I was kayaking around Anacapa Island off the coast of Ventura, CA. The setting was stunning, but I was more focused on what — or rather, who — wasn't there: my 2-year-old daughter, Lucy, who was over 3,000 miles away in New Jersey with her babysitter. I felt guilty when I initially decided to go on the trip, but there was no way I could say no. I had always wanted to visit, and while the islands are family friendly, I knew Lucy wouldn't be up for things like hiking or kayaking. Besides, I didn't want to take the trip for her. I wanted to take the trip for myself.
I'm a single mom, and I don't have family nearby. That meant I needed to hire a babysitter for three days. I went back and forth about going a ridiculous number of times, but as I sat on the water, the waves lapping at my kayak, I was so thankful. Sure, I missed Lucy, but I hadn't realized how much I had missed myself. I hadn't kayaked since well before she was born, even though I used to lead kayak expeditions when I was in college. I had missed allowing my thoughts to unfold without interruption. I had missed letting myself set the schedule.
When I came back, I felt happy to see Lucy and happy in my own skin. I felt more energized, more relaxed, and absolutely certain that a solo mom trip isn't bad — it's wonderful. To be totally honestly, I think that alone time made me a better parent. It made me more aware of my own needs, more appreciative of the bond Lucy and I have, and thankful that the "old" me is still there. And I can't wait to plan another trip, so if you're also in need of a little getaway, keep reading for 10 of the best places you can travel to — all by yourself.