It happens to the best of us and to all of us. Everyone has an opinion and advice to give. Today, I’m talking about heartbreak. The heavy feeling on your chest, the tears and the ‘not knowing what to do with yourself’. We’ve been through this before and it might not be the last time. The good news? You are going to get through this and you’ll come out this on the other side as a stronger person.
Allow yourself a certain period of mourning and then it’s time to move on. Time to wash your hair and put on actual clothes. Yes, maybe even a little bit sooner than you want to. Visit family and friends, they know and love you and are willing to listen to your side of the story (at least for the first 20-odd times). Maybe they can even make sense of it all more than you can.
You know the drill. Time to delete all those photos, especially the ones where you look particularly happy together. You know the ones of that wedding, they have to go! This might seem harsh, but there is just no point in staring your way into oblivion. Next up are all the text messages, if you don’t have the heart to delete all of them, at least archive them. You don’t need to see his or her name every time you open Whatsapp. Facebook, urgh, another fun box full of memories. Hide his feed (or unfriend him if that’s what you need) and you might want to consider hiding people who might post about him. We’re talking about minimizing the surprises here. Next up: your jewelry drawer, sweet notes, anything and everything that brings you back to how much you used to mean for each other. I’m not saying you have to do a ritual burning of all things that might make you sob, but putting them out of immediate reach is definitely the way to go.
On Mount Ijen, a sulfur volcano in Java, Indonesia
How Travel mends a Broken Heart
Once you’ve come to a point where you can actually tell the story without crying, I would like to introduce you to the cure of all cures. Simply the best way to cure your broken heart. Trust me here, I’ve been here before and this is even better than getting a brand new haircut or outfit. Not to even mention far better than hitting the club and drinking your tears into oblivion. I’m talking about travel!
Time to move on also means time to explore. Whether it is solo travel or city tripping with a friend, all kinds of travel can do a world of good. In my humble personal opinion, travel is the absolute best way to mend a broken heart. Maybe not for all the reasons you’re thinking right now.
1. You get to run
This is the one you were all expecting, right? I know, I know, you’re not supposed to run. But it sure feels good those first couple of days.
Why the hell should you not be allowed to run? Even though the pain will travel along with you, traveling to a different city or country will take you out of the context in which the pain happened. Maybe you lived together and the flat is filled with memories. Or you can still vividly remember that movie night you had. Taking yourself out of the context of where it all happened will replace your sad thoughts with the excitement of a new place. This will slowly allow you to function a little bit better every day. You know, without hiding in the bathroom to cry.
Mending hearts in Koh Tao, Thailand
2. Travel keeps you occupied
Travel always requires a certain degree of planning. Planning automatically distracts you from those moments together. You can look at hotels or Airbnb (receive $45 off your first booking here) or even start planning every single details from your trip if you really need to. Being occupied is a great way to start moving on and what better way then to plan a fun trip abroad?
3. Travel challenges you
Putting yourself in a new environment challenges your brain to think about other things. Especially when traveling to a new culture you won’t have time to think about that old love. You will be too busy figuring out where to stay, how to take a cab for the right price or figuring out the rules of this new culture. Before you know it, you haven’t though about him/her for 10 minutes and in a couple of weeks or even days you might even go a whole day without thinking about the heartbreak.
Eternal love for Bonnieux and all the memories made there
4. You meet new people
Oh isn’t this the best side-effect of traveling! If you want to benefit fully from meeting new people while traveling I would definitely recommend trying solo travel. These new friends will probably have experienced heartbreak themselves and will be willing to listen to your stories. Even if your friends back home no longer want to hear that same story.
When you’re talking to strangers about what happened you will likely be more open than with people that know you. This is because there is no context and you are less afraid of their judgment. Talking to strangers can often be a very sobering and interesting experience.
Of course, you will be doing more than talking about your heartbreak with these new and interesting people! You’re here to experience new things after all. Meeting people abroad, where everyone finds itself in a similar situation, will open up your world to people from all countries and social circles. People who might not have even become your friend within daily life because they are so different. That is what makes friends that you meet overseas so valuable. They add to your life in ways you could have never imagined. No judgment and no boundaries is often a philosophy amongst travelers and that might exactly be what you need at this time.
5. It creates distance
First of all, travel provides you with some awesome physical distance. Both distance from the person you do not want to see and the fact that you don’t have to worry about running into your ex or anybody else involved is quite a relief.
Travel will also provide you with the necessary emotional distance. Stepping outside your usual context can give you a clear view on your current situation. Talking to people who know nothing about your situation might also offer you a rational side that you haven’t thought of yet.
On the farm in Queensland, Australia
Western Australia never disappoints
6. You discover yourself again
This is the big one folks! Travel offers so much when it comes to personal development. I wrote about this here as well. You are completely uprooted from much that you know and have to figure things out from the bottom up. You will have to practice much more patience than you’re used to and you will be responsible for all of your own decisions. Figuring out what and who is important to you will become a big part of your experience.
7. You will grow
You might choose to learn new skills while traveling (hint: you really should, it’s awesome!). Maybe a whole new world will open up when you learn how to scuba dive. Or you might even start driving tractors around the countryside. Those old limitations? Out of the window, hello new you!
On the dive boat in the Maldives
8. It is real
Last but not least, traveling through beautiful countries and meeting kick-ass people actually does make you forget about your heartbreak. You form true bonds with people that will care and love you from a distance (travelers tend to move around a lot). They will have known you when you were brutally honest and completely 100% yourself and thought you were awesome anyway. You’ll go back home with so much more knowledge about yourself, your culture and the way you want to live your life.
So all that I’m asking you now is, what destination is going to conquer your heart next?
The bluest waters of Western Australia