Best Places to Rebound
Somewhere in between, Jones—coauthor of the new nonfiction book Three Wishes, which deals in part with her failed romance—found herself bouncing back. It’s a strategy that worked for Elizabeth Gilbert too, which she documented in the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. “I think people mistake travel after a breakup with escaping from reality, when in fact it’s a way to create a new reality,” says Jones. “Post-breakup adventures are like a traveler’s tabula rasa. They don’t involve the former partner, so everything—every taste, image, encounter—seems fresh.”
There’s a destination to suit every step of romantic recovery. A locale far from home offers the safe cover of remoteness and anonymity, and Tasmania certainly fits the bill. It’s not only at the bottom of the world—and thousands of miles from your States-based ex—but it’s also about as remote as you can get these days. Go hiking around Cradle Mountain and biking through wild bushland, or just hang out with the locals in Hobart. The chances of running into a Tasmanian devil are better than running into your devil-like ex.
Another option? Drown your sorrows in a flurry of food. Our suggestion: head to New Orleans. Where else can you start your day with beignets and coffee, continue on to delicious po’boys, and finish it off with oysters and étouffée? And in between meals, you can feast on the fantastic music scene. Okay, it’s not a long-term solution, but that’s not what a rebound vacation is all about, anyway.
After you make it out of the bad behavior and grieving stages, the right trip becomes an opportunity to redefine yourself. A jaunt to nature’s open spaces or a sojourn doing volunteer work in underprivileged communities will leave you with a new outlook on life. (And don’t forget physical transformation: there’s nothing like some hot new abs to generate envy.)
So grab your passport. It’s time to send your heartbreak packing.
Utah: Get Outdoors
Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet at the Four Corners, in the raw extremes of towering plateaus and Navajo sandstone canyons. Find peace of mind in a solitary hike through the ruddy buttes of Monument Valley, or get a sense of your own smallness while contemplating the great arc of history in the ancient cliff dwellings of the Anasazi.
Heartbreak Hotel: Spa packages at the Amangiri in southern Utah, near Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks, incorporate wellness treatments, detox menus, guided hikes, and personal training on more than 600 solitary desert acres.
Croatia: Find Solitude
If you’re in the depths of breakup despair, sometimes you need to be by yourself. Croatia’s craggy Adriatic coastline is the perfect spot: it’s dotted with old lighthouses, which the government began renting out to tourists in 2000. The keepers are often your sole company at these isolated beacons, many of which are accessible only by boat. Décor tends toward the spartan, but there’s a certain gothic romanticism to the moaning winds and the storied histories of local shipwrecks.
Heartbreak Hotel: Plovput, Croatia’s national lighthouse authority, rents lighthouses through lighthouses-croatia.com, starting at $299 per week. The most remote is Palagruza, a three-hour boat ride from the southern island of Korcula.
Nashville: Wallow in Music
There’s nothing like country music to help you wallow—so head to the genre’s capital. Listen to the troubled troubadours at Brown’s Diner, a divey West End joint housed in an old trailer home, or squeeze into Robert’s Western World, a classic Lower Broadway honky-tonk where no one will hear you weep over the live country croonings of Brazil Billy. And don’t miss Printer’s Alley, a stretch of bars where you can sing songs of heartbreak and loss with other down-and-outers at country karaoke.
Heartbreak Hotel: Order room service (pulled-pork risotto balls) at the Hutton Hotel, then pull down the blackout shades.
Mexico: Relax with Friends
Love is a battlefield. And after your tour of duty, you deserve a little R&R. Rally some friends for a carefree weekend in Tulum, which sees its fair share of model types but has a friendly, boho vibe. Flirt with that cute table of filmmakers putting back reposado and jalapeños rellenos at the palapa-roofed restaurant El Tábano, then dance barefoot in the sand fronting local hot spot Mezzanine.
Heartbreak Hotel: Be within stumbling distance of the margaritas when you book one of the airy oceanfront rooms at Mezzanine.
Spain: Get Out Your Aggression
Each August, thousands take to the squares of Buñol, near Valencia, Spain, for La Tomatina, a rowdy urban food fracas. More than 150,000 overripe tomatoes zip through the air in the morning, culminating in a riot of street parties, parades, and fireworks. And anyone can join. Similar festivals include Thailand’s mid-April Songkran water-gun battles and India’s late-February/early-March Holi, when bands of revelers hurl handfuls of colored powder at each other.
Heartbreak Hotel: Tiny Buñol lacks good hotel options, so head to Valencia’s Hospes Palau de la Mar, a sleek boutique property built into an old villa. Sunken tubs peeking from behind dark wood panels make an ideal place to wash off the day’s carnage.
Brazil: Get Perspective
The breakup blinders can send even the most caring among us spiraling into self-absorption. Put your problems into perspective by booking a volunteer trip. Globe Aware organizes one-week placements in countries like Brazil, Thailand, and Jamaica to assist in rural schools, build wells, and deliver supplies to orphanages. At the program in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, you can help in the construction of a community center, teach English and computer lessons, or distribute fruits and vegetables to low-income families. You’ll return feeling truly lucky that a commitment-phobe ex is the worst blow that life has dealt you.
Heartbreak Hotel: Volunteers stay in a modest inn with running water, flushing toilets, and limited access to electricity. Basic, yes—but you’re here to help, not hang out.
New Orleans: Eat It Off
Heartburn is certainly better than heartache, and in the Big Easy, even doughnuts (sorry, beignets) are a culturally justifiable indulgence. The classic start to a New Orleans day is chicory coffee and that famous powdered, fried dough at Café du Monde in the French Quarter. Lunchtimes should be spent tucking into po’boys at Parkway Bakery and Tavern or sipping martinis with the ladies who lunch (on gumbo) in the patrician Commander’s Palace. Warm up for dinner with a round of happy-hour oysters and beer at the white clapboard Casamento’s, then move on to duck and andouille étouffée at a cozy spot like the Upperline.
Heartbreak Hotel: The tranquil Soniat House, in the French Quarter, is an ideal place to sleep off your feast…at least until the hotel’s famous buttermilk biscuits arrive.
Hawaii: Get in Shape
The next time you encounter your heartbreaker, don’t be pallid and 10 pounds heavier: get yourself to surf camp. Hanging ten creates the core strength, flexibility, and balance responsible for hot bodies like Cameron Diaz’s. Most camps appeal to early risers who hit the beach for jogging at 6 a.m., spend the morning at surf lessons and the afternoon doing yoga, then hit the waves again. You’ll pass out each night pleasantly exhausted from the sun and surf.
Heartbreak Hotel: Maui’s all-inclusive Swell surf camp sits on 27 lush acres along Ka’anapali Beach. Both coed and women’s-only retreats incorporate wellness, yoga, and massage along with healthy fare focused on local seafood and organic veggies.
Uruguay: Get Debaucherous
Picking a place for an indulgent getaway can be tricky, since you don’t want to end up with spring breakers in Cancún. Opt for Uruguay’s Jose Ignacio, once a sleepy fishing village, where the beaches are now filled with Brazilian models, European playboys, and in-the-know celebs like Naomi Watts and Shakira. Cozy up to a bronzed soccer star over caipiroscas at the chic Parador La Huella restaurant, or score an invite to a beach bonfire.
Heartbreak Hotel: South American socialites and polo players flirt over midnight dinners at the sexy Estancia Vik, a see-and-be-seen hotel set on 4,000 acres of rolling fields and beaches right outside of town.
Tasmania: Get Remote
This heart-shaped island is, ironically, one of the world’s most isolated. Located 150 miles south of Australia’s mainland, it’s the literal last stop for ships heading to Antarctica. There will be no chance of awkward encounters with an ex when you’re rappelling down the 300-foot jagged face of Cataract Gorge or mountain biking through wild bushland to old tin mines. And unlike some other remote isles, here you’re more likely to run into rugged outdoorsy types than cooing newlyweds.
Heartbreak Hotel: Floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlook the cobalt waters of Coles Bay at Saffire Freycinet, a luxury retreat set to open June 1 on a peninsula off the island’s eastern shore. On-site spa treatments use local sapphire dust to balance your chakras, and guided meditations incorporate yoga and Qigong for mind-body healing.
Alaska or New York City: Find Singles
It never hurts to have the numbers on your side. Alaska is known for its abundance of single guys, who come here to be gold miners, oil workers, hunters, trappers, and fishermen. For guys, New York City is home to 200,000 more single women than men. Make your way to the Meatpacking District if you’re looking for a real-life Carrie and Samantha, or try a singles’ night at a museum for a different sort of crowd.
Heartbreak Hotel: In New York, the Standard Hotel, naturally; beg, borrow, or steal your way into the Boom Boom Room, one of the city’s hottest bars. In Alaska, cozy up to your lumberjack in the steamy waters of the Chena Hot Springs Resort.