A vacation alone

 

Have you ever taken a vacation alone?

Over the years, my answer to this question has changed. As a kid – no way. As a teenager and college student – hell yes. As a wife and mother – why would I?

Last year, I took a vacation alone. I went surfing for a week in Costa Rica. When I decided to go, I didn’t really think much about the fact that I would be traveling by myself. I craved the time alone but I was returning to a familiar place with familiar faces. I was returning to surf camp. En route to Costa Rica, it dawned on me that this was my first solo vacation. I assumed that I must have traveled alone in my college or post-college days but I never did.

I needed the time away from home and for myself. I have learned that I definitely have to carve out “me” time in order to recharge, and I fiercely protect this time. There are so many demands on my time and attention and so many people that I want to care for and support that it can become overwhelming. I am the first to admit that sometimes I need a break from parenthood, work and life. Having this time alone to take care of myself lets me regroup and reset so that I can (hopefully) be a better wife/mom/friend. 

So have you or would you take a vacation by yourself?

Comments

  1. says

    I would definitely take a vacation alone. What a wonderful solo vaca to costa rica – for surf camp, no less. You are right – we do need ‘me’ time. Its important. Because it helps us recenter and refocus (especially if you are playing superwoman in your daily life), thus while the ‘me’ is why people enjoy me (I hope). Its important to be ‘me’ around those people. Did that make sense? It does in my head.

    • says

      Totally makes sense and totally get that. It’s hard to be really “you” or “me” if we’re constantly pulled in 6 million directions and don’t have a chance to recenter. The week away was pretty incredible and I’m really glad that I went because it gave me that time to focus on me.

  2. says

    I have taken time alone for a vacation, but it was nowhere exotic, just visiting a friend in Montreal. Honestly, I could so go for a week on the beach with the ocean before me, and wouldn’t feel an ounce of guilt!

    • says

      I don’t think that it needs to be an exotic vacation or anything. Definitely not what I want to suggest but just like you say – taking some time alone whether it’s a day or a week or however long you can get away but just that time to yourself. I didn’t feel guilty either which, in turn, made me feel a little guilty :-)

  3. says

    That sounds as though it was a wonderful trip for you!

    As a teenager and person in my young twenties, I traveled a lot lone because I was into backpacking so though I sometimes went with friends I often spent many months solo traveling and I loved it.:) It was a whole other experience for me and often presented me with different opportunities than I would have encountered with another person along.:) But I see the value in both ways of travel.

    As for now, as a wife and mother I haven’t traveled alone yet in this phase of my life. I love to be with my husband but I could see perhaps taking a few days somewhere for a special purpose sometime!

    Interesting question!:)

    • says

      Thanks for sharing Colleen. I definitely see the benefits of both traveling alone and with others. You get something unique and different out of each experience and i think that you need those different experiences in your life – they serve different purposes at different points in your life. I figured that people would have traveled alone as a teenager or young 20s as you say since that’s a typical time to do it, right? It’s a different experience all together when we are in this more “settled” phase of life either in a committed relationship, as a parent, etc. I hope that you get to have a few days sometime soon!

  4. says

    That is awesome that you did a solo trip to Costa Rica! I have never ever taken a vacation alone. At this point in my life, with 2 toddlers, it seems like a dream come true but something that won’t happen. Maybe in 20 years! ;)

  5. says

    I took several vacations alone between the ages of 14-18. Then I met my husband. Lets say that most people eventually start looking forward to those again.

  6. says

    This idea pops into my head every now and again. But, just as soon as it comes, it’s gone. I think I just never know what I’d do by myself. I love the idea of going away, to not only get some alone time, but to participate in something that you truly enjoy!

    • says

      I think that going to surf camp provided me with a bit of a safety net if you will. I knew that I wouldn’t truly be alone for the week and that I would be super busy doing something that I love the entire time. That made it a little less scary I think. But there was plenty of downtime which I relished but it was weird at first, to have the peace and quiet, not kids running around and whining and nagging, and to just sit still.

  7. says

    I could really use one of these! I have never been but love this idea. Time to ourselves is healthy and necessary! I practice a little alone time every day by waking up a little earlier than everyone else – but it would be sooooo nice to have a long weekend where I could sleep in and still have that time to myself. Ahhh…

    • says

      Sounds glorious, no? I think for me, the biggest part was having that time to reconnect with myself. It’s so easy to get lost and caught up in our roles as wives, mothers, workers, caregivers, etc. I felt like I had lost touch with myself and what I thought and cared about. It was odd at first to have that quiet time to think and reflect (and uncomfortable too for sure) but it was good to sit with that uncomfortable feeling and be with it.

  8. says

    I don’t think I have ever taken a whole vacation alone (though I certainly wouldn’t mind), but I have taken some day trips and I absolutely loved them!

    Surf camp in Costa Rica sounds awesome.

    • says

      That’s great! I think that it’s less about the length of time one is away but just the fact that there’s that dedicated time to oneself. Different from being away for work or a conference or something. It’s also interesting to hear what people associate with the word “vacation” and how many days constitute a vacation. Surf camp was pretty great. Loved it.

  9. says

    I would totally take a vacay on my own, I wouldn’t be afraid of that at all!

    That said, I do love sharing my experience with family, loved ones and friends too :)

    • says

      Totally get that. I like and appreciate both ways of traveling – alone and with family and friends to share it with. It’s definitely more fun to have those shared experiences with someone else but once in a while it’s nice to get away by yourself!

    • says

      It’s definitely an interesting experience when you just have that time to yourself and you can kind of strip away those other roles we carry around and just be. It’s hard at first but then it’s kind of nice to settle into a rhythm that’s your own.

    • says

      It is lovely and definitely think that it”s a different experience than attending a conference or being away by yourself for work. I think it’s about having dedicated time for you and doing whatever it is that you want to do.

    • says

      Totally get that and I agree – I like being able to have those shared experiences with people. At least for me, I think that it’s a once in a blue moon type thing where I would consider going away completely by myself.

  10. says

    I have NEVER vacationed alone. I always say I want to and never truly do. However, ME time is a must. I usually have one night a week at least that I am on my own, when M works late or goes out or whatever and lately I have not had that night and I am craving it! I think it keeps us balanced!

    • says

      Me time is so important, isn’t it? It does help keep us balance and gives us time to focus on ourselves and our needs without necessarily feeling selfish about it. I think that vacationing alone can be a “scary” proposition and it does take some guts to commit to doing it. Once you do, I think, it’s fine. It’s just the initial push to get going. And for me, going to surf camp didn’t feel like I was traveling alone because I was in an environment where I was surrounded by great people and in a place I loved. So felt different, you know?

  11. says

    I’ve been craving a solo vacation for awhile. As much as I enjoy having friends and family around I enjoy having solo time to recharge. I’m hoping to do a yoga retreat or volunteer trip next year by myself.

    • says

      I hope that you get a chance to do either the yoga retreat or volunteer trip! That sounds great. Solo time to recharge is important, isn’t it?

  12. says

    I have never vacationed alone and don’t really think I would want to…it’s just not me. I do crave alone time and i think a solo staycation is more my style.

    • says

      I hear you. I guess it’s not so much about “going away” per se but about having the solo time that’s important, at least for me. But I do believe that there’s a difference between going away and being in a familiar place that might impact how we spend or use that time alone.

  13. says

    No, I never have. Why the in the world haven’t I? I’m not bad company. Maybe I should look into this…
    Of course, I may do something more tame than surfing like yoga or a spa. :-) I’m afraid of sharks.

  14. says

    I’ve never really wanted to. I cherish my me time, but in small bits. I love to vacation with my husband because we get couple time, but he’s such an introvert (and needs a lot of time to himself) that I get plenty of time by myself when we vacation together. Best of both worlds LOL.

  15. says

    I haven’t taken one alone, but last week I went to a work conference in Leavenworth, WA. I did a lot of work during the day with wonderful colleagues, but for a few hours every afternoon, and each night, I was blissfully alone. Alone in a gorgeous place with a lovely room all to myself. And it was heaven. I would definitely do it again. All of the roles I play are stimulating and joyful in their own ways, but also exhausting in that they all deal with other people. Which means that yes, now I need that time alone here and there to regroup.
    Perhaps I should consider Costa Rica, too…?

    • says

      Yes! I think that Costa Rica would be a great place for you :-)

      What you say about all the different roles you play and how they are stimulating and joyful and exhausting all at the same time definitely resonates with me. That’s why I feel the need to duck away and steal some time alone every once in a while. I find that if it’s been a long time since I last had dedicated alone time, I start to get cranky. It’s kind like Mommy’s time out :-)

  16. says

    I have done many things alone, taking a vacation is not one of them. The closest was when the kids were away and my husband was at work all day. Which was pretty awesome. I think I’d be lonely, but I know there are times when I wish I could go somewhere. Good on you for going! We need to do things that are good just for us.

    • says

      Thanks Shirley! I do think that time alone is time alone. While a different setting and environment might allow us to step outside our normal roles a little bit more, I think that it’s more about the time to recharge and refocus on ourselves that’s important.

  17. says

    Rock on! You are the type of Woman I want to be when I’m settled down. I think it’s so important to take care of yourself no matter what your new role is. I think kids look up to you more if you still show that you have passions outside of them. Your vacation sounds heavenly and I’m glad you enjoyed the time away!

    • says

      Aww, thanks Lynda! I do think that it’s important to show our kids that there’s another side to Mommy and Daddy – not just that of caretaker and nagger and boo kisser, you know? This has made me realize that I guess I’ve always been fiercely independent and that’s a big part of who I am.

  18. says

    I’ve actually thought about taking a vacation alone but never gotten the guts to do it. I guess I should try a mini-vacay though in my head, it was like at a resort in Hawaii. Anyway, it’s an interesting thought and I can’t imagine I wouldn’t get something really beneficial personally out of it.

  19. says

    That’s awesome! Sounds like the perfect getaway. I wouldn’t write it off, but I don’t think I’d ever actually do it. I love me time, but like it in smaller chunks. maybe a mini vacation?

    • says

      Mini vacations totally count. I don’t think that it’s necessarily about the amount of time that you are away – just having that time away to reset and recharge.

  20. says

    I just took one with my husband and it was amazing, but now that we are back in life, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to a yoga retreat or some place in solitude. Yes, if given the chance, I would go somewhere alone and I would not have any guilt. I really wouldn’t.

  21. says

    I.Need.It.

    I have a 7-year old and I’ve been with my awesome husband for 10 years! And I’ve never taken a vacation alone. (It feels like if I was speaking to a support group.) The closest I got was a 5-day conference in Denver back in 2010. Although I went by myself, it wasn’t quite a vacation.

    I got here via SITS and I know you’ve visited my blog already. Thanks! I enjoyed this entry very much and can’t wait to keep on looking around.

  22. says

    Funny that I’m reading this now- I am in the airport waiting to head back home after 5 days alone. Some of it was odd- I’d get pangs thinking “Oh, the boys would LOVE this” or “It would be so nice if Hubs were here with me.” But it was also really nice to just be able to relax and not have to take care of anyone else.

  23. moses says

    My wife had insisted in the last few weeks that she needs to leave for a while to find herself. I believe she may possibly be having an affair because she is constantly on her phone now. If I come around her sheputs it down and in her pocket. I have asked for me to see it which does not happen and turns into an arguement. She is insisting that she is going to leave and says that she is not going to tell me when but I will come home one day and find that she is gone. I am not against her leaving for a couple of days but I am against her leaving right now because I think its to be wit h someone else. I have told her how I feel but she seems not to care. Any advise on what I should do?

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