Breakups can be brutal. You may want to curl up in the fetal position for a few days or weeks, cocooned in blankets.
After some time and plenty of tissue boxes, you eventually break out of that cocoon and function again. Breaking out of bed is, unfortunately, the easy part — breaking out of your former self requires more work. Emotions aren't cookie-cutter; they're messy and complicated and sometimes, your heart dominates your mind.
Thankfully, traveling is a great remedy to the breakup blues. It helps clear your mind, shed your skin and speed up the emotional healing process. Everyone knows that leisurely travel is a fun idea year-round, but here are 10 reasons why while you’re navigating a breakup is the optimal time to travel:
1. If you get lost enough, you find yourself.
Planning an itinerary is a great, healthy distraction. Researching places and activities is educational and gives you something productive to do.When you finally arrive at your destination, you'll probably get lost and be forced to find your way.
Once you are successful, you'll have proved to yourself that you're a badass who is capable of anything. If you're a woman, you'll discover your inner warrior princess. If you're a guy, you'll tap into your deep-rooted 300 Spartan.
No matter your gender, your skin will thicken and your soul will grow.
2. The little things you do while away will boost your self-esteem.
Driving, getting around alone, trying new things, seeing new places, tasting new foods and using a map will make you feel like a god or goddess. If you start to doubt yourself, just remember that you’ve got this, even by yourself.
Pfft, especially by yourself. Go ahead and climb those metaphorical and physical mountains.
3. Travel catalyzes growth.
Traveling is the Neosporin of emotional wounds. Everything you would normally feel while healing at home most likely feels 10 times better or has more meaning if you do it alone and in a foreign place.
Also, the scary element of a new place makes muscles of independence develop faster. If you can do something abroad or out-of-state, you can feel confident about conquering any task, regardless of the setting.
4. You meet people.
Not only that, but you meet people who probably have the same or similar interests as you, who are also often alone. They are usually good, fun people. This makes you realize that even when you ARE alone in life, you aren’t really. You'll be surprised by how many friends you'll make if you are open. Just remember to keep your eyes open and be safe about it.
5. You observe the world in a new way, literally.
You start to notice the regularly overlooked details of the planet with a new pair of eyes and profound appreciation. You look at life with unparalleled wonder; you welcome the sight of that awkward squirrel and notice the shape of the clouds.
6. You get peace and quiet.
Think of your passport as a mute button. Traveling allows you to reflect on the relationship without the influence of others' opinions. By doing this, you also avoid the risk of responding to or contacting your ex.
More importantly, having no cellular service abroad could help you kick old conversational habits. Being newly single will probably make you miss the addictive dopamine rush you would otherwise experience after receiving a text from your ex. By having your phone on airplane mode while away, you eliminate the text message cues that elicit a reward reaction.
In this way, you can train yourself to be happy without your phone buzzing.
7. Out of sight, out of mind.
Being away can be just what you need. You will be out and about, sightseeing and breathing in fresh air instead of repeatedly checking his or her Facebook. You simply won’t be tempted to stay indoors, crying in front of a computer screen, television or both when you’re in a new place.
Removing yourself from familiar places, people and surroundings also prevents memories from the relationship to resurface.
Additionally, being out of the country or state shields you from all of the people who want you to rebound during your vulnerable state. That supposedly innocent “shoulder to cry on” could quickly turn into a face to suck. Trust me, you don't want to suck that face right now, and you probably never will.
8. You will be forced to smile for photos!
Studies show that forcing yourself to smile actually improves your mood.
Grinning releases endorphins, which make you happy, even if you're in a sour mood. So, go show off your pearly whites and take cheesy tourist photos to your heart's content.
9. Plane rides give you time to get comfortable with just being alone.
They also give you a small window during which you can pamper yourself.
Being on a plane is similar to being at a restaurant; you have people to serve and wait on you.You're also in a safe place, provided that there is no turbulence!
Drink some champagne and chill out on your flight with a movie or music. You can also read, sleep or look out the window and admire the cities you pass. Do so and think about all of the other singles in the world.
On the plane, you can even secretly cry if you feel like it. It's better to get the emotions out inside the aircraft, rather than inside Notre Dame.
10. Travel makes you grow.
If you travel while you're already in the process of change, you will come out more capable than before. Greatness is born outside of comfort zones.
Having positive thoughts and feelings are one thing, but actually going out and doing things for yourself provides evidence for what you can do. You can do it all if you give yourself the chance. After all, strength is thrust upon us when being strong is our only option.
Breakups cloud minds, but everyone should remember that love may be an adventure — as is life. Loss of love doesn't mean loss of life, though; it just means you will have a different kind of adventure, one with yourself. Love, honor and respect yourself. Stand on your own two feet, and if you can afford it, stand on them abroad, or out-of-state.
Don't just keep your head up; look up and look around at the fantastic world in which we live. Absorb and cherish the spectacular moments you provide yourself and take pride in them.
In a few years, you might not even recall your ex's name, but you will remember the rugged, dry-skinned texture of a Thai elephant, falling madly in love with gelato in Italy or nearly crying after laying your eyes on the indescribable beauty of La Sagrada Familia's interior.