so•journ
/ˈsōjərn/

formal
noun
1. 
a temporary stay.

verb
1. 
stay somewhere temporarily.

When I told people I was going to travel alone in China for two weeks without my husband or my children, I wasn’t entirely surprised by the side eyes I got. Can you take that much time off work? Isn’t two weeks a long time to leave your children? Why aren’t you traveling with your husband? I shifted nervously, avoiding judgment. Each question was harder than the next. Yet all valid. Totally legit questions.

I quickly realized I was part of a very large group of women who wanted to do it, but a very small percentage of women who would. Let’s be real. It’s acceptable for a mother to go for a weekend getaway, but to travel alone for two weeks? That’s a bit too much and for too long. My getaway plan was met with apprehension and uncertainty. People closest to me were quick to wonder was everything okay. Quick to inquire if something was wrong. Why did I want to go so far away and without the people I cared most for; my family? Privately, my answers came rather easily: to clear my head, to be alone, to be inspired by a different culture, taste other food, see other ways of doing things and, dare I say, have some fun.

I began sharing that I needed a break from everything I had ever wanted. Admitting I felt drawn to go somewhere temporary. Declaring work, mothering, wife-ing had taken its toll was freeing. I needed time to wander. To indulge in a much deserved timeout from my beautiful children. To take warranted time off from the career I’d spent years building. And enjoy a little distance from the routine I had created. I needed a sojourn. A chance to grow a little taller, shrink and blend. I craved time for myself. Time to explore. Time to look at things. Time to be inspired.

I saw the sights in Guangzhou, China, disappeared into congested city streets of Hong Kong and found some tranquility in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. And I returned feeling good about my time spent away. It’s okay to go. It’s okay to desire a little time away. To not feel needed by anyone or anything.

Am I selfish? No. Am I worthy? Yes. Take the sojourn. Yes.

Short Bio:
Amanda Hayward resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. She heads up content and production at a digital content studio in Santa Monica.