Just over three months ago, I wrote about the benefits of a rebound vacation. Little did I know I’d soon be using my very own advice to cope with the end of a casual yet yearlong relationship. A day after splitsville I packed my bags, then left the next morning for the Dominican Republic, along with six other press members, for three days of soul-searching, recharging and occasionally drowning my sorrows in the enchanting town of Punta Cana. Stepping away to reflect in that moment of heartbreak was key. Ahead, how to achieve your own post-breakup jump-start—pro tip: a tropical backdrop doesn’t hurt.
Upon checking in at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, I refuse to make a beeline for the Wi-Fi. I have no intention of quitting the 'gram cold turkey, but I accumulate photos and videos to post later (while alone at the bar or back in my suite) rather than update constantly. When I come across something that reminds me of him, I type what I would've said via text into my Notes app instead. If anything, this method acts as a survival mechanism, and you'll soon discover that ignorance of another's social media footprint truly is bliss.
After devouring a five-course dinner at the resort's Blue Marlin restaurant, we're served cocktails named after each of us. ("The Samantha" has the apt disclaimer: Is it morning? Is it afternoon? Is it evening?—hinting at my consumption frequency.) Simply based on these descriptions, the seven of us couldn't be more different, yet we all manage to get along—so well, in fact, that I ended up spending my second night back in NYC with one of the girls as we cheer on her favorite NBA team, the Cavs. (For reference, my BFF and roomie is a die-hard Warriors fan.)
There's no time like the present—and no place like 1,500 miles away—to challenge yourself to do new things. Walking the trail of a dry forest, wading in an ancient cenote at Scape Park, snorkeling with a school of Nemos, drunkenly attempting the flamenco onstage with a trained dancer—as many activities as I can squeeze into my 72-hour stay, I try. Each time I step out of my comfort zone to test my physical limits, I learn a little bit more about myself. My feet were made for merengue! Octopus is my new favorite cephalopod! I'll never again forget to use sunblock!
Belting Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" during karaoke at the resort's new Sanctuary Town certainly helps, but the healing process doesn't begin until I allow myself to retreat to my quiet place. As someone who prefers to bottle up her emotions, I initially feel awkward sitting on my oceanfront balcony for an hour of catharsis. Among other things, I question whether I even have a right to feel the way I do—after all, it was only a situation-ship (i.e., no labels)—then promptly realize I should be grateful for what I do have: a clean bill of health, a strong support system of family and friends and a career that allows me to travel to a tropical paradise.
No surprise here: The most relaxing part of the trip is the Sanctuary Spa treatment and hydrotherapy circuit, where I magically forget about my real-world problems (you did good, AlSol). All I have to do is lie back, close my eyes and let the instrumentation of resort soundscapes (and my pro masseuse) do their thing. While I'm convinced I needed the out-of-country escape, you don't have to fly somewhere exotic to get over a special someone. Still, a change of scenery is an amazing way to start the process.