‘Where should I go for my first post-divorce holiday?’
Our travel troubleshooter Kathy Lette takes a no-nonsense approach to your dilemmas
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Narrated by Kathy Lette
Q. I’m 65 and recently divorced, which has left me relieved and comfortably off but lonely and lacking confidence. I have very few friends, none of them single. My two daughters have left home and have families of their own. An active adventure holiday sounds appealing, but something is holding me back from making a decision and booking. I don’t need a man to look after me, but I am open to a little holiday romance too. Do you have any advice?
A. First, congrats on your husband-ectomy. Happy marriages are like orgasms — many of them are faked. There’s nothing worse than being divorced from reality, so good for you, for keeping it real. One in three marriages now ends in divorce — and let’s face it, more ought to! If you find yourself craving the peace and tranquillity of being caught in crossfire in Kashmir, then yes, it’s probably time to put the legal wrangling behind you and take a leap of faith.
Now that the financial dust has settled there’s an opportunity for you to have a glorious second act. For probably the first time in your life you get to put yourself first. I mean, if not now, when? A Zimmer frame would so cramp your style on a black ski run in the Swiss Alps or while learning to scuba in Cuba. Baby boomers have redefined every decade we’ve lived in and now we’re redefining ageing. In other words, it’s time to carpe diem like there’s no tomorrow.
Those storm-tossed psychological seas can leave a gal feeling utterly battered, though. Lawyers charge a humongous amount to tell you what you already know, except they tell it to you in Latin — Divorcicus-We-Are-Ripping-You-Off-Maximus. The task of your respective lawyers is to ensure that everything gets shared equally, and it most certainly does — between them. (Mind you, there’s usually not that much left for couples to share, since they’ve thrown it all at each other weeks ago.) “Divorce” is actually an old Latin term for “send your barrister to a luxury resort in Ibiza”.
But why should those legal eagles spread their wanderlust wings and get all the air miles?
Don’t be daunted by the idea of solo adventure travel. Not only will you make new, like-minded friends on the road, but you’ve raised a family, which means you’re perfectly equipped for intrepid travel. Nothing hones survival skills like toddler and teen wrangling. An elite commando endurance course requires little stamina compared with a mother’s legendary fortitude; not even James Bond could go through the menopause while simultaneously teaching a child to drive. Surviving the mother-and-teenager-daughter years feels a lot like winning a war, which means you’re also adept at diffusing tense situations and thinking on your feet.
Your language skills are equally first-rate, evident by the fact that mums are able to speak fluent teenager, which often means communicating by eyebrow only during the monosyllabic years.
Solo travellers need to be street smart and scientists have discovered that a surge in oestrogen hormones during pregnancy alters neuroplasticity, or the regrowth of nerve cells in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for aspects of memory and spatial awareness — meaning that a mother’s senses really are more acute; vital skills when navigating new-to-you areas of a foreign city — or even the passport queues at the airport.
In fact women are creating the biggest surge in midlife adventuring. A survey by the Solo Traveler website (solotravelerworld.com) discovered that 81 per cent of lone travellers are older women; we’re still young enough to have adventures but also aware that the clock is tick-tocking. If you’re healthy in middle age then you’ll probably live to 96, which means there’s still a hell of a lot of zip-lining, abseiling, scuba diving, kiteboarding, kayaking, whitewater rafting and… horizontal tango to be enjoyed.
Yep, it’s time to broaden your hormonal horizons. You say you’re up for some flirtation. Well you’re much more likely to meet a man when flying solo than in a gaggle of gals or on a holiday with the grandchildren. Keep an open mind and don’t be too fussy. Travel is all about experiencing new customs and cuisines, including a nibble on a more exotic human menu. Who knows what two-legged ingredients will whet your appetite.
So, now all you need do is to go forth and be fabulous. Your motto? When the window of opportunity opens, leap through it. And if opportunity doesn’t knock — get a doorbell.
Do you need Kathy’s help with a travel problem? Email us at email@example.com
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3. Costa Rican jungle
Wander through the market stalls of San Jose, relax in thermal springs and go wildlife-spotting in the cloud forests of Monteverde.
Details Eight nights’ room only from £982pp, including some meals (intrepidtravel.com). Fly to San Jose