A divorce will rock your world; send you crashing into the abyss so deep you feel you can’t find your way out. If there ever was a time to baby yourself, it’s now. Doing so seems fitting, afterall, you’re starting over.
Your mind is going 100 mph, wondering what’s next. The first decision you should make is to take a pause, exhale, and then take a trip to get your head together, think things through.
Sure a divorce is expensive in many ways, but if a change of scenery and pace will help you find peace, that’s priceless.
“After a divorce, destinations that absorb you in their culture is key to distracting you from a personal crisis. An interesting culture, friendly people, good food, art – these are elements that can pull you out of feeling bad because they lift you out of yourself,” says Peggy Goldman, founder and president of Friendly Planet Travel, which she started after her divorce decades ago.
Here are 10 great places to help you heal and get on to the next chapter.
10. Paradise Beach, Nevis
Escape to the secluded Paradise Beach Resort on the island of Nevis. The pampering begins before you arrive. A personal butler will email you to ask your heart’s desire. What would you like stocked in your fridge in your villa? You don’t have to worry about cooking though if you’re not in the mood. Hire a chef to work that magic in your gourmet kitchen.
Your thatched roof villa will have a view across the Caribbean towards St. Kitts and Mount Nevis. Each villa has 3-foot beamed ceilings and a split-level patio with sea views, as well as a private pebble-lined plunge pool, small lap pool chaise lounges, umbrella, alfresco marble shower and sliding glass doors which open out to a shaded area.
If you choose to come out of your cocoon, your butler can arrange activities for you on site or away, whether you fancy deep sea fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, diving – whatever you come up with. Nearby, there is Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill, hidden in the historic Hamilton Estate. You’re also only 15 minutes from Nevis’ capital, Charleston, with its colonial architecture.
9. Los Cabos, Mexico
Los Cabos may be a celebrity playland, but it can also be a place to retreat.
Take for example, the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Grand Spa. The Sea Spa at Land’s End isn’t your typical spa. You’ll receive treatment in a cabana built directly into the rock formations adjacent to Cabo’s El Arco – the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. There is plenty to boost your sagging spirits. Experience spa rituals that incorporate traditional Mexican healing techniques.
8. Motu Teta, Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Maybe you’ve never heard of Motu Teta, but go there and you’ll never forget it. The private island in Rangiroa, French Polynesia is in the middle of the ocean, for real! Completely secluded. Talk about getting away from it all.
Don’t think that you’ll be alone or lonely though. Your private excursion guide can steer you toward adventure, be it midnight lobster hunting, spear fishing, kiting, water-skiing or windsurfing.
7. The Himalayas
Heal thyself. Start by taking a journey to India.
Ananda in the Himalayas is set at the foothills of the Himalayas. The focus is mind, body and spirit, of getting back into balance, which is critical after the brutal blow of divorce.
Restore yourself with ancient Hindu practices. Explore crystal, reiki, chakras, as well as herbal treatment, yoga and meditation.
What you eat will be customized to your unique “dosha”. Hike and venture to spiritual centers like Rishikesh. Immerse yourself in nature with walks or bird-watching. White water raft or fine tune your cooking skills with a class. The Rajaji National Park’s Safari will give you something to tell everybody about when you go home.
6. Sonoma County, California
You probably are in the mood to drink. Why not go for world class wine from over 400 wineries and 16 designated wine regions with cuisine featuring locally-grown and artisan products? Sonoma County is just 30 miles north of San Francisco. Over a long weekend you can do much more than raising your glass. With some 50 parks where you can hike or bike through the redwoods or oak-studded hills, you’ll get your exercise on.
Then treat yourself to the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, where you’ll find the only Cedar Enzyme Bath in America. The bath features a cozy wooden tub filled with a fragrant blend of finely-ground cedar, rice bran and plant enzymes imported from Japan. The natural heat and active enzymes help detoxify, cleanse your skin and provides relief from joint and muscle tension. And undoubtedly do a bit to help you forget.
5. Paradise Coast, Florida
Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades offer sunshine and beaches. Naples is a quaint resort city on the coast with a thriving arts and culture scene, good food and great shopping. A little retail therapy is probably called for.
Everglades National Park offers air boating or kayaking into the 259 acres of private grasslands. Marco Island is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and mangrove estuaries on the other. Seafood lovers will smile, as well as water worshipers who favor the back country and offshore fishing, boating and paddling.
4. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe’s restorative powers are legendary. People have flocked there to seek solace for their souls since forever.
If you’re into spas, you’ll be in heaven. Yoga lovers will, too, with opportunities such as Yogihiker and places to focus on wellness and wholeness, like the renowned Upaya Zen Center run by Roshi Joan Halifax.
Do breathe deeply. Santa Fe professes to have the cleanest air in the U.S. The southern mountain town is great for biking. A few minutes from downtown and you can be in the wilderness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
To top off all that Zen, eat up healthily. Santa Fe is vegan and vegetarian. Ayurvedic juice bars and artisanal food crafts, including organic chocolate and coffee houses are not hard to find. Of course, you can find other fare like Middle Eastern, southwestern and Indian. Take one of the many cooking classes that are so popular in Santa Fe.
Get into the culture. Art isn’t only at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, but pretty much everywhere.
“The positive and happy spirit of those who live and visit here is infectious and just what the doctor ordered for those who’ve inadvertently pulled into Splitsville,” says John Fein, public relations manager with Tourism Santa Fe.
3. Porta Blancu, Nieuwpoort, Curacao
The Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort in the Caribbean isle of Curacao will go a long way in curing what ails you, a broken heart.
The resort’s Atbei Spa uses holistic treatments taken from the play book of the ancient culture and rituals of the Arawak people who first called Curacao home.
The Pampering in Paradise package includes your lovely room, $250 spa credit, complimentary resort activities like beach volleyball and more.
After setting a mindful intention for the day with a meditation hike, do something you probably haven’t in a long time, take a nap – or you can golf.
Later, hit the resort’s bike paths and rentals. You might also enjoy an afternoon with certified herbalist Dinah Veeris, who can school you on ancient natural remedies and welcome you into her exotic herb garden.
2. Playa de Carmen, Mexico
]The Grand Velas Riviera Maya has something just for you. Its Divorce Package will get you on your way to getting rid of the angst and rejoicing in your new found freedom.
The newly single and up to five friends reside in a Zen Grand Presidential Suite, and rejuvenate with a $50 spa credit per person, per stay. Relax with morning Hatha yoga lessons on the beach and Spirit Purification Ritual with a professional Mayan Shaman to rid the body of all negative energy.
Get to the heart of the matter. You’re mad, mad as hell. Let loose with a Trash the Memory Ceremony, where you break the piñata with the name of your former spouse, have cocktail making lessons with the bartender, plus a “Ladies Night” or “Guys Night Out” in Playa del Carmen.
1. Tuscany, Italy
What better way to reboot then to visit the picturesque Tuscany, Italy. This beautiful Italian region is not only home to great wine and olives, but spas, too. One place that is a must-visit is Terme di Saturnia Spa, where staff will tend to your every need.
The vanilla white decor at the pool helps you relax while you laze in your lounge chair.
Once refreshed, there’s ample Etruscan history that warrants your perusal, especially in the town of Pitigliano. Or, you can shop.