Getting away post-divorce is just the ticket to rebooting your life and making a fresh start. My post-divorce journeys were both internal and external as in “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. After being divorced for a few months, I felt like running away and that I did – to South Africa.
It was a nurses’ tour, so I balanced alone time with camaraderie. This took me out of familiar surroundings and into the unknown. That is a way to focus on something else other than one’s woes. The other travelers asked me questions that were not directed by my divorce situation.
Friends at home kept reminding me of my new single circumstance, it was great to be away from that. And, seeing lions, elephants and more in their natural habitat leaves one with a sense of awe. It was an honor to be temporarily a part of their world.
The obstacles in my life became smaller after seeing what these animal mothers endure, with poachers, hunters, and illegal snare traps.
Teens can be a handful in the best of circumstances and more so after divorce. Near Cape Town is a penguin colony and their adolescents reminded us tour members of our kids. These young penguins were acting cool and huddled in a group. They would yell when younger siblings tried to join them. If a parent started to come over to them, these juvenile penguins turned their backs and ignored the adults. Sound familiar? Lesson learned was being able to laugh at these penguin adolescents enabled me to find my sons more amusing.
The women in Africa were building huts, foraging for food and had a rough existence by our Western standards, yet seemed very happy. That put my life in perspective. I became more grateful for what I had and readjusted my attitude. Several divorced women have surprised themselves by achieving feats such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or doing treks in Africa. Getting out of your comfort zone refreshes one’s outlook especially when in the midst of great scenery.
Fast forward one year and things were falling apart. My mother was at the end of her life in Hospice. My ex-husband was taking me to court on a regular basis since our son was refusing to go to visitation after his older brother had stopped at eighteen. I was on a verge of a breakdown when I went on another nurses’ trip, this time to Jordan.
It was a life changing experience seeing Petra which was a setting for an Indiana Jones movie. Climbing a steep mountain increased my self-esteem as did other challenges. Gazing across the Gaza Strip reaffirmed that I am not the only person with difficulties. The other nurses were so nurturing and supportive, sharing worse divorce stories than mine. This gave me hope that my life would get better too.
Going to Wadi Rum where “Lawrence of Arabia” was filmed was incredibly beautiful. I was like a speck of sand in this vastness. That was what I required to gain some clarity that I am part of an extended global community. We are not alone but connected to billions of others.
The first year of my divorce I just needed to be out of the country to feel a sense of freedom. My mother treated my two sons and me to a cruise in the Mediterranean. We could relax and increase our bond as a trio. We had time to discuss our hopes and dreams in this tranquil setting. Walking around the deck enabled us to reconnect without the distractions and interruptions at home. Sailing by stunning Croatia recharged our batteries and we were able to face the chaos in this new episode of life. This was our last trip with my late mother, so we especially appreciate this fun escapade with her.
You can travel one town away or enjoy a day of hiking close to where you live. Adventures can be nearby as well as in far-flung places. Get out of your immediate environment and appreciate different scenery to put your life in perspective. Get distracted and have some fun. Post-divorce can be a serious and stressful time when finding a new home, job and more. Discovering new places and adding pleasure to your agenda benefits your health and well-being.
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