When one is newly divorced, there is the dilemma of where to go on vacation. Do you repeat family trips that you did while still married, or start different types of adventures with the kids? Is it sad or reassuring to follow vacation rituals from pre-divorce?
A little over a year after my divorce, my healthy mother had a quick series of vascular events and ended up in Hospice. My two sons and I already had a week cruise to Alaska scheduled and Hospice insisted that we go on it, since we were on the verge of breakdowns. This time was so special and we bonded over having normal conversations again that did not involve death. The incredible scenery and other passengers were just the tonic we needed at this point.
Before she had her medical crisis, my mother had demanded that we go on a Christmas/New Year’s cruise to Australia and New Zealand (I am an only child). While on board the ship in Alaska, it seemed like she was whispering in my ear to book the holiday trip for my two sons and me. Holland America kept saying that there was availability, but the pricing was not correct. They had to give the cruise to us at the price listed on their computer, which was three for the price of one passenger! The day this happened turned out to be the very day my mother passed away. That was her parting gift to us. My travel agent later said that this nominal cost was unbelievable.
What a special adventure this turned out to be and a more pleasant way of spending our first Christmas without her company. We flew into Auckland, NZ, checked into our ship, and threw our luggage into our cabin. Several people told us before we left, that a magical island caught in the fifties, was a short ferry ride from Auckland. Indeed Waiheke was a fantasy of laid back people in a breath taking environment. The coffee shop, beach, and plethora of flowers just banished any blues. This was our second Christmas since my divorce and we decided to start new rituals.
Distraction is a way to divert energy from worrying about troubles, into having positive experiences. There were plenty of diversions, such as going to a wildlife center, a farm to watch sheep shearing, and learning about Maori culture and that was just the first port of call. New Zealand has warm people, stunning fiords, and Napier which is an Art Deco city. We went from a horrible marriage, my mother’s death, to laughing and viewing life as more light-hearted.
Consider going on a cruise to break away from past rituals when starting your life anew post-divorce. A single divorced pal did a similar Christmas/New Year’s cruise and loved the festivities and not needing dates for dances. The ship’s décor and live holiday musical performances was exactly the pampering I required. The three to five course meals were delicious and I did not have any cleaning up to do. The Christmas decorations were lovely and we did not have the chore of packing them away. Sometimes one’s energy levels are lower after a crisis, so it was fabulous to enjoy the holidays without any work.
Sailing into the Sydney harbor and docking next to the opera house was one item to check off my bucket list. Walking along the harbor, meeting Aboriginals, and listening to their haunting music went right to my soul. The boys learned so much about early world exploration, historical treks to the South Pole, and Polynesian Culture. This trip taught us how important adventures are post-divorce, whether they are in Oz, or one town away. Seeking new experiences gets the focus off yourself and woes, and instead, discovering what is so magnificent around you.
On a later trip, Holland America had a raffle to win a cruise for two. I knew beyond a doubt if a bought a second set of raffle tickets that I would win it. I am the person who never wins anything, including school prizes. You guessed it, I won the trip on that second batch of raffle tickets. Adding a third person cost almost nothing. After doing a happy dance, my sons picked out a cruise to Croatia, Greece, and Turkey. We bonded again during that last summer before Empty Nest. Consider taking a journey, no matter how close to home, before your youngest flies the nest.