I was married for about nine and a half months a few years ago and my marriage ended in the only way it could have: in a quick but intense haze of destruction.
That said, we had some good times, like all couples in relationships that are doomed occasionally have good times. One of those good times was deciding where to go on our honeymoon. My ex-husband left that choice to me, largely because he had never once been out of the country. My parents had traveled a lot when I was a kid, and I was a big fan of going abroad, so we both figured I’d have an easier time researching a great destination for us to visit.
I chose Costa Rica. Prior to my wedding, Costa Rica had been a destination I had wanted to visit for a long time – I just always imagined I’d be doing it alone. See, I wasn’t exactly the marrying kind, but I somehow forgot that and got married anyway. I knew it was a mistake from the beginning – in fact, I even knew it was a mistake the day of my wedding – but I figured Costa Rica for our honeymoon, at least, would be a great choice (even if nothing else about getting married was).
I was right. And I was wrong.
My ex-husband, who, as mentioned, had never been out of the country, was so nervous about going abroad that he wanted to stay in a multinational American hotel.
Okay…not my first choice, but I figured it would be okay if we got out and explored.
Nope. My terrified-of-being-in-another-country-ex-husband didn’t want to leave the property. At all. He wanted to do the tours and activities offered by the resort, either on the resort property or right off it, and that’s it. The one day we ventured out alone, I convinced him to rent a car (from the resort, of course), and we drove in a straight line to get some lunch and drove straight back. Not exactly my idea of exploration.
So why was my honeymoon awful? It’s not because my marriage was already a disaster (which it was), it’s because staying in a multinational hotel chain and not venturing outside of the property is no way to see a new destination.
See, in order to really experience someplace new, you have to get out of your comfort zone and really experience the place. If you’re just going to stay in your sheltered bubble, what’s the point of traveling?
Last time I went to Costa Rica, I stayed in an expensive American hotel for five days and only left the property once. This time, I’m doing it my way: I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll do hostels or airBNBs or a mix of both – but I know for damn sure I’ll be leaving the property.
And getting out to explore.