In the last two years, the list of niche vacation options has grown considerably. In addition to staycations, nakations, and bleisure travel, we now have babymoons, mini-moons, and spatisserie (don’t ask). However, it appears that even the concept of shared vacationing might soon become passé. Welcome the solomoon. It’s all the joy, relaxation, and Instagramming of a traditional honeymoon without your pesky spouse.
Also called unimooning, the idea is simple. Couples celebrate their newly wedded bliss by immediately getting the hell away from one another for a week or more. If it sounds like just another marketing buzzword, it may be. The mere 1,500 #solomoon-related posts on Instagram would indicate it’s not yet a globe-sweeping trend a la 2015’s #TheDress meme. However, The New York Times reports the concept is gaining traction. In its recent article, “Until Honeymoon We Do Part,” the paper interviewed several married couples who actively sought some post-wedding time apart.
Irish newlyweds Mel Maclaine and Irene O’Brien spent their 2016 honeymoon on separate continents. O’Brien told The Times, “Neither of us wanted to be where the other one was. We each came back to Dublin full of stories, buzzing of our trips and truly delighted to see each other again to share the memories: It was the perfect imperfect honeymoon.”
Some experts contend that it’s merely a sign that the concepts of traditional relationships, in general, and marriage, in particular, are evolving. Sociologist Jessica Carbino concluded, “Given the recognition that for most couples today, marriage and partnership is considered all-consuming, with the partner needing to fulfill every role — physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual — perhaps separate vacations is a recognition among some couples that all expectations cannot be met by a single person.”
Travel no doubt bolsters one’s sense of adventure, curiosity, and spirit while building self-confidence and self-esteem, and solo travel is exponentially better for all the same reasons. There’s a reason Australia and much of Western Europe encourages the idea of the gap year (i.e., taking time off between high school and college to “find oneself,” usually through extended travel). The huge demand for group solo tours seems to indicate that now more than ever people want to experience solo travel. Last month, New York Post cited new research that one in four Americans prefers to travel alone with nearly half admitting they’d love to do a lot more solo travel.
It seems this desperate need for “me time” is also born partly of a modern, pragmatic dilemma: many people are overworked and severely deprived of downtime. So, they’re taking advantage of it wherever and whenever they can, even if that means honeymooning sans spouse. But at what cost?
William and Melissa Powers opted to solomoon after their wedding in 2011. She went to the Dominican Republic, while he strolled around Paris alone. In the end, Mr. Powers regretted it: “It’s a very individualistic, modern practice of efficiency over everything else. I think that it’s tied with workaholism and being on the work-and-spend treadmill when you can’t even coordinate one of the most important times of your life together.” Indeed.
Jean-Paul Sartre famously said, “Hell is other people.” Anyone who’s ever visited an airport during Christmas week would agree. However, aren’t honeymoons by definition about sharing time with another person? Even the most introverted of introverts would have to admit that solomooning just seems … lonely. Call us old-fashioned, but we can’t help think it odd to celebrate one of life’s greatest commitments to another person by demanding time away from them.