Living life as a separated or divorced person is like wandering into uncharted territory. Like a traveler in a foreign country, so much of what you will experience is new or unfamiliar. There's the legal process, your changing social network, the emotional roller coaster rides, creating new relationships, and the opportunity to redefine and reinvent yourself. Getting divorced is like experiencing a form of culture shock.

If you've ever traveled to a foreign country, or even a part of the country you've never been to before, you've already developed some skills as an adventurer that you can apply in your divorce journey. Having a travel adventure is fun. So what would happen if we brought more of the explorer's spirit of curiosity with us in our life after divorce? What if we treated our lives as one big adventure? Most people tend to reserve that sense of wonder and excitement to the few weeks of the year when they may travel to some new destination.

Here are some strategies to help you make your life after divorce journey a lot more enjoyable:

1. Set a course and be prepared. Divorce can leave you feeling quite lost initially, even if it was your decision to end the relationship. Like planning any trip, you first need to decide where you want to go. When planning a trip or adventure, you consciously choose your destination. Once you've decided where you want to go, you get prepared. You figure out how to get there, what kind of currency and immunizations you’ll need, and what kind of clothing you need to bring.

Use those same planning skills when you're on your divorce journey. Where do you want to end up? Do you want to simply survive your divorce experience, or do you want to thrive as a result of it? Take stock of any kind of emotional or legal support you may need. Perhaps it's time to retrain for a new career. Start to map out a course for yourself.

2. Set an itinerary. Once the destination has been selected, most of us will come up with at least a rough game plan or itinerary. What do you want to see and experience? How long will you want to stay there? You can ask yourself the same questions when you're healing from your divorce. For example, perhaps you want to take some time out from the relationship scene while you re-group after your divorce. I used an upcoming significant birthday for myself as a target date to have my legal matters completed. Even if it's a rough idea, an itinerary provides the starting point and a rough structure for the adventure.

3. Pack along your curiosity. An important ingredient of any adventure is a strong sense of curiosity. As you set off for parts unknown after your divorce, you become an explorer. Imagine that you are setting off to find out something new and wondrous, and will likely learn something about yourself that you never knew before.

Some divorced people feel a sense of shame or failure being single again, whereas others rejoice in a chance to reinvent themselves as single people. Your attitude and perspective are critical, and fostering a sense of curiosity (and a good sense of humor) can make all the difference. Curiosity gives you permission to experiment and be in a state of "not knowing."

4. It's not personal. When you travel, you just know that unexpected things are bound to happen. Returning from a relaxing spa weekend with dear friends, I unexpectedly ended up spending the middle of the night on the floor in Chicago's O'Hare Airport due to weather problems. The experience was frustrating, but I looked for whatever positives I could find. I decided it was a luxury to be able to snooze on the tiny bit of carpeting the arrivals area offered.

Unexpected glitches are inevitable but you don't take them personally. Yet in our personal lives, when we hit a bump in the road we do often take our setbacks personally, letting our negative internal critic do its evaluation of why we can't get what we want.

Setbacks and surprises are part of the equation in anyone's divorce journey, so it's vital you learn to not take them personally. Simply chalk those glitches up to experience and know that you've got another good adventure or divorce story to share afterwards. Treat your life like an adventure and give yourself leeway to make on-the-spot changes in your plans and go with the flow.

5. It's the journey, not the destination. When you travel to a new destination, you probably take the time to appreciate the journey along the way. Yet in our regular, daily lives, quite often we don't. As you move through your healing process after divorce, take the time to consciously notice things that you appreciate in your daily life. Perhaps you notice your self-confidence growing, or you meet a new friend. Maybe you make an important decision you’ve been putting off. Take time regularly to celebrate your wins and it will make your journey that much sweeter.

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn B. Ellis is the Founder of Thrive After Divorce, Inc. A Harvard University graduate, Carolyn is a Certified Master Integrative Coach™, Teleclass Leader and the first Canadian to be certified as a Spiritual Divorce Coach. She has also served as a Staff Coach at the Institute for Integrative Coaching at John F. Kennedy University in San Francisco, CA, and has been trained personally by its founder, NY Times best-selling author Debbie Ford. Her book, The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive after Divorce will be published in 2007. She is a member of Collaborative Practice Toronto. Her three amazing school age children and bouncy labradoodle dog are her daily sources of inspiration and joy.

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Carolyn B. Ellis, the Official Guide To Divorce