Seems there is a new trend running through the lives of my friends: Separate Vacations.
In the past several years I have known quite a few ladies who have packed up their bags and taken off on solo trips, leaving husbands and kids behind. From trips to Vegas to hikes in the mountains, from scuba diving in Micronesia and Fiji, my friends have decided that in order to get away and enjoy some down time they may need to do so alone-or with friends.
It isn’t just one gender, either. While you may think that these friends of mine are male, since males travel solo for work and women tend to remain behind and watch the kids, in all cases it has been the woman who has gone away; in only two homes, it was both the man and woman. Seems this trend for solo vacationing is hitting my female friends more than my male friends. Why is that? And is it a good idea?
My very close friend who has two children that are 4 and almost 2, the same age as my children, decided she needed a breather. She was feeling bogged down by work and hitting a slump. Her friend, a travel agent, booked a trip-to Micronesia. She spent 18 hours on a plane and then a week diving, reading and resting.
When she got back, she said she felt refreshed, and that she had a renewed energy because she realized the one mistake she had made as a parent-she had given up the things that had mattered to her pre-kids. Going away for a week brought back those things, and she realized that she could combine children with solo-pursuits to be happy and fulfilled: That she didn’t have to give up one just because she had the other.
Her husband then booked his own solo diving trip to the Fiji islands. A few months later off he went. We met up with them at the zoo the other day and he stated the same thing that she did when she returned: He felt refreshed and renewed.
I found one comment he made very interesting. He said, “It’s not that I wanted to take a trip without the family. If I could have, it would have been the wife and me, but that wouldn’t work out right now because of the age of the kids and the things that we would want to do.” So the decision to travel alone was not because they wanted a breather from the family, but because they wanted to pursue things that they were very interested in and had not been able to do since having children.
For solo vacations to work, I am wondering if what they found is the key: That you go and do something you really can’t do with the other people in your lives. For instance, if your husband hates shopping and you despise motorbikes, would it be best to take separate weekend trips so that each of you can enjoy your own endeavours? This is the reason a second group of friends of mine have taken separate vacations. They each enjoy different things and rather than book a week-long vacation they take separate weekend jaunts.