If you’re a frequent reader of this blog (thank you!) then you probably knew I was embarking on my first solo vacation in over a decade. I got very spontaneous last month and booked a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I didn’t do much research other than knowing I wanted something close, tropical and all-inclusive.
I just returned from said vacation and I’m so glad I did it. I relaxed for the first time in years. I unplugged. I ate well (ie, healthy, not robustly). I drank well (robustly, not healthy). And I worked out every day. Here’s what I learned about myself and about going away solo:
1) It’s awesome being in control of what you do all day. Answering to no one but yourself. I slept when I wanted. Woke when I wanted. Went to the pool or beach, or both. I ate when I was hungry and explored when I was bored. I read 4 books. Yes, 4! I was in the sun and the shade. I drank frozen cocktails at the swim up bar. Or at my chair. Or while walking around. Cause no one could tell me otherwise.
2) I did a lot of soul searching. Yes, I read and listened to music but I also spent a lot of time thinking. About my life, my love life, my future, etc. Nothing too intense and crazy but I was able to focus on what I want to be and with whom I want to be with, and I’ve realized finding someone is definitely important to me. Because…
3) It gets lonely. While I did enjoy the solace (see #1) after eating meals alone and having the staff look at you like, ‘oh, just you?’ it does get sad to see everyone else paired up or grouped up around me. And while I’m certainly no wall flower and I can talk to anyone, it still hit home that I’d rather go away with a partner than no one. And yes, while I did make, ahem, a friend, it’s no substitute for something more meaningful and long term.
4) 6 days was a tad too long. I think if I venture out again on my own, 4 days is enough. It’s plenty of time to unwind, decompress and relax.
5) I really enjoy working out. This is not really news to anyone who hears me talk about CrossFit, but I made sure to do something active every day while I was there, because I craved it. Laying around all day is just not for me. I hit the gym, did beach volleyball, played tennis and even did beach aerobics. Why not? Time was my own and there’s no rule that says a vacation can’t be spent bettering yourself while you relax and enjoy. There’s this assumption that you need to indulge on vacation, but if you come home feeling worse, then how is that a vacation?
6) I miss sunbathing. Damn you fair skin, melanoma and wrinkles! I just can’t sit out like I used to. I burn if in the sun too long, even with repeated applications of SPF 50. And because I don’t want to look like a saddlebag when I’m 50, I make sure to hit the shade every hour or so, if not more. The benefit of this is not just to my skin. I can read my Kindle app on my iPad in the shade very easily, so it was the perfect excuse to take cover. But I wish I could just bake all day long. Sigh.
7) I need the ocean. I just don’t think I can live anywhere with no ocean. I love it. The soothing lap of the waves, the feel of the sand under my feet. It’s cathartic. You can have your mountains. I need my ocean.
8) The laid back vibe of Jamaica was the perfect antidote to my type-A, crazy New York attitude. I walked slower. I didn’t get ruffled when I had to wait for service. I even let things go. I know, insane, right?
9) I missed Mr. Delicious. Of course, this isn’t news, and I know bringing him with me would have removed the relaxation from this vacation, but seeing other people with their kids made me want to share this experience with him.
10) Chicken will never be the same. Every day the hut on the beach had the most amazing whole grilled chickens that they’d chop up for you and you could add jerk sauce to. It was fall off the bone fantastic and I will never have it’s likeness. God it was good.
11) I don’t need to hear Bob Marley again for about 10 years. He’s a genius and all, but enough.
Have you ever taken a solo vacation? I’d love to hear all about it. Would you do it again?