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.

Cross-Country Skiing at the Enchanted Forest- a yummy option

If you love cross-country skiing and you love desserts, not a bad combination since cross-country skiing is a great calorie burner, head to the Enchanted Forest XC Ski and Snowshoe Area near Red River, New Mexico for “Just Desserts” Eat and Ski, February 24. (to get there from the Enchanted Forest website, click on events then click on the Just Deserts link.)Tables laden with homemade desserts from Red River restaurants will be set up at various spots along the trail for skiers to sample. Tequila Lime Pie, Black Forest Cheesecake and Mountain Berry Cream Flan will be among the 18 different options.

If you can’t make it to this event, consider another time. I’ve been cross-country skiing at the Enchanted Forest three times myself-once on a solo weekend vacation and twice with friends. Each time was as good as the next. With trail names like Jabberwocky, Little John and Cheshire Cat, this is perfect place for those who have never cross-country skied before and those who are experts who don’t mind company.

Because the trails cover 33km of the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico, there are opportunities to take in vistas, tucked away places and loads of mountain scenery. Trails are well marked with their level of difficulty so you don’t go wandering off into treachery if you’re a beginner or waste your time with a ho-hum feeling if you’re looking to try out your technique. If you don’t have your own equipment, rentals are available. Red River is a neat town to enjoy for a night or two. It looks a bit like a tourist town-which it is, but that ensures good places to eat and stay and things to do when the day’s skiing is done. I like Red River because it’s not as crowded or polished as Taos or Santa Fe. There’s a more down-home, casual feel that made me feel comfortable, particularly when I was on my own.