(I wanted to write this post to help anyone who may be struggling to get over a divorce whether it was their decision or the choice was taken out of their hands. This is my story and experience of divorce. I hope it helps someone).
Getting Over Divorce
When you come through the other side of divorce, you’ll wonder if it ever really happened. Was that really me that walked down an aisle in a white wedding dress before vowing to spend the rest of my life with just one person?
Yes it was…
But it seems like an ethereal dream. A moment in time that you witnessed but never actually took part in. Maybe I was a guest, looking on as two people who seemed so in love to the outside world, pledged a vow to never leave each other before I witnessed the bubble burst and the end of a union that just was never to be.
But with the death of anything comes new beginnings, and if I had never suffered the loss of my future dreams, and leaving my marital home, I would never have got the strength to be where I am today.
This blog has been a journey, that started from day one of my new life. One at times of adventure, excitement and amazement at pushing myself to the very limit, and others, of despair, of wondering what the hell I had done, giving up a life that was absolutely fine, in the search for what? For the missing piece of me that maybe I would never truly find…
I’m not going to lie, it was tough but as cliche as it sounds – travelling saved me. It gave me hope when I felt so lost and pulled me out of a place that at the time, I never thought I could pull myself out off alone.
At first I cried everywhere: on the boat to Robben Island, hotel rooms in China and in gers in Mongolia when I just couldn't fight back the tears. And there were times I felt those pangs of loneliness hit me so hard that they took my breath away in Africa.
I underestimated divorce. I underestimated the pain, the loss, the grieving that all came in a little box packaged as ‘divorcee.’ But now instead of the words ‘I’ve failed,’ divorcee to me means strength; of coming through something that at the time, was the worst point in my life.
I remember when it all started to change, when I began to feel at peace with myself in an Indian ashram, when I began to believe in myself again in Belize, throwing myself into extreme adventure and building myself up piece by piece until one day I awoke and realised ‘I’m actually okay.’
Nine years ago at the age of 36, I made a decision to change my life. Today I am the happiest I have ever been. I have no house, no car, no 9-5 job and virtually nothing to my name but not knowing where I’m going to be in 6 months fills me with excitement and gives me a sense of freedom that I would not trade with my previous life. Yes, I was secure and I had everything I ever needed but I was living a life that wasn’t true to me.
I have been through the roller coaster of emotions, the uncertainty and the fear that maybe, just maybe, that was my only chance of ever having a family and becoming a mum. I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t slot into a conventional society and that it’s okay to choose a life like this for myself even if others don’t understand or even accept my way of life. Most importantly of all, I have no regrets.
If I had the chance again, I would still have gotten married. Why? Because it’s part of who I am. It was a chapter in my life that moulded me and shaped me to who I am today, and for that I am grateful that someone loved me enough to say those vows to me, to promise me a lifetime of what I thought I wanted back then, and for someone who I hoped to have helped grow too.
But…divorce is tough.
And even through the other side those moments of loneliness still come. This time, they’re fleeting, and I acknowledge them and allow them to pass by, knowing that they’re just part of life.
My advice for anyone going through a divorce is to be kind to yourself, take time to heal and find something that makes you happy. I was privileged to have been able to fling myself out into the big wide world and re-ignite my love and passion for travel again.
It does get better. So much better in fact that it’ll soon be a speck of history, a tiny chapter in your life that will fade as you rewrite shiny new chapters full of you and everything you ever want to be. It’s okay to ask for help to get you through the dark moments. It’s all part of the process, but there is a light at the end. I promise you that…
I share my journey of solo travel after divorce to help inspire you that you can travel after divorce.
One More Sleep!
It's the night before my first big adventure and I can hardly contain myself; I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Only 1 more sleep to go before I say ‘Adios' to this chapter and open a brand new one.
I have been waiting months to say goodbye to my old life and in 8 hours time, I will be on my way to a well deserved holiday – 4 days living it up in Cape Town then 5 weeks of travelling around Africa in an overland truck, camping with the animals.
(Please don't let me get eaten by a lion! or worse still; find a spider in my tent!)
People may say i'm just running away, but what a great country to run to!
I've spent months trying to pick up the pieces of my once married life and deal with no longer being part of a couple; leaving my marital home, sofa surfing and family issues, until Eureka…. I realise the secret to being a happy new divorcee is to do what I want to do.
So, I'm doing it and this brand new me starts tomorrow, as soon as the plane takes off. Is there life after divorce? I'm sure going to find out 🙂
I've finally arrived in Cape Town after 30 hours of travelling and waiting in airports! Lao Tzu, a philosopher once said:
“A good traveller is never intent on arriving.”
How wrong he was – I couldn't wait to get to the hotel and chill.
And what a fab hotel.
The Lagoon Beach Hotel is only a few kilometres from the city and as far as hotels in Cape Town go, can you really get a better position than right on the beach? It also runs shuttles into and out of the city. I already feel so relaxed and can't wait to check out the outdoor pool deck in the sun. The best thing about it is – it's all on my Avios points too so it hasn't even cost me a penny.
My hotel room has more square feet than my old house and is so lush that I could seriously live in it. There's a plasma screen bigger than any I've ever seen before, a king size bed, more than one sofa and a gorgeous view of the sea and kite surfers; what more could a girl ask for?
Well, maybe some sun as the weather is leaving a lot to be desired – cloudy, windy and rain: remind you of anywhere?
Alone in Cape Town
It was on the boat to Robben Island when it hit me.
I had been happily straining my ears, watching the Dvd of Nelson Mandela being released from the iconic prison island when a wave of nausea crashed over me as the ferry rolled from side to side. Then it struck again, but this wave filled me with an overwhelming sense of sadness and loneliness.
‘I want my husband,' I wanted to yell – my mind periodically going insane.
I held on tight to the seat, staring at the horizon frantically bobbing up and down as I tried to eliminate all thoughts of my soon-to-be ex-husband from my mind. I wanted to cry; really, really cry but I knew once I started, it wouldn't stop.
So I just held on, waiting for both feelings to pass…
I never thought that travelling South Africa alone would affect me. When I left for Cape Town just a few days earlier wondering if there is life after separation, I never expected there to be such a stigma to being alone. People look at you as though you've just stepped off a spaceship when they ask,
“How many people madam?” As if they're expecting your entourage to come around the corner.
“Umm, just one please,” I reply, looking through the menu deals for one.
So you can imagine my relief when I met some friends (well, technically they were my friend's friends but who's to know). I was finally part of a group and accepted into the Capetownian way of life. We ate, we drank, we drank some more and then as quickly as it had began, my social circle evaporated and I was back to just me.
Just me… wandering around this amazing city, going through the motions of being a tourist but with a dark cloud looming over me. I did all the touristy things; the hop on bus tour, a cable car to Table Mountain, the SA Museum, a cocktail in Camps Bay but all I could think was “I'm alone.”
I'm halfway through my twelve-week trip and as I leave Beijing for the final time, I feel at ease. It is only this time around that I realise I have less baggage, not of the physical kind (that is still growing by the day), but baggage of the emotional kind.
Only recently divorced, I had underestimated the impact that being a fresh ‘divorcee' would have on me, especially travelling by myself to weird and wonderful countries. My moods had been like waves rising with anger at the smallest of things to a peak of happiness when things were going my way to crashing with an almighty thud as I hit another obstacle. I had cried, angered, fallen in love then cried again and I had no idea what was going on.
But this time as I left Chinese soil, I had levelled out.
Gone was the volatile ocean and waves of doom, replaced by a calm lake, with gentle ripples lifting me only upwards. Was the past finally behind me? I felt ready to tackle the world and everything in it's path. I was finally ready to move on.
Watch out world…
A Year On
This month marks a year on from my divorce and I couldn’t feel so different.
This time last year I was travelling around Eastern Asia facing challenges and pitfalls trying to find out who I was after being consumed in a long-term relationship and marriage. This time around I am travelling with a purpose; I now know what makes me tick and for the first time in my life I feel really content.
I have come through the emotional roller-coaster of separation and divorce and come out the other side feeling confident, carefree and ready to face whatever life throws at me. I now trust my instinct, take a risk and go wherever my heart takes me.
And my heart has led me to Honduras…
Only time will tell if this is only meant to be short-lived but for now I am making the most of every wonderful moment before I have to get back to my life on the road…
Another Year, Another Husband?
So, I have bid a fond farewell to 2012 and have welcomed 2013 with open arms, but as this year seems to already be slipping through my fingers, I wonder:
Is this the year that I will meet my Mr Right?
It was only last year that I became another statistic divorcee, and I thought the year had come to a close with my past totally behind me. But as we throttle on, head-first into a new one, something very odd is happening to me. Maybe it's the dreary weather: the dark, cold endless nights that are just making me feel well…like nesting. Yes, NESTING!
Anyone who knows me, knows that I dislike routine and being in one place for too long has the opposite effect of most of the human race and unsettles me. So why on earth have I got the urge to drop everything and just well…settle?
I'm hoping it's just the time of year that is making me want constant pyjama days and long for Dvd nights, all cuddled up. People around me are just pairing up and frankly it's too much.
I have to shake this nesting feeling off and get back to Plan A:
Getting out of here as soon as possible…
So, to all the single ladies out there, if you're also feeling the pain – do what I'm going to do and get out into the big wide world and celebrate your singledom over a cocktail watching a beautiful sunset, and when you are truly happy, you will find Mr Right waiting for you… (hopefully on Copacabana Beach in Rio!)
For any man reading this, I am of course only joking and not potentially looking for another husband. For all my friends reading this, I am of course truly happy for you finding boyfriends.