Instead of going on my honeymoon, namely because I am recently and unfortunately single, I would like to take the time to treat myself to a vacation.
March 21, 2007 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Instead of going on my honeymoon, namely because I am recently and unfortunately single, I would like to take the time to treat myself to a vacation.

I don't know that there's no hope for my prior relationship, but given the circumstances, I believe it's best for me to move forward with my life. Unfortunately, that is difficult to do whilst I share an address, bills, and other such sundries with her. Since I had already requested the time off and budgeted for a trip, I can't think of a better way to get back on my feet socially than to be on vacation. There's just one problem: where do I go?

I am looking for a vacation that keeps my age, 34, and my newly single status in mind. I am not looking to find a date, not even for a vacation romance. That said, I would like to not be reminded of marriage, children, or family. I want to have fun, but what I consider fun may not be on par with others my age. I don't drink, but I am smoking like a chimney while I go through this. I don't go out to bars for fun. I don't enjoy dance clubs or even dancing. I would enjoy a philanthropic vacation, volunteer work, or even an educational vacation, but know little about such things as I have literally never taken a vacation in my adult life. What would you suggest for a man in my shoes? (Not going on vacation is a perfectly useful response.)

And yes, mea culpa. For those who saw this coming in my previous questions with regard to my relationship, your points were never any clearer than they are now.
posted by sequential to Travel & Transportation (28 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
We're heading off on a hiing/kayaking/diving trip in Baja California next month. We've had a stressful work year thus far and this will really get us away from all that - good weather, exercise, outdoors all day, spending time with other couples/groups, no computers or telephones (or kids!) anywhere near us. Having done trips like this one in the past, I can suggest something similar will really blow the cobwebs away.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:19 AM on March 21, 2007

How about something kind of out in left field like to spend a week or two in a monastery. A lot of monasteries will let people (secular or not) stay for periods of time. You often live very simply, doing chores, being silent, spending a lot of time alone.
If this idea doesn't deeply depress you, it might be a good opportunity to spend some time being your own person.
Here is one that I have heard good things about.
posted by heh3d at 11:20 AM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ecovolunteer nature travel and Road Scholar seem to have interesting, educational travel programs that might be perfect for you.
posted by logic vs love at 11:28 AM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

So sorry. Good luck getting through this.

Volunteering - you could pick a country you'd like to visit, then search through Lonely Planet thorntree fora (or post a question) asking for great short term volunteer opportunities. The refugee camp at Mae Sot (or the health clinic there) on the Thai/Burmese border could be cool - I know people volunteer there.

Traveling - I find that traveling (even solo) can be excellent rejuvenation. You could just do your road trip across the country. Or you could go someplace like Laos, and chill in a relaxing town there. I like to mix adventure with relaxation so that I don't get bored, but I do feel rested.
posted by n'muakolo at 11:33 AM on March 21, 2007

I don't know that there's no hope for my prior relationship, but given the circumstances, I believe it's best for me to move forward with my life. Unfortunately, that is difficult to do whilst I share an address, bills, and other such sundries with her.

I would actually suggestion moving on with your life before you plan on a vacation. Taking a trip to escape your current situation won't actually solve anything and, when you return, you're going to be in the same spot you previously were. Even day dreaming about this vacation (which I assume will be on the time you originally setup as your honeymoon) is an escape that might not bear fruit. Once you get your own place, fix the bills, untie your financial assets and all that other fun stuff, what you need then won't be the same thing you need now. I take it that you're planning for a vacation for the summer. Considering how nasty these kinds of breakups can be, you might actually enjoy a cheesy kind of holiday such as a tropical resort or some mountain vista rather than a working holiday. Or, hell, even just moving out and taking the time off from work to reclaim the city you live in as your own will be beneficial. Basically, give yourself the space now so that when you do take a trip this summer, you won't be fixated on 'i was suppose to be on my honeymoon now' and instead you'll be doing something you'll actually enjoy.
posted by Stynxno at 11:52 AM on March 21, 2007

seconding Stynxno, that you attend to your present situation prior to planning an escape. I once quit smoking cold turkey for two weeks (I was smoking a pack a day at the time) because I was on vacation. Felt awesome - an amazing sense of purpose and cleanliness, clarity, it was a new me! As soon as I returned from my vacation and got back to my day-to-day life, the cigarettes came back. The conclusion I drew was that it's easier to wrest yourself from unpleasant, unhealthy, or simply unavailable patterns of thought and behavior while on vacation, and it CAN be a pleasant relief, but you've got bigger fish to fry at the moment.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2007

Join the Surfrider Foundation, go on a cleanup or other save-the-ocean activity they have, in some fantastic corner of the world (Indonesia, Tahiti, Australia, etc.) and learn to surf. It's good for the soul and will change your life. No couples, no kids, no distractions. You will fall in love with the ocean. Trust me.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:04 PM on March 21, 2007

So sorry for you.

When I separated from my wife, I went ahead on a trip we had planned to Disneyworld with my parents and some close friends. Mostly b/c I already had the tickets. But I think your concern about not being reminded of family stuff is valid.

Why not just hop in the car and drive? See something fabulous in nature out west, or come east and do a tour of civil war battlefields or something. Perhaps something your ex would have found boring and never have wanted to be a part of, but you're interested in.
posted by stevis23 at 12:09 PM on March 21, 2007

When my longtime living-together girlfriend left me it just so happened that I was supposed to go to Costa Rica in two weeks with some friends of mine. It was wonderful. I absolutely recommend it.

Hit me back via profile if you want advice about where to go in CR.
posted by rbs at 12:15 PM on March 21, 2007

I was in a somewhat similar situation and I found that the experience of traveling has dulled/distanced the emotional component a bit.

I basically showed up in Europe and backpacked around for 3 weeks. The fact that I had no plans (besides a ticket booked home), no itinerary, no travel companion and no obligations was very liberating. New experiences pushed the unfortunate reason for me being there out of the way. I actually looked forward to coming home.

I think you should deal with things after you get back. You'll relax a bit and have a new perspective (maybe).

Good luck.
posted by aeighty at 12:17 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I agree that taking a vacation to put some emotional distance between you is probably a good idea. Feel free to blow all your vacation money irresponsibly, too, because it doesn't matter if she thinks you're a hypocrite now!
posted by Mr. Gunn at 12:34 PM on March 21, 2007

If you like long walks and thinking with amazing scenery I'll recommend The West Highland Way in Scotland. It takes about a week to walk at ten miles or so a day. I combined it with the Great Glen Way and walked all the way from Milngavie to Inverness over two weeks. Check the weather for the time of year you'd be going, since it's not so much fun hiking in the rain for long periods of time. I did it by myself and found it great, though I was walking alone almost the whole way.
posted by princelyfox at 1:08 PM on March 21, 2007

You might read Honeymoon with my Brother, a book about a guy who turned a similar situation into an adventure.
posted by judith at 1:09 PM on March 21, 2007

Being an introvert I prefer retreats where I can hike around and have minimal contact with human beings. Rent a cabin and take some pictures of nature. Alot of parks have cabins with electricity and kitchens so taking a laptop is possible and you can keep your food expenses to a minimum. Since spring is just getting started finding a cabin right now should not be too hard.

posted by Wong Fei-hung at 1:29 PM on March 21, 2007

If you can get away by yourself for awhile, without blowing all your money, a break could give both you and your former paramour the emotional distance to carry forward on the dissolution of your relationship, when you return, with a modicum of grace. That would be incredibly useful. And I think it might be good if you went somewhere that would allow you the solitude of your own thoughts, and the general sense of well-being that comes from simply taking good care of oneself for a short period.

If your location is still New England, a few days on Martha's Vineyard, or even Nantucket at this time of year can be a time for some relatively frugal reflection. Cape Cod and the islands are still nearly deserted this time of year, and the Gray Lady's mood may suit you perfectly.

But you'll have some new expenses coming up, and returning with some peace in your soul, and some ducats in your bank, could be the wisest course. Get your money seperated, pronto, though, as community funds are easily squandered and squabbled over in such situations.
posted by paulsc at 1:40 PM on March 21, 2007

I don't have a destination suggestion but I think it sounds like a great idea. Distance is great for providing a new context in which to view your situation. And a sporty one sounds like a particularly great idea. Should you find on your holiday that you really love, say, biking it may provide a good opportunity to have something to do away from home when you get back (assuming you have to still live together for financial reasons or whatever).
posted by birdie birdington at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2007

A few friends of mine have done volunteer-abroad programs through Global Vision International and have raved about it. They have so many programs, there might be something you'd be interested in.

I absolutely think a vacation would be a great idea for you. When I had a long-term relationship bite the dust a few years ago, I picked up and traveled for a few weeks and it was the best decision I could ever have made. It gave me time to reflect and reassess what had gone on independent of all the emotional stuff that can bog you down at home.
posted by drycleanonly at 1:52 PM on March 21, 2007

in case the people suggesting you deal with everything now are winning: rumor has it the best way to deal with a rough situation is to ignore it for a while and go have some fun, then come back to the situation when you're in a more stable state of mind and do what you have to. You can't accomplish much when you're still reeling.
posted by soma lkzx at 1:54 PM on March 21, 2007

Getting away for a while doesn't seem like a bad idea to me... sure, your problems will all be there when you get back, but how is that really worse than them all being here right now...

The thought that occurs with respect to philanthropic, volunteer or educational vacations is that these seem like contexts where you might be getting a lot of questions about your life. So you have to consider how much you want to talk about things, or withhold them (people do love to ask about one's relationships so chances are you would have to be seriously dodging the facts to answer such questions, maybe not conducive to keeping your mind off it).
posted by nanojath at 1:56 PM on March 21, 2007

Sorry it didn't work out for ya.

The only thing I'd be worried about is traveling alone, and not for safety or security reasons. Have you ever done that before? Nothing reminds you so much that you are single as going on vacation by yourself. If you've done it a lot, you adapt and it's not a problem, but it is tough to go by yourself the first time. If you're an extrovert and enjoy meeting new people, then you stand a better chance. If you're more introverted, you won't have a good time standing on the sidelines watching everyone else have the fun.

I would recommend visiting friends who live far away and who you might not usually see. They can entertain you and show you around their town and you can catch up with them.

My other suggestion, if you're going alone would be to do something you always wanted to do that you can sign up for a group tour. (hiking the Grand Canyon, climbing a mountain, spelunking, you get the idea) You won't feel so alone and they'll have lots of things for you to do.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:27 PM on March 21, 2007

A few months after I got divorced, I went to Burning Man with a few of my oldest friends. It was the perfect thing for me, though maybe not a fit for everybody.
posted by ga$money at 3:01 PM on March 21, 2007

I am sorry about your relationship. That said, we know what you don't like but what do you like? I just got back from two weeks in Australia as sort of a work/vacation trip. I like to drive and ride around in cars and meet people so me and my sister and a friend did the Great Ocean Road and stayed in little hotels along wht way. I saw scenery I never would have seen and got out of urban Australia. I also went to a few meetups which were fun and a great way to meet some new people without feeling like I was in a dating situation. This may not be for you (expensive ticket and maybe hard to not smoke for the 12 hour plane ride) but worth using to spark your imagination.

Another fun travel trip I did a while back was to take the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry up the inside passage to and from Alaska. It's not cheap, but pretty simple. You fly in to Seattle, get a shuttle or hitch a ride to Bellingham, and then get on a ferry for a week, up and back. You can get a room or sleep on the deck. You'll meet people, but again it's not the love boat. You can smoke outside. Thereis, however, very little Internet and not much cell phone service so if you don't like being out of touch it might not be for you. If that's your idea of heaven, it's great. The cabins are nice and worth the money, but sleeping on the deck is also fun. I've done both, email in profile if you want more info.

I find in these types of situations it's good to get some stupid idea that is just an excuse to get out of the house ("I'm going to go see every state library in New England!" would be the sort of stupid idea I'd have) and then just plan a trip around that. You'll wind up seeing a bunch more interesting stuff than just the original plan, and you'll get out with yourself and maybe find out some other stuff you'd like.

If you'd at all consider a Burning Man trip however, let me know. I'd be up for a New England --> Burning Man trip in six months....
posted by jessamyn at 3:54 PM on March 21, 2007

Vegas. Without a doubt.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:40 PM on March 21, 2007

Don't do the mad expensive international trip. You'll need the cash to set up your own pad upon your return.

I'd suggest that you pick a big city on the opposite side of the country, pull out $800 in cash, hop in the car, and drive toward it. Stay the fuck off the interstate, as you'll see nothing there but the ubiquitous midwestern road-town (I grew out there, I know).

Doing 55 on the state highway system, you can get as far as the Rockies in a week from Boston. Or, up into Canada.
posted by Netzapper at 5:58 PM on March 21, 2007

I have to recommend combining two of the suggestions above. I did Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica and it was awesome. Very cool, got to see the sites, do some great work, meet some fun people, low pressure.
posted by jeanmari at 6:04 PM on March 21, 2007

Word of warning. Given that she has the run of the place, and a bunch of things in your joint names, do you trust her with all that while you're away for two weeks? Because from what I've learned about your ex from previous posts, I sure as hell wouldn't. You might come back and find the ex gone, a thousand dollar phone bill and grandmama's silverware missing.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:24 PM on March 21, 2007

Seconding that--don't go anywhere until she's out and you've changed the locks.
posted by brujita at 9:46 PM on March 21, 2007

I've always thought Earthwatch trips sounded interesting. Maybe somthing in their catalog will strike you. Or, an Outward Bound course seems like it could be a good experience for you at this time.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:52 PM on March 21, 2007

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