The Solo Travel Virgin Plans a Trip

solo travel pix

When you don’t have a romantic partner, travel for pleasure can be problematic. After the end of a marriage, who you vacation with is no longer a given. Have a taste of roasted mushroom and broccoli grain bowl while we explore this issue.

Did you and your now ex spouse have a regular vacation plan– South Carolina in July and Vermont in the fall with an occasional splurge trip to Europe? Or maybe every six months you picked a destination out of a hat and went somewhere new.

Were you that couple who preferred to schedule everything or did a no plans type vacation excite you more? Who was the planner in your travelling duo?

Before I was married, I travelled with my future husband several times a year – to beaches, to visit family, out West, to Europe. We travelled well together – no fights that I remember, though sometimes our interests diverged. I was the planner.

Sometimes travel plans were hatched but not implemented. We never took a much-discussed cross-country trip with our dog – despite buying a special truck just for that purpose.

Our vacations changed once we married and had kids. Finding a putt putt took on critical importance. Without a babysitter accompanying us, there were no late nights at music clubs. As the kids grew older, we sought out beach places with “teen centers.” After the kids were out of the house, we took “couple vacations” again before the marriage was over.

Now as a free woman, I can travel at will with only my needs and schedule to consider. It could be exciting but I’ve been fighting the inevitable solo vacation. As I write this post, I’m trying to figure out the source of my reluctance.

My concerns:

*I will be lonely and miss having a companion to share experiences with

*I won’t meet people, said the somewhat shy ambivert

*I will dine alone at every meal and will feel awkward

*If it’s night and I’m lost in a place where I don’t speak the language, I’ll be in harm’s way.

Fortunately, others who have faced the same fears have come up with ways to overcome them.

I reviewed the alternatives to solo travel. Organized group travel – even when the trips are geared to singles – don’t appeal to me at present. Finding friends to travel with is not always easy, as they often want to travel with their spouse or partners. And single friends may not always like the same kind of trips or have the same budget.

Since my divorce, I have been fortunate to have my daughter as a travel companion. We’ve had some great trips but her life is busy now and she’s not always available to travel with me. This surfaced recently as I discussed taking a much needed spring trip. It appeared she would not be able to come this time.

So I bit the bullet and reframed my sadness over not having a travelling partner as an opportunity to finally experience solo travel. Baby steps I told myself. No need to jump into a solo vacation with a 5-week backpacking trip through Thailand or a several month journey through Mexico. I decided I would be better off starting my solo travel experiences stateside where I could speak the language. And given the long, grey winter; the idea of a beach vacation seemed perfect. I decided to focus on Florida and hoped to find an area I had not been to before.

There was much agonizing over the specific beach town, the type of hotel, the type of city/community, etc. I didn’t want to blow my vacation budget on a luxury resort experience in Florida. With other more exotic trips on my bucket list, I needed to be mindful of my travel dollars. I also wasn’t sure that as a single traveler, I’d be comfortable in a fancy place. I’d have no problem enjoying a luxury hotel with a travel buddy but I was looking for a relaxed, casual vibe this time. I thought a smaller hotel/motel would be less intimidating. Similarly, I wanted a low-key town where I could wander into a café or tiki bar and feel comfortable by myself. Think: the opposite of South Beach. And I wanted to be on or close to the beach. I hoped to find a place with a big pool but sadly only the huge, expensive resorts have dreamy infinity pools.

Finally, I found a small hotel right on the beach in a quaint beach town on the Gulf Coast. Booked everything and felt empowered. I had finally done it! My solo travel life was beginning. I texted my daughter the trip details.

“Yay,” she wrote back. And then a couple of minutes later, “I checked my schedule. I can go with you!”

Until next week, happy trip planning, dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Solo Travel Resources:

 

https://solotravelerworld.com

 

http://www.adventurouskate.com

 

https://www.women-on-the-road.com/best-travel-blogs-for-women.html

 

 

My 10 Latest Favorite Things

Blog favorite things photo rose-66501_640

It’s time for another list of my favorite things. The themes today are dating and love (of course), travel, food, and music.

Let’s start with dating and love while enjoying a summer squash frittata with herbs from Bon Appetit. This frittata signifies the way I feel today: “I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer. “

  1. Single Dating Diva

If you are pursuing a dating life, there will be times when you will seek advice from an expert. If you are in a quandary, in addition to reading my posts (of course), check out Single Dating Diva. This award-winning blog, written by Suzie A., who also co-hosts the Sex Love Chat podcast, is a wealth of advice and plain old common sense when it comes to dating and relationships. Today I wanted some tips on body language to support my theory that a guy I went out with twice in 24 hours was in effect sending negative body language signals. Check! Suzie hit the nail on the head.

  1. The Washington Post’s Solo-ish column

With a slogan of “Unmarried, but far from alone,” editor Lisa Bonos and a cadre of freelancers write about the joys and frustrations of a solo life. I like the fact that the essays document the perspectives of people in all age groups. I may laugh or cry when I read Solo-ish. I’m never bored…because, hey, these are my people.

  1. Damn Love

I first learned of this free app and break-up game from The Washington Post’s Solo-ish column (see above). When your love life is not going swimmingly, it’s incredibly satisfying to play a game with a goal of breaking up couples that are madly in love. You have 7 rounds to break up a couple. During a round, you choose one of two actions that might cause “a problem” in a romance. After the last round, the player who caused the most problems wins. Each time you play, you are given a rank from Unpleasant to Revolting. You can choose your opponents and even chat with them.

Try it when you’re feeling disgusted by the state of your love life; enjoy the evil thrill of dissolution!

  1. Only Pack What You Can Carry: My Path to Inner Strength, Confidence, and True Self-Knowledge

It was hard to put down Janice Holly Booth’s inspiring book of memoirs and travel essays. She faced her fears and the challenges of some tough medical issues while developing a philosophy of life centered around solitude and introspection.

  1. Solo Traveler Blog

Read this blog and web site for solo travel ideas, tips, and inspiration.

  1. Barking up the Wrong Tree

I love this science-based blog by Eric Barker on “how to be awesome at life.” Recent topics include “imposter syndrome,” rituals that will make you happy, and the power of empathy. Chances are you have wondered or worried about most of the issues Barker tackles.

  1. Brainpickings

Maria Popova’s describes her website and newsletter as a collection of “interestingness.” Brainpickings weaves psychology, history, philosophy, art, science and other disciplines to painstakingly examine creativity, love, art, writing, happiness, and culture. Everything is sourced, linked, and illustrated. Read it when you have the time to click on the links and ponder the truths.

  1. Million Mile Secrets

If you want to learn how to earn and redeem airline miles and hotel points, read this blog by Daraius Dubash and Emily Jablon. It’s a great resource for beginning and experienced “miles and points” collectors.

  1. Jazz violinist Chelsey Green

If you haven’t heard Chelsey Green’s dynamic jazz violin playing, get yourself to iTunes and download a treat. I saw her perform at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. The audience went wild and gave her a standing ovation.

  1. Bitches who Brunch

You’ve got to love the name of this blog. I found it by accident one day when searching for a new brunch place. Love the tone and the reviews. You can search for brunch by city (DC, New York, or Chicago) and now the website offers extras such as reviews of plays, recipes, and more.

What are your favorite things? Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Single Lady Sings the Holiday Blues

silhouhette smaller for holiday blog

The blues ain’t nothin’ but a pain in your heart

When you get a bad start, you and your man have to part

I ain’t gonna just sit around and cry

                      Lady Sings the Blues, Billie Holiday

It’s Labor Day on Monday – not a religious or sentimental holiday – and yet, I’m wondering if I’ll have the holiday blues. What single person doesn’t know about this affliction?

Since my separation and divorce, I’ve lived through 32 major holidays — Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah, New Year’s Eve/Day and Valentine’s Day. This will be the 33rd.

And that’s the key, isn’t it? I lived through them.

Some may argue that Valentine’s Day isn’t a major holiday but when you’re separated, divorced, or frustrated by the single dating life, a lack of a Valentine honey can be depressing.

And Labor Day always seems to remind me of intact family and relationship celebrations.

But I’m not going to wallow here. I’m going to tell you about some good post separation/divorce holidays I HAVE had and give you an action plan to prevent or at least help you cope with the blues. While we discuss this plan, let’s have some of Tori Avey’s Black-eyed pea burgers.

Last Valentine’s Day was the first one since my divorce in which I had a date. It was a good thing since I had recently endured a breakup with Mr. L, a man I had been seeing.

I wasn’t head over heels in love with my Valentine’s date and we only went out once after that but on February 14 we were both in the mood for a romantic celebration. We went to dinner and a play. He brought me chocolates and wore a dapper suit. I wore a red dress. Despite the freezing cold and snow, we had a good time.

The Valentine’s date was preceded by Hanukah and New Year’s Eve celebrations with family and Mr. L (even though we were too new for a “family meet.”) So I got a taste of the type of celebration I had been craving – a mix of family and a romantic interest. And that was a good feeling – even if I couldn’t duplicate it on every holiday. It provided hope and a sense that there was a “turnaround” in the way life events could play out for me as a single woman.

So what can one do to prevent or lessen the holiday blues? It’s not DNA sequencing science and hopefully you will get some new ideas or start thinking of your own tactics. (Side note: Since Labor Day is the day after tomorrow, some of these tips will be more useful to you for future holidays.)

12 Tips to Prevent the Holiday Blues:

  1. Make plans. In advance. At least a week before the holiday, reach out to friends or any family living locally to see if they can get together for an evening out, unless you are planning to entertain. See Tip #2.
  2. Host a gathering – whether dinner or a game night (on TV or a board game). Make sure to invite your single friends who may also suffer from the holiday blues.
  3. If you’re feeling brave, plan to get out of town on a solo travel adventure. Check out these resources for ideas and possible companions:

Wandermates

Solos Vacations

Brown Girls Fly

Meet Plan Go

Wanderful

Girls that Travel

Journey Woman

Girl about the Globe

Only Pack What You Can Carry

  1. Sign up for a Meetup event.  The closer it gets to a holiday, the more Meetup activities are scheduled. You’re not the only one at risk of the holiday blues.
  2. Commit to an engrossing project:
  • Organize your music downloads
  • Create a new music mix file for the gym
  • Purge and clean out your closet and pack up stuff to give away or sell
  • Organize photos into albums
  • If weather allows, plant or weed a garden
  1. If you enjoy arts and/or crafts, commit to a one or two-day project. Plan in advance and get any needed materials. Listen to music, have a glass of wine, and create!
  2. Plan a reading or TV series marathon. Make sure it’s a book or show that will transport you. Periodic escapism is healthy.
  3. If stores are open, shop. Retail therapy in moderation and within budget is therapeutic. You will be where people are even if you don’t know them and that might make you feel better.
  4. Work on improving or refreshing your dating profile. Join a new dating site or rejoin a site you cancelled because no one was on it. New guys are always joining. And holiday weekends are active times for online daters, perhaps because everyone has a touch of holiday blues.  Consider joining a crazy niche dating site you haven’t tried such as Bristlr.
  5. Stay up late and watch old romantic movies.  Throw caution to the wind and rent a pay per view film.
  6. Schedule a massage the day before a holiday (unless you can get one ON the holiday). A good massage = lovely.
  7. Go to the gym and exercise like crazy. You won’t be the only one there. Make those endorphins work overtime.

Whatever you do, don’t pay bills, organize old family photos (that include ones with your –ex), or do anything that is not fun and uplifting.

Let me know if you ever get the holiday blues and share ways you cope.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating,

XXXOOO

Nadia