You know the kind of writing where you do the interesting/scary/fun thing and recall how life-changing it was?
I don’t do that kind of writing well.
This is my fourth attempt to write about traveling alone to Pittsburgh to see one of my favorite rappers in concert and spend a few hours wandering the city. Why is this worth writing about? Because one of my bucket list items for #ThisIs33 is solo travel. As a committed bachelorette, I need to get comfortable navigating the world alone and decided I’d do a practice run sometime this year in a neighboring city.
Favorite rapper performing a mere two hours away? Double Bucket List score. So I packed up my anxieties about swerving off the turnpike, disappearing into mountainous Western Pennsylvania or being roofied and assaulted in a strange dive bar and headed to Pittsburgh for a night.
I created strict ground rules: gave my best friends my hotel information and vowed to check in with them periodically; no accepting drinks from strangers; no Ubers at night; no parking in poorly-lit locations; no lingering too long after the show; no advertising on social media that I was alone in Pittsburgh until daylight.
I talked to myself lot. To calm my fears but also to break up some of the quiet. I had a Jameson and ginger ale at the hotel bar while chatting up a bartender with dark, curly hair. I took a long bath in my room while loud-singing the new Bruno Mars album to unwind from my drive. I disco-napped in a fluffy white bathrobe before heading to the concert. I stuck to all my rules of engagement at the bar: brief convos, no drinks from strangers, no getting drunk. I met one of my favorite artists and managed to not fan girl all over myself. Made it back to my hotel in one not-roofied, un-assaulted piece.
As much as I enjoyed the show, the real fun happened Saturday morning when I was free to wander the city. I had brunch (my staple-hash and eggs) in the Theater District and jaunted over to the Andy Warhol Museum. I was fascinated by an exhibit called Silver Clouds–a dark room with floating metallic balloons–and sat on the floor Indian style to take it all in.
That moment crystallized the trip. I’m a woman who needs to get lost alone in new places, sit on museum floors, and marvel at balloons.
I took a brief detour on the way back to my car to walk the Sixth Street Bridge and take pictures of PNC Park and the Allegheny River.
Then I drove home without totaling my car or disappearing into mountainous Western Pennsylvania.
All in all, it was a successful experiment.