Spending a wodge of cash on a one-way ticket and taking off with a rucksack and a couple of travel guide books is often considered the coward's way out of a sticky situation or a disenchanting existence. Occasionally that's fair comment. But sometimes, finding space to be yourself and stringing together a few days or weeks of unstructured time can be all it takes to save your sanity.
Travelling is seeing how the rest of the world lives. It always helps me put my circumstances back into perspective. And I'm a believer in travel's ability to boost your confidence; whether you've just been handed a redundancy pay off or you need to rediscover some self worth at the end of a drawn out, toxic relationship.
Some suggestions if it's time to take an emotional escape:
1 Scuba diving
Let the underwater world take your mind off life's let downs
Classics: Egypt's Red Sea (Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh or Marsa Alam), Thailand, the Caribbean, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (if your budget allows).
Lesser known: Oman, Madeira, Malta, Vietnam.
Great for: Physical exertion, a sense of achievement when you pass your course or expand your experience, a lively social scene with like-minded people, visual stimulation from reef, wrecks and fish.
Travel tip: The mental and physical demands of the Open Water course leave no time or energy for wallowing!
Try: Diving the World, Footprint Guides footprinttravelguides.com
2 Spas & yoga retreats
Far-flung recovery stations for bruised minds, bodies & souls
Classics: Bali, Thailand, Italy (Ischia), India, Ibiza.
Less obvious: Turkey, Budapest (thermal baths), Tunisia, Switzerland, Germany, yoga diving (Dahab, Egypt).
Great for: Reviving a body exhausted by disappointment and a mind wrought with rage.
Travel tip: Make sure you avoid any resorts with even the slightest hint of honeymoon about them!
Try: Kuoni (spa packages) kuoni.co.uk; Sunray Yoga (yoga diving, Dahab) sunrayoga.com
3 Safaris & wildlife watching
Wild reminders that life's ups and downs are just part of the cycle
Classics: Kenya, Zambia, Canada, Australia, South American rainforests, The Galapagos Islands, whale watching (New Zealand, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, The Azores, South Africa).
Lesser known: Isle of Man, Norway, bear watching (Transylvania, Spitsbergen, Finland, Sweden), Patagonia.
Great for: Focusing on a creature other than yourself, appreciating the social habits and the habitat of animals, how to approach and watch peacefully, memories that last a lifetime.
Tip: If you pick a conservation holiday, the satisfaction that you have spent your time and efforts doing something worthwhile.
Check out: Naturetrek naturetrek.co.uk
4 City breaks
Urban inspiration to enliven your spirit away from stagnant routines & relationships
Classics: Tokyo, New York, Sydney, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona.
Less obvious: Soeul, Sarajevo, Dusseldorf, Gothenburg, Beirut, Porto.
Great for: Finding inspiration in the legacy of great thinkers who converged on your city of choice, for example in their architecture, their sculpture and art work in public galleries or in the bars and cafes where they did their thinking and drinking. Transforming your image with clothes from the boutiques of up coming fashions designers.
Travel tip: Stand at the top of the city's tallest tower and enjoy the freedom of knowing that you are just another ant, like all of others below. You and every one of them are living, breathing and rolling with circumstances as best they can.
Try: A Hedonist's guide to... (city guide books) hg2.com
5 Road trip, river cruise or rail journey
Traversing great distances, physically & figuratively
Classics: Road: Australia - The Australia Way, The Great Ocean Road, The Great Tropical Way, Mereenie Loop (including Uluru). USA - Pacific Coast, Border to Border, Route 66. Rail: Trans-Siberian Railway, Inter-rail Europe. Rivers: the Nile, Amazon and Yangtze.
Less obvious: Road: The Basque Circuit (Spain and France), Bergen to Oslo, Republic of Ireland's coastal roads. River: Mississippi, Danube.
Great for: Carefree Thelma and Louise moments (before things turned ugly), the freedom of the open road, the wind in your hair, driving off into the sunset, the people you meet along the way, the sights and scenery that you wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Try: Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen roadtripusa.com; Australian Road Trips australianroadtrips.com
What has worked for you?
Read more like this:
Trips that will kick start your spirit
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Amsterdam - 4 random reasons to love this city. Just incase you need them
World's Greatest Cities
Unforgettable walks to take before you die
101 Weekends in Europe
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it. Read more!