If you think Cupid is stupid, and love poems pitiful, perhaps this new travel trend is for you. Anti-Valentine's holidays are on the rise, particularly among the newly separated.
According to a study of more than 1000 Australians, one in 10 says a "separation holiday" is the most recent, or next upcoming, trip. That coincides with a burgeoning events calendar, which eschews hearts and flowers: horror movie showings, including My Bloody Valentine; anti-slam poetry readings, where the worst work wins; and eating tapas off the body of a half-naked man or woman. There is also the cleverly named Galentine's Day, to celebrate our female friends. (Google "Anti-Valentine" for a cornucopia of options for next year …)
Seven out of 10 Aussies say they're commemorating their newly single status by going on a group holiday. Of course, inviting family of the ex is deemed "inappropriate" by 77 per cent of those surveyed. (Which makes me wonder, who are these 23 per centers? And how did they become so understanding?)
Still, when children are involved, the aim is to be amicable. And, with the median age for divorce 45 for men and 42 for women, this includes an awful lot of families.
"In 2017, we expect to see this new trend of separation trips pick up with more and more people treating group holidays as a way of celebrating key milestones in their lives," Booking.com Australia spokeswoman Jaime de Silva says.
Why not mark a divorce with an adventure to indicate a new beginning?
De Silva has collated a list of destinations to "take your single and fabulous self on the trip of a lifetime":
Anchors Beach House in Victoria is close to Port Campbell National Park and the windswept Twelve Apostles. It's an appropriately dramatic vista after a relationship breakup.
Crusoe's Beach House at Airlie Beach, which sleeps eight people, has stunning ocean views, a pool, and outdoor dining area amid lush rainforest. It's perfect for a large group of family and/or friends.
Vantage over Byron is a bungalow with a deck overlooking both the hinterland and Pacific Ocean. Wander down to the Balcony Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail before dining at one of the many cafes or restaurants.
Dragonfly Lodge at Swansea in Tasmania is surrounded by restaurants, walking tracks, and award-winning wineries. One in three people who have taken a separation holiday say wine-tasting is "an ideal activity".
Jamaica Beach House is a five-bedroom, two-storey pad metres from Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas. Almost three-quarters of those on singleton holidays seek time alone, as well as group interaction. This place has plenty of space to assure privacy.
Really, it doesn't matter where you choose to go. Going through a separation or divorce is tough, especially if children are involved. You deserve to treat yourself, whether with a friend, family members, or on your own.
A holiday like this could be just the anti-Valentine's therapy you need.