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  • Writer's pictureKristin Woodward

Free Agent for 30 Hours

Y’all know I love my family. But every once in a while, a girl’s gotta get out of town and have the chance to not be somebody’s mom or wife, to not worry about the laundry list of, well, laundry and other items that need to get done and to not be responsible for anyone but her own damn self.

Lucky for me, I had a work trip to Charlotte on Friday that I was able to parlay into an overnight and an opportunity to catch up with a dear old girlfriend I haven’t really gotten to hang out with in probably six or seven years. I felt slightly guilty for taking the time and the money to do it, but got over it quickly when I remembered the husband makes arrangements to catch up with friends around the world all the time when he’s traveling.

Catching a 7:30 flight out of ATL is no bowl of cherries, to be sure. Hello, 4:30 alarm. But knowing I might have time for a nap after my client meeting and that I’d for sure have a sweet king-sized bed all to myself, with nobody wiggling, snoring or stealing covers, made it all okay. The client meeting went great (we think!) and that left another 22 hours to just be me.

Wrapping Up Work

Obviously, there was a lot to catch up on after our meeting, so the co-worker I’d traveled with and I definitely had to re-hash the day over margaritas and just maybe gossip a little. Working remotely, opportunities to cut out a little early on a Friday to walk to a nearby watering hole are few and far between. And it’s always so good to get out of the regular routine with work folks and see where their heads are at on stuff that doesn’t always come out in the day to day. It was a fun way to let off some steam and end a stressful 48 hours of prep work. No camp pick-up coordination, no hapkido lesson, no wondering what the heck I’m making for dinner. I was feeling utterly relaxed. And yeah, the twinning was on fleek.

Dreaming of Sleep

So, that nap I had been fantasizing about totally didn’t happen. By the time I got to the hotel, I really only had about 20 minutes to put my bags down, get changed and turn around to head back out. I cranked the AC down to about 66° and fantasized about diving into the crisp, cool bed later, with no one else there (human or canine) wiggling, snoring or stealing covers.

Dinner, Drinks and Dishing

Old friends are just absolutely the best. AT and I have known each other for almost 20 years. We went from single girls to married ladies to moms in that time and, even though we have lived in different cities for over a decade, we’ve always managed to have phone dates (even if not always as often as we wanted) and it’s one of those friendships that just seems to pick back up. There were more margaritas and Mexican on a super-cute patio, then Prosecco on the patio next door. We talked husbands, kids, work, fashion, real estate, politics and stories about old times wove their way into the conversation every once in a while. It was exactly what my soul needed after months of the same old routine with only Atlanta faces. I remembered how lucky I am to have known the people and done the things I have — and how happy I am to be exactly where I am now. Also, I stayed out as late as I wanted (which, let’s be real, was only like midnight) and reveled in the freedom of no one asking when I would be home or needing me to do something when I got there and not doing the math on how much one more drink was going to cost in extra babysitter fees.

Au Lit et Au Revoir

First, let me say that Le Méridien was such a cool, fun place to stay. Great decor and just a fun attitude about everything. I had stayed at the connected Sheraton last time and got mixed up when I booked. It was a lucky mistake. That cold room and bed were everything I imagined they would be when I got home at the end of the evening. I slept like a princess, but unfortunately, even though I didn’t need to leave my room until about 10:00, my mom brain woke me up at about 7:00. You know, because that’s when I’m trained to wake up every day. I opted to pack up and head to the airport for breakfast because . . . well, I actually did miss my family at that point (and I literally could not figure out the in-room coffee machine, which is a first)! Having done what I’d come to do, I was ready to be back home. I took my time getting dressed and packing just myself for a change, so I could really feel like I made the most of my non-mom time. It was delicious and then it was adieu!

Strangers In Airports

Definitely not as creepy as it sounds! Over scrambled eggs and sausage and that coffee I’d been craving (with a pour of this fancy, non-dairy coconut creamer I’d bought just so I could stay on track during this trip), I met a guy with a great story.

I felt sorry for him when he struck up a conversation, asking if I had any idea what he should do for the day in Charlotte if he left the airport, since he was stuck there on an all-day layover. No idea. Turns out, he was headed to Europe to do this insane months-long road race: the Mongol Rally. He is a bartender and traveler with an appetite to see the world, and he’s already seen a lot of it. We had a great conversation about travel and things working out how they’re supposed to. Hearing about his big adventure was a nice end-cap to my teensy little trip and I can’t wait to follow his trip on Insta @thebeardedmigrant.

First Class Flight Back to Reality

Who gets upgraded into ATL? Me! Literally must be the shortest flight on the planet, but it was good to feel a little fancy heading back home. It was a great little break and I’m glad to be back. It’s been a long time since I did more than a day trip on my own, and certainly not for anything fun. Everyone here survived just fine without Mom, so just maybe I’ll find an excuse to do it again sooner rather than later.

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