Sunday, 10 June 2012

Break free after divorce, & travel instead

Guest Post.

Break free after divorce, & travel instead

If you're lucky, divorce can be friendly and easy, but it's often fraught with regrets, and frustratingly hampered by old habits and thought patterns that rarely make evolving away from your old relationship any easier. But it can also be deeply liberating - especially once you're finally free of the paperwork. Amidst all the divorce advice you will no doubt be offered throughout the process, listen to those who suggest that you now try things you never could when married.

This advice may seem painful at first - at least if any part of you is sorry that the marriage has ended. But letting go of the past is eased by embracing the future, which includes trying new things that you've never had the chance to do before. As I went through my divorce, my attraction to travelling grew; it was something I never achieved during my youth, as I went straight from school to uni to married working life.

Travelling also takes you away from the familiar places and faces that all too easily remind you of your married life, and resurrect the associated feelings. Those feelings are important, and shouldn't just be repressed, but it's helpful to give yourself space, and make new memories to buffer the impact of those old ones.

Telling your family
Your family may raise a collective eyebrow when you announce your plans to go travelling, but deflect any suggestions of a midlife crisis by explaining that you think the change of scene will do you good. You're not emigrating - just going away for a few weeks.

Much of the world is safer than anxious relatives imagine, but you can reassure them with quotes from the British Embassy website, and travelling with a cheap unlocked mobile phone (a smartphone is unnecessary) that can use cheap SIMs that you buy abroad. Make sure your phonebook is saved on your phone, rather than the SIM itself. They're so cheap these days that you could even take two, and keep one locked in your hotel or hostel while you wander about with the other.

To blog, or not to blog
Another way of reassuring worried family is to start a blog, and update it with stories about your travels, or at least photos, whenever you can get to an internet cafe. It will reassure friends and family that you're ok without constant calls or texts, and it's akin to journalling in its ability to help you heal through your experience, with the added benefit of inspiring other recently divorced folk.

That said, you may feel it gets in the way of actually experiencing a place, especially if you find yourself constantly formulating blog descriptions and Facebook statuses in your head as you wander about. You may feel the same about experiencing the world through a lens. If you do want to blog about your travels, Tumblr is great if you just want to upload pictures, while Wordpress is a good popular free blogging platform.

Where to start
If there isn't somewhere you've always hankered to see, it's time to start picking up copies of National Geographic, Lonely Planet and Wanderlust to see what sparks your imagination. You can also ask for recommendations from friends, or base your decision on a particular personal interest - Borneo, for example, is excellent for wildlife spotting, while Sri Lanka has a high concentration of ancient architecture within a relatively small and accessible area.

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