The first vacation I ever took solo was to Club Med Turkoise in May of 1995, just prior to my 29th birthday. Up until that point, I had traveled quite often both domestically and internationally with friends. However, I had reached that interesting point in life when my “partners in crime” were becoming increasingly unavailable. They were dropping like flies! Many friends had paired off and/or had gotten married. Some friends simply could not coordinate their time off from work with mine. Others did not share an interest in my chosen destinations.
On this particular occasion of May 1995, I was also dating a guy who flaked out on our travel plans at the last minute which left me annoyed and insulted. Luckily, I have never been one to wallow for too long or hold onto dead weight. So, without missing a beat, I dropped the approximate 170+ pounds that was “He Who Shall Remain Nameless” and returned my attention to the task of feeding my urgent and primal need to travel the world.
While I was disappointed that no one was available to join me on my next adventure, I found the very thought of missing out on a much needed vacation, due to this unfortunate circumstance, to be even more alarming and unacceptable. Since I was a bit exhausted and caught off guard by my unexpected change of plans, I walked my soon-to-be 29 year old ass over to an actual brick and mortar CLUB MED office on Park Avenue in New York City where I let the good folks there help me choose the most appropriate location for a solo traveler of my age. And so it came to pass, that my first adult vacation solo was at CLUB MED TURKOISE in beautiful Providenciales, Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean.
CLUB MED TURKOISE was the perfect destination for me at that time. It catered largely, but not exclusively, to singles and solo travelers. The average age of visitors to this specific property was between the age of 25-40. Another great advantage, was that this was an all-inclusive vacation property with the charter flight included in the total cost of the package. This aspect took the work out of planning a vacation by myself and for myself off of MY shoulders at a time when I just needed to get out of town, hit the beach and keep my head from exploding!
I would become no stranger to paying single-supplement fees during the years to come. However, since CLUB MED TURKOISE was my very first solo vacation and I was still young enough, I agreed to have a roommate. This decision saved me money at my relatively young age and helped me ease my way into my first solo travel experience. As it turned out, I met a great, young woman my age in the airport who was awaiting the same charter flight to CLUB MED TURKOISE. She was returning there for a second time, after a great first experience the previous year. I was thrilled to receive her glowing testimonial of this place! We hit it off immediately, chatted on the plane and decided to room together during that week ahead. This was one less detail for me to manage upon arriving at my destination!
CLUB MED TURKOISE was a great property, especially for the cost. The rooms were rustic, clean and comfortable as were most CLUB MED accommodations around the world at the time (so I learned). Turks & Caicos, is considered one of the top scuba diving locations in the world and, therefore, time here is meant to be spent outdoors enjoying the incredible beach, water activities, abundant seafood, local fruit and lovely people from all over the world who visit this island. No need to spend too much time in my room. I remember that this location had just finished building a circus area where my roommate enjoyed some tight-rope walking lessons! I cheered her on. Very fun.
Dining was held largely at communal tables which is great for the solo traveler who is self-conscious about eating alone. I enjoyed conversations with several people during meals with whom I met up with later on during my stay for snorkeling, volleyball, dancing and, well, more dining. We exchanged a wide array of stories from our previous travels and our new experiences at CLUB MED TURKOISE. A few of us developed a small clique of our own. It was with those special few people that I celebrated my 29th birthday in beautiful Turks & Caicos, amidst the flowing tropical breezes, tasty libations and an outdoor disco under a sky filled with stars!
I also ventured off of the CLUB MED property to explore other aspects of Providenciales. Along the way, I met a very attractive man who was a manager at one of the upscale hotels nearby. He knew this island very well and he was extremely well-traveled. We spent some time together during my stay in Turks & Caicos, we kept in touch and saw each other a few times over some years after my trip there…an additional, lovely and unexpected memory I would have never made, if I had been too afraid to travel solo!
I know that it has been 18 years since I took this trip through CLUB MED, so I am not sure how much their many properties, practices and offerings have changed. So, check out them out.
ROAM. REVEL. REPEAT.
*(Disclaimer: As my vacation took place prior to the advent of smartphones and high-tech digital cameras, the photos shown in this post are more current depictions of Club Med Turkoise and they were taken from clubmed.com and tripadvisor.com).