In 2009, after a failed marriage, I took a page from Under The Tuscan Sun and went to Italy. My objective was to learn, first hand, the secrets of Italian farmhouse cooking, drink oodles of wine and escape.
If that scenario makes me sound footloose and fancy-free, it’s not legit. While my public persona may ooze self-confidence, in private my self-esteem is lacking; and, thanks to the divorce, was in the toilet. Only with the urging of my therapist did the trip become a reality.
A week before my departure, my nerves were a jangle, but the die had been cast. I was headed to Italy — alone!
Okay, not entirely alone. In Florence I met up with a group of like-minded travelers, but I most definitely felt alone! The all-women group consisted of mothers, daughters, aunts, nieces, besties and me, the recent divorcée.
And it was freaking fabulous!
The days flew by. We cooked together, we laughed together, we drank wine together — oh, boy, did we drink some wine! The women folded me in their embrace and joked that I should buy a villa and stay.
Not all of my time, however, was spent surrounded by newfound friends. Back then texting to the states without an international calling plan would have cost me a fortune so I unplugged, dove into the local culture and used my alone time to contemplate my new life.
I came home with olive oil, wine, some wonderful recipes and so much more.
My trip gave me self-confidence and an autonomy I had never known. I felt liberated. Taking this proverbial leap helped me close the door on one chapter of my life and move on to the next.
My advice is this: if you don’t currently have a travel partner, don’t wait! There are tons of small group tour companies to choose from. Broaden your perspective of the world, connect with people from different walks of life and embrace the diversity of the planet.
You don’t have to survive heartbreak first; pick a place and go!
What’s your greatest travel achievement? —Karen