Vacationing Post-Divorce: It’s About the Journey Not the Destination

As you move beyond divorce, you may find yourself faced with a series of firsts. Celebrating your first birthday, first Christmas, or first vacation as a newly single person is a rite of passage. Establishing new traditions for yourself (and for your family, if you have children) is an important part of moving forward post-divorce. When it comes to vacation, you may discover that going where you want, when you want without having to coordinate with someone else’s schedule and personal preferences is freeing –if a bit intimidating.

Your getaway doesn’t have to deplete your savings or exhaust your PTO. A weekend road trip to visit your favorite aunt can be just as restorative as a month-long exotic escape to Hawaii. An escape from your daily norm can be both fun and therapeutic, and may be just what you need as you relaunch into life. Consider these ways to make the most of your first post-divorce vacation.

Create new memories: Always dreamed of lounging on the beaches of Bali or strolling through the streets of Rome? Now’s your chance. Start the next chapter of your life by traveling to a locale where you’ve always wanted to go. Ask a friend or family member to join you, or consider signing on with tour group and make new friends along the way. Need some inspiration to plan your trip? Check out these top 10 destinations.

Reconnect: Marriages sometimes cause separation from friends and family. Now is the time to rekindle those relationships. Consider traveling to see an old friend or family members who you haven’t visited in a while. Reuniting with people who knew you before you married can remind you of essential parts of yourself that you may have set aside while you were married.

Relax and recharge. Taking a vacation after divorce has numerous physical and emotional benefits. Not only can it reduce stress, it may inspire creativity and help you get a better night’s sleep! Consider splurging on a vacation destination that allows for maximum R&R such as spa or resort that features activities like yoga, meditation, and massage.

Gain clarity. If divorce has left you stressed out and stuck in negative emotions, getting away from it all can help. “Stress causes hormones such as cortisol to rise. We go into the Flight or Fight mode and it is hard to think clearly and make rational decisions,” says Wendi Schuller, author of “Taking a vacation can help one to see a circumstance from a different perspective.” Schuller suggests a change of scenery that offers a different cultural experience that removes you from your norm.

Challenge yourself. If divorce left you feeling uncertain of yourself, now’s the time to find the courage to do things you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try. When we overcome our fears, we are left with a sense of confidence that can extend to all aspects of life. Whether it’s skydiving or simply overcoming anxiety about being alone for the weekend, finding the strength to conquer that fear can boost your self-esteem.

Renew your spirit. Restore your sense of self by heading out on a retreat. You don’t even have to roam far. Many religious and spiritual groups offer weekend courses, some even especially geared toward people who are divorced or going through divorce.

Find focus. Getting away from your daily work and home routine can help you focus on the present. If you’re vacationing with your children, this may be an important time to let go of your divorce drama and be truly present with them.

Learn something new. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t engage your brain. If you always longed to make fresh pasta, paint with watercolors, or  fly on a trapeze, there’s a vacation destination for you. Check out unique vacation options for culinary classes, artistic getaways, foreign language immersion, or sampling salsa dancing.

Whether you decide to travel alone, road trip with your best friends, or join a singles tour group, allowing yourself a change of scenery can help you gain a fresh perspective on life. It might even lead you to your next great adventure.