Last week an article I wrote about heartbreak and the lessons I’ve learned, was published. And it got me thinking about travel, and how it has been instrumental in helping me heal over the years.
I remember maybe ten years ago, going through probably the biggest break-up of my life. The pain, the tears and needing to hold it together for work and for my kid. It was challenging, to say the least. And I remember having an upcoming business trip to Vancouver that first week and absolutely dreading it. Leaving the comfort of my bed to go hang out with my work mates and give a presentation seemed impossible and definitely not something I felt like doing.
But I had to go. I had to muster up what little strength and sanity I had and take that trip. I remember bits and pieces but most importantly I remember I got through it. I went, I did the presentation, I ate dinner with my colleagues, I smiled. I walked the streets of Vancouver, I looked out at the Pacific ocean and I savoured the big white bed in my hotel room where, at the end of each day, I would fall into and let myself go.
And then I remember being back in Toronto and walking along a busy street to work. It was a really sunny day and it felt as though I had been away for much longer than a few days. The pain had shifted and I was feeling a peace that hadn’t been there before I’d left. Although it would be years before I was completely over that relationship, that little jaunt to Vancouver catapulted me forward a small distance towards healing. I was so grateful.
On another occasion I remember traveling to Mexico after the end of another relationship. I had a free evening to myself one night and decided to have dinner at a favourite restaurant on the beach, with toes in the sand and a glass of white in my hand. After finishing up and leaving the restaurant I spotted some steps leading down to the beach – steps I had walked so many times before. I went over and sat towards the top, staring at the sea stretched out in front of me, in the darkness of night. And it was there I let my heart break and the tears fall down my face until there were no more.
I don’t believe we should seek to escape the pain and hurt of a broken heart by traveling. There is no getting away from heartbreak if you really want to heal, and if you try to escape, you will fail miserably. You will arrive at your destination and find that you, the same broken you, is there. But, if you use travel as a healing balm, a comfort to your aching soul, knowing that full healing takes time and patience, travel can be wonderful and help to move you forward just a little.
Choosing to travel when my insides hurt is not something I find easy. At all. Each time it has taken effort to go, to leave that comfy bed of mine, but each time it has proved to be the best thing for me. And I’m not sure exactly what it is that does the trick, whether it’s the change of scenery or schedule or the unexpected kindness of strangers, but whatever it is, travel has helped me to heal.
And if I’m lucky enough to go somewhere near a lake or ocean, even sweeter.