Four months after my husband passed away, I went travelling for the first time without him since meeting him thirteen years earlier. I was feeling incredibly sad and lonely; not only missing Christopher but missing the things, including travel, which we had done so much of, together. When our good friends, Cal and Linda, asked if I wanted to get away before the baby was born, I feared that it would be a challenge emotionally. Yet, it was something I had to do.

Our trip started in Chamonix in the French Alps and our days started with coffee in the fresh outdoors. The scene was from a movie set: snow-covered chalets were decorated with alpine scenes, people skied through the village and the sky was intensely blue against the white of the towering mountains. While Cal and Linda went skiing I wandered through the outdoor market and the village eating delicious croissants, drinking fabulous coffee and shopping. In the evenings we dined on raclette, tartiflette and fondue in cozy bistros filled with the scent of wood smoke.

On the last day I took the little train up the Aiguilles de Chamonix (mountain) to Mer de Glace (glacier). After admiring the glacier, ice grotto and old mountain museum I had the most romantic alpine lunch for one at the remote lodge. I wanted to stay – it was so secluded, magical and a little adventurous. But I also had a tingling sensation spreading through me. For the first time in months, I felt a warm glow deep within…

We then took the TGV up to Paris, where we stayed in a little hotel off of St Germain de Pres on the Left Bank. And every day for the next week we fell into a routine of a coffee and croissant breakfast together before heading out for a morning of sightseeing – we went to a fashion show, climbed the Eiffel Tower, admired Sacre Coeur and sat in awe in Notre Dame. After lunch in yet another Parisian bistro, I went off on my own. I practiced my French, navigated the metro, drank tea on Ile St Louis, coffee in famous cafes and ate pastries. As my days progressed, I realized I was having fun being independent. This had become a momentous journey for me and I felt that, perhaps, I may be alright after all.