What should a married mom, mid-30s, do with the windfall of a week away from all responsibilities?
March 7, 2012 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Due to a rejiggering of my work responsibilities, I have some time off. I can do whatever I want with this time. It's kind of a fantasy scenario, but there are a couple of limitations. Please help me not squander this opportunity! Here are the parameters -

*Assume I will need to go alone, as partner needs to stay home with the kids (don't worry, he'll get his turn!) and I doubt any of my friends can just drop their responsibilities for a week.

*I think I can stand to be away from my kids for up to about one week, hence the time limit.

*Money is available in proportion to the awesomeness of the return on investment. (E.g. I couldn't justify holing up in the Four Seasons and ordering room service for a week, because that wouldn't be awesome enough to justify the cost. But I'd shell out $$$ for something amazing.)

*I used to travel to Europe by myself in my 20s, and I had a great time, but I feel like as a working person in my mid 30s I'd be out of place in the hostel/backpackers scene now. (Tell me if I'm wrong!)

*I want to Do Something with this time, something to make great memories and/or truly refresh the spirit. (I.e. I'd consider something like a silence retreat too, rather than an overseas trip.)

*I'm in fine health and love walking, but I need to be safe (e.g. no hiking the Appalachian trail alone, my friend's friend was murdered doing that.) I also love, love, love snorkeling, but am not sure that a trip to a tropical beachy place would be fun or safe alone. Would it? I have a whole list of beachy places with reefs I've wanted to explore, including Roatan, the Caymans, Belize, etc; but are these destinations to consider for a trip alone?

*I live on the west coast of the USA, but I'd travel just about anywhere; again, difficulty would have to be in proportion to the awesomeness. (Like if you think my perfect destination is in India or something, tell me! - but it'd need to be damn good to justify that length of flight.)

*I used to travel by myself in my 20s, as I said, but I'm way out of the habit, and I'm worried that if I just, like, fly to a strange city and explore it the way I used to do, that it won't be fun now -- that now that I'm too old for hostels (?) I'd wind up in lonely in hotels, eating dinners by myself, having nothing to do until it's time to go to bed, etc. Is there an alternative?

*If I go with your suggestion, I'll send you a postcard if you want! I'm excited just to be writing this out - thank you for helping!
posted by fingersandtoes to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think snorkeling can work if you do some sort of day/multi-day package deal, so that you are together with a group of other snorkelers. I wouldn't just snorkel alone off a beach. I don't think that's safe unless you are somewhere with safe conditions and crowded enough that other snorkelers are within shouting range. In my experience (on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia), packages range from cheap-ish ones on huge boats with hundreds of other people (ugh) to small groups on smaller boats, where there's a max of 10 people and a guide or two. It's the latter I'm recommending.
posted by lollusc at 8:07 PM on March 7, 2012

Oh and for other ideas of things to do, maybe take a look at this recent post?
posted by lollusc at 8:09 PM on March 7, 2012

Go to Costa Rica and learn how to surf!
Or go somewhere else in the Caribbean and learn how to scuba dive!
Learning things make stuff feel very 'worthwhile' - you get the fun of doing something fun, and the satisfaction of a new skill you can use later. Also, taking lessons in something gives you a built-in social aspect, so that you won't feel too 'alone', unless you want to feel alone.

And being in your mid-thirties at a youth hostel might be odd, but being in your mid-thirties anywhere else won't be. (I'm 35 and travel alone all the time.)
posted by Kololo at 8:09 PM on March 7, 2012

Hawaii is easy from the West Coast, it's beachy and wonderful and there are tons of snorkeling opportunities (group and otherwise), and I bet you'd feel comfortable alone. It would be fun and relaxing, though not terribly exciting in terms of adventure-level. But maybe that's exactly what you're looking for?
posted by charmcityblues at 8:36 PM on March 7, 2012

Best answer: Surf Divas!

I am on the iPad and too incompetent to do links, but Surf Divas! You'll learn to surf with some cool women from all over.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:50 PM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

These are all good ideas. I just want to say to your point that you can't go to Europe alone in your 30s - I went to Amsterdam by myself when I was 39 and had a wonderful time. You don't have to hang out in the hostel/backpacker scene - you can get a nice hotel and relax and wander the city at your own pace. It's delightful.
posted by judith at 9:31 PM on March 7, 2012

Best answer: I just came back from here: Slickrock Adventures

It was very awesome indeed. However, you didn't say when your time frame was - this place is closed from sometime in May until November for hurricane season.

If you love snorkeling, you will love this.
posted by bluesky78987 at 9:35 PM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Someday I'm going to do a hiking tour of the Alps, where I walk all day and then check into a hotel at night. The tour I'll be doing it with will have driven my suitcase to the hotel for me, so all I'll have to carry will be a small backpack with my lunch and my camera.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:00 AM on March 8, 2012

lollusc's mention of "small groups on smaller boats" reminded me of this article on small cruises along the Turkish coast - typically 6-10 people. It sounds like it fits the bill - great memories, not entirely alone, some walking and swimming if you want.
posted by kristi at 9:53 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm going on a Slickrock trip! Thank you MeFi and especially bluesky!
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:17 PM on April 7, 2012

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