Take a romantic vacation–alone

If you don’t have a person to cuddle up to for Valentine’s Day–that sweet, special someone to whisper endearments in your ear–the type of person you wrote about in your middle school diary who you envisioned going with to a romantic destination once you grew old enough–to heck with it. Go alone.

I’m a firm believer that, although going somewhere with someone else can be superb–awfully romantic, one doesn’t need to wait for the right person to come along for the best time.

One Valentine’s weekend, I headed off to the Enchanted Forest in northern New Mexico for an overnight cross-country skiing vacation by myself. After a particularly difficult break-up with a boyfriend that had left me deflated, I thought the best thing for puffing wind back into my sails was a solo adventure. I picked Red River, New Mexico because of a few of points:

  • it didn’t take a lot of planning–being broken hearted, I didn’t have a lot of umph for complicated decisions.
  • It wasn’t that far from Albuquerque where I lived, so it felt adventurous enough, but close enough to return home if I couldn’t handle it.
  • I always wanted to go to the Enchanted Forest and figured that a cross-country ski area where others would be would be safe.

Here’s what I found out:

  • When going alone, it helps to know where you want to stop. When I swung into town, I didn’t know what hotel I should check into. I drove through town from end to end twice before I became so disgusted with my indecision, that I finally pulled into the parking lot of one of them.
  • After checking into a hotel room with two double beds, it does feel good to throw oneself down on each of them a few times while feeling sorry for oneself, but after wards, it’s much better to go out for dinner and get over oneself.
  • When going out for dinner, a writing pad and pen works wonders for keeping people at bay, particularly a guy named Randy who wants one to go two-stepping at a country-western bar until dawn.

Most importantly, cross-country skiing alone on trails called names like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee is cathartic, fun and a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend activity. I couldn’t have asked for better company.

The following year, I returned with a male friend, and the year after that, I returned with two women friends. Of the three visits to Red River, the one by myself resonates the most. The other two times, however were also superb in their own way.

If you are going to be on your own tomorrow, here are suggestions for enjoying your own company.

  • Pick a place you haven’t been before that’s close by and go there. While there, think about all the things you like about it and why it was such a grand decision to pick this place above all others. Take notes. Note-taking looks important. You can write about the experience later. If you don’t like to write, draw sketches.
  • When you go to this place, take your favorite snack. Eating your favorite snack creates a sense of celebration, particularly if you eat slowly.
  • While you’re traveling to this place, listen to your favorite music. That also adds to a sense of adventure and celebration.
  • Tell yourself what wonderful company you are.
  • Thank yourself afterwards for taking you somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.