Traveling Solo Post-Breakup: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Escaping to a sunny island isn't going to make everything better.
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They can be hard. They can be a time when you go on a mission of self-discovery, reinvent yourself, lose 20 lbs. (either because you don’t eat or because you spend your day at the gym to prove to some lame-ass that you are worth it), become a serial dater, pretend you can drink like you are in college again, this list is endless of what you can do when a relationship ends. What did I do? I went on a solo trip to Honduras. Don’t worry, I sprinkled in some of the things I mentioned above in as well.

Why? Why? Why?

I am impulsive. I was searching the internet one day and found round trip tickets for under $500 from Denver. That was my queue, I pulled out my credit card and booked on the spot. If you aren’t aware, Honduras has the highest murder capital in the world. The San Pedro Sula airport is in one of the most dangerous cities in the world. I’ve read articles where it is advised that tourists do not even leave the airport. This only made me want to visit more, don’t ask me why, I guess I have some sort of “I need to prove to myself I can do this” thing going on. Really…I am a big weenie, I don’t want you to think I am this courageous super woman because I went to Honduras alone. Plus, I wasn’t going to leave that airport. I booked a flight out of San Pedro Sula to the diver’s paradise of Utila. It’s a quick 30 minute flight in a puddle jumper.

What I imagined my trip to be like...

Diving every day, laying on the beach, clearing my head. It was and was not all of those things. Utila is known for its diving, I got my certification six months back, dove in Thailand and fell in love with the sport. That is the real reason I chose Honduras. I did go diving, not every day but a good portion of the trip. There isn’t much else to do on the island. They have a few beaches, not the long white sand variety. They aren’t bad but damn those sand fleas will bite ya all day! I looked like I had the chicken pox after one outing. So laying on the beach was out.

This trip couldn’t have come at a better time in my life (or so I thought).

Why? A few weeks before my departure my boyfriend and I broke up. I was devastated. I planned the trip before we broke up so this wasn’t initially an “I want to escape my life and everyone in it trip” but that is what it came down to. I was at the point where you see something and it reminds you of them and then you burst into full blown tears, with the hysterical sobbing, and snot, a lot of snot. I was an emotional mess. I shouldn’t have been alone. Nope. Nope. Nope. Complete opposite. I am going to admit it, Honduras wasn’t my favorite and I think it was mostly because I was in the land of “Poor Poor Me”. Fuck that land, I don’t ever want to go back. I was a piece of shit to my family, friends, and myself for a good six months.

So there I was on a beautiful island, sun was out, drinks were a plenty, loads of people to mingle with and I am in my hotel room sobbing. I don’t want you to think the entire trip was a bust because of my inner doom and gloom. I went diving, made friends, chatted it up with the locals, became a regular at the bar across from my hotel, explored the island; from the outside looking in I gave off the impression that I was enjoying myself. But when I’d return to my room my mind would start to wander, and 20 minutes later my eyes would be so puffy I could barely see.

Sh*t Happens.

Then, if things couldn’t get worst I get what I suspect was food poisoning. I knew I shouldn’t have had that fish soup. Fish soup is never a good idea. Damn you fish fucking soup. The morning after eating what I am now going to refer to as “Fuck You Fish Soup”, I was sick. That soup came out…of both ends for a good two days. Having a fever on top of a sunburn, on top of a gazillion sand flea bites, on top of a rash I got from a fight with some fire coral on one of my dives, plus the humidity and lack of AC made me a hot mess and not the sexy kind. The sweaty, itchy, sticky kind with vomit on her face, red rimmed eyes, and a broken heart. I didn’t leave my room for two days, I only got out of bed to vomit or not to shit my pants. On top of those two things I felt sorry for myself.

There is always a bright side... right?

This happened the last two days of my trip so I already got to do all of the diving and exploring I wanted. I did however need to get cash to pay for my hotel and the ATM was a 15-minute walk into town. So, after taking a deep breath and thinking to myself “it’s only 30 minutes and you will be back in bed” I pumped myself up to leave my room. That was the longest walk of my life. The tears were rolling down my face, I was in pain. Pain from the fever, pain from clinching my asshole tight so I didn’t shit my pants in the middle of the road, and pain from my overall emotional distress of the break-up. I am sure I looked like a sea monster. No one shouted or hollered “hey pretty lady!” during my walk, I think they knew they’d get a punch in the face. Finally, after what seemed like hours, I made it back to my hotel and collapsed on the bed. I thought “you did it” and fell asleep.

When I woke up the next morning I was a new person. I was energized and ready to get the hell out of Honduras. Why did I tell you all of this? I want you to know travel isn’t always sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn’t live up to your expectations, and sometimes it is a way to clear your head or fall into a deeper hole. But you know what it always is? A time to grow and become a better version of you.

I learned over that week in Honduras that healing takes time and escaping to a sunny island isn’t going to make everything better.