I am back in Phuket. The irony that I was here last time kissing the guy I am now crying over is not lost on me. Mind you, it is a big island and I am far away from any 7 Elevens reminding me with their annoying chirp that has become synonymous with Thailand and well, him.
I am grateful that The Naka where I am staying has a well-stocked hotel shop that has everything that I need and spares me the trip to said 7 Eleven: chocolate and tampons (and maybe some two-minute noodles I would never admit to actually eating).
By now I am well and over with this broken heart business. I am annoyed with myself but my heart doesn’t seem to care, it just wails on. But as one reader kindly (!) asked me - isn’t it better to be sad and heartbroken in paradise than at home? A rhetorical question if I ever saw one but I guess she had a point and so I wanted to take my stay in Phuket and sort myself out. Or at least try to.
Here is what I discovered, just in case you find yourself traveling and broken hearted too. A few things that are essential to helping you get over him (and yourself if you made it to that stage already) when you are in paradise instead of home:
1. Nice Sheets
Crying on really nice sheets is so much better than crying in a dingy hostel room. It shouldn’t make a difference, I know, but my hostel in Agra and my Airbnb in Galle will be forever edged in my mind as the worst moments of my life and I blame the dinginess and the heartbreak equally. So get yourself some 600 thread count sheets to spill your precious tears on.
2. Affordable Drinks
With that thread count usually comes a hefty price tag. While I don’t have to cry over that - thank you, Naka! - I still have to pay for my own wine and am grateful that I can afford it.
I speak from experience that there is nothing worse than a breakup and being stranded at a place where you can’t afford to get drunk.
3. Non-romantic private pool
Get yourself a decent size pool. In case you haven’t noticed, I am fancy (on the inside) and so many places I have stayed at come with a private plunge pool or jacuzzi. To be honest, I couldn’t care less. Plunge pools tend to be very cold and jacuzzis are just like fizzy bathtubs and I don’t even like normal bathtubs! Maybe they are alright when you are traveling with a significant other and can either sit and sip champagne or warm each other up in these freezing cold plunge pools. In lieu of a romantic counterpart, I tend to use those pools to wash my diving equipment.
And that’s where the Naka scores, because my pool is huge. Seriously big. It doesn’t only have a view and is nicely tempered but also big enough for me to actually swim. Hurrah for pools that don’t remind you that you are a solo traveler and single!
Killer sunsets are killer sunsets are killer sunsets. I was never a believer that you needed another person to appreciate natural beauty. In fact, sometimes the opposite is true. What if the person by your side wants to watch GoT instead of the sunset or starts farting while you gaze into the distance? As it is, luckily I don’t fart and realize that I can still appreciate the beautiful spectacle on my own. These are no filter!
5. Not too much romance
I have walked into hotel rooms on my own that had rose petals and heart-shaped towels on the bed when I was on my own. Once I even stayed at a hotel during a work excursion with my (female) cousin and we were greeted with a tiny plate of olives and a card congratulating me on my wedding. I was more upset that there was no champagne alongside the card and the olives than the fact that they reminded me of my lack of a wedding but still...
Sometimes hotels that try to be extra romantic and if it doesn’t make you sadder as a single traveler it will probably annoy the crap out of you.
Lucky for me, this isn’t the case at the Naka. It is a gorgeous luxury hotel in Phuket but without any cheesy touches. My villa is beautiful but modern and clean and lacks rose pedals (I do have dragonfruit and a free minibar instead!) and though there is a wedding happening during my stay, I only learn about it afterward. The wedding does come with a baby elephant which is the only part about missing it that makes me sad (and question why the heck anybody invites no friends and family but a single baby elephant, all ethical questions about the elephant aside).
The most important commandment of getting over a heartbreak is: thou shall have good wifi. To WhatsApp with your girlfriends, watch Grey’s Anatomy for distraction and to find new romance on Tinder (my brother met his girlfriend on Tinder, so maybe there is hope for the App - and for me of course!). But seriously, don’t be stuck somewhere without wifi when sad.
7. The concept of the Durian Party
The best advice I have possibly gotten over the last few months came from the event manager whom I met at dinner at the Naka's Skybar. She was telling me about her divorce and how hard it was to move on. Until her mother hosted a durian party for her. Formerly her favorite treat, she had given up on eating durian as her ex couldn’t stand the smell of it (and we cannot blame him for that!). With him gone from her life, she found solace in eating her favorite food once again and her mother turned it into a proper feast.
What was my durian? I am still not so sure but I was determined to find out because that mother’s advice was just brilliant.
My version of the durian? Lots of gluten!
7.5 Mothers know best
Which brings me to my last sort of advice - when in doubt, mothers know best and will never say I told you so. They will usually provide an excellent shoulder to cry on that no hotel pillow could ever come close. Sometimes no matter how beautiful paradise is, coming home is the best thing to do to get over a heartbreak when traveling.
What are your best tips to get over a heartbreak while traveling?
Thank you, Naka and Design Hotels, for helping get over my heartbreak!