, Portugal! It just keeps working and working its magic!

Gwen McCauley, Coach, Facilitator, Author, Artist

Comments for My Dance Called Alone

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Jul 04, 2009
Celebrating your strength as an individual
by: Leyla

What a wonderful celebration of strength and empowerment! Each time I travel solo I feel stronger and more independent - and more courageous. It took courage for you to leave as you did, at the height of pain and loss. And it made you stronger. Congratulations - not everyone faces pain with such positive energy and results - and goes on to share it with everyone.

Jul 04, 2009
by: Janaki

I love, love, love your poem! I totally relate even though I am not a traveler. I yearn for the experiences of "alone" yet know that when it comes, I will mourn the losses which gave it to me! Such is the paradox of life. When that time comes for me, I hope I have the courage, will & energy (still) to venture forth into some of my dreams!

Jul 04, 2009
Solo is great!
by: JJ

Solo travel, and even being solo is the world's best kept secret! Let's not tell the married people! SSSSHHHHH!

Jul 07, 2009
Thank You
by: Lola A

So beautiful and inspiring

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