We have all been dumped or had an intense mutual break up that brought about a roller coaster of emotions and crazy ideas like getting a post breakup haircut, tattoo or traveling until the tears dry and the anger wears off. Hopefully if we travel, the healing happens before we run out of money!
Last year I was dumped out of the blue and although it certainly did not feel good at the time, it was a great blessing in disguise. I won’t go into the many personal reasons why, but instead write about how this pushed me to travel on my own, question many things about my life, discover new things about myself and meet beautiful like-minded humans I now call friends.
Ready? Here are the reasons why I think traveling is the best way to heal a broken heart.
It got me thinking about something other than He Who Must Not Be Named
It is totally normal to drown in self-pity, self-blame and thoughts about what went wrong and everything you could have done differently. However sooner than later you will need to get out of your head, get some perspective and remember there was life before You-Know-Who. The sooner the better!
Traveling is refreshing and therapeutic as it gets you away from all the places and people who remind you of that @$^*%, and who many times don’t have the surplus to simply be there for you. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. Putting physical distance between you and these memories and situations sometimes is the best you can do at that moment.
By traveling, even if it is 50 kilometers away from home, you are leaving your comfort zone and being showered with new and unfamiliar situations which require your mind to be in the here and now. It is also refreshing to be somewhere where nobody knows your name nor your drama.
I met new people and learned from their experiences and perspectives
Going to new places will logically put you in contact with new people, and traveling alone you will be more open to talk to strangers and see what friendships might develop. You are living at your own pace, style and budget. If you were used to traveling with your X, this will be a wonderful opportunity to discover how cool it is to do things your way.
My first trip after the heart crushing event was to Sofia, Bulgaria. There I stayed by myself at an Airbnb and went out to meet some people I knew. One night we started playing ukulele and singing on Vitosha Boulevard and the coolest Bulgarian woman started asking us to play more songs, bought me a beer and we ended up hanging out again and we are still in contact.
I personally felt less inclined to tell these new acquaintances and friends about my fresh drama, focusing then on having enriching conversations about our lives and perspectives. My travels continued for another four months and during that time I even made friends with people on Uber rides in Mexico City.
I learned I don’t need anyone else to do the things I love the most
I love traveling and would often travel less because my Xs could not or did not want to travel as much as me. I would then shorten my vacations to travel the same time as them, and then feel silly because I could and should have stayed longer. I thought there was something wrong and selfish about planning things on my own, and this crisis taught otherwise!
During my first solo travel experience I even realized that in the past I stopped singing, writing and doing many things I love because the people I was with either did not like it or support it. But guess what? That is who I am and I have to do the things I love in order to be happy and shine some of that happiness onto others. This I learned while on the road with others who enjoyed my singing, writing and stories.
During those crazy months I also went to Mexico City and one day decided to head over to an eco-village in Tepoztlán. I would have usually stopped myself from going at the simple thought of taking public transport in Latin America and then sleeping alone at a total wild place with opossums walking in and out of my room at night. It was a wild and crazy experience, but I would do it 100000 more! Anyone can join, but I ain’t stopping myself from having fun because of somebody else.
It made me grow and explore new possibilities for my future
During my trip I had all kinds of crazy ideas about moving to the Adriatic Sea or starting a Colombian restaurant in Sofia. However I knew that my aching heart could not be trusted with any decision at the moment. Traveling gave me enough mental space to understand what I was going through and be patient.
I nevertheless did many things that I never thought I could or was too afraid to do like carrying my heavy backpack everywhere, sleep on the beach by myself, buy groceries in sign language, and try paddle boarding despite my fear of open waters. They all sounds silly, but these were big accomplishments for me that made me feel much more confident and independent.
During the last bit of my trip I had a bit more clarity and surplus and began applying for jobs and internships that have lead me to where I am now. I also learned that being happy on my own is the best things I can do for myself and others. When an upgrade to You-Know-Who appears I will already be an upgraded version of myself.
Traveling gave me perspective, confidence and showed me that there are many fish in the sea. Especially more who travel, read and think more like me. And that I don’t need to have a significant other to enjoy the company of like-minded awesome humans. I just need to be true to myself and have enough confidence to do the things I love the most.
Have you done any post-breakup traveling? How was your experience? What did you learn?