For many divorced people the holiday can loom as a chore to deal with rather than a pleasure to look forward to. If you've always gone away with the spouse, the thought of doing it alone can be so fraught that you just back off and give up altogether. Or you might end up going with someone - or a group - that doesn't really appeal as a friend of mine always did just to give some 'cover'.
But - for me - one of the many joys of divorce was feeling free to go away on my own. (For others see my book How to Be Happy After Divorce available on my website.) I used to take the odd holiday with my sons - but often found it more work than break. But - as they got to the point they didn't want a holiday with mum - I was able to slip off alone.
The easiest way of doing this is to not even question it. Of course you can do it. Of course it will be great. No you won't feel lonely or left our or a 'Billy No Mates'! As long as you utterly refuse to feel like that.
It is far easier slipping off somewhere you want to be on your own. I just get on the computer with my Airmiles or good old Easyjet and sort out times that suit me, choose places I want to go, and work out a budget that fits my circumstances - and I can do it quickly, without having to liaise with anyone else or compromise with them. And I can look forward to going away knowing I will still have my full complement of friends when I get back - I've seen others lose too many friends on holidays for me to want to risk that.
And, when I'm there, I can do whatever I like. I can swim for two hours at a time without having to look at the shoreline for a bored and anxious timekeeper monitoring me. I can do yoga for as long as I like. I can sit and read or write without feeling I'm being boring. I can go without an expensive meal and opt for something from a cheap supermarket on the beach without feeling I'm letting down their expectations. I can see the sights I want to see - without having to see those I don't want to in order to keep my mate company. I can chill and rewind my batteries without having to give my energy to anyone else. I can wander round - say - Barcelona having planned to go to the beach but instead stopping at the market to see what's in, or watching every busker en route, or stopping for a coffee and to watch the green parrots swooping amongst the trees or the sparrows wanting to share my croissant. Or I can just watch the lovely people go by.
Holidaying solo, you can just please yourself and spend time just contemplating the world - or people, nature, your navel, your book - when you're on your own in a way you can't when you're with someone and all the expectations of being 'good company' are placed on you.
I have never felt self conscious being alone. I like it. I smile, I look confident, I say what I want, people respond - with kindness. They do not discriminate because you're on your own. They do not think you're pathetic or lonely. I have it in my head - and it's true enough - that I am grabbing some time off from my busy life full of kids and friends and work - to unwind and recharge my batteries. There's nothing like a few days away from friends and family to totally clear your head.
So don't feel you can't holiday alone. You can. Just thank the Lord you won't be stuck with someone you've come to find (probably) quite boring/demanding/not right. Go off and make a new relationship with you. See what you're capable of and how brave you are. Once you know you can do it, you will never need to feel dependent on others for a good holiday again. It's not too late - book up now.
(c) copyright Linda Franklin 2010