Ten Ways Travel Helps You Heal After A Breakup

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.

More Advice

The Founder of Behere, Meesen Brown, Shares Her Top Tips For A Solo Trip

When You Have A Trip Planned Together, And They Break Up with You

How I Learned to Stop Picking the Wrong Partner

When you’re young, schools warn you about all types of addictions: smoking, drugs and alcohol, but they never caution about the most dangerous addiction of all: people. 

During and after college, I very much became somewhat of a love addict. A constant hunger for adoration and validation tortured me for years. I gave years of my life to the wrong people—people who didn’t actually deserve me.

Now that I’ve gotten over my addiction, and have been single for some time, my best friends have made looking for a boyfriend easier by giving me love-changing advice. I’m better equipped to scope out the one who will stick by my side, no matter what, and treat me as a loving equal.

With the hopes that you avoid learning love lessons the hard way, here’s the advice that has helped me.

“If he can’t handle dealing with minor relationship issues, he will fail to tackle the big ones.”

My best friend made it clear to me that if your partner is unable to communicate with you when fixing small problems in your relationship, he most likely won’t be able to handle larger matters in the future. 

For instance, I was having fights with my boyfriend at the time about spending more time together. Instead of voicing his feelings, he hid them, and wasn’t willing to work through them. As a result of this, the relationship failed. Now when I look for a partner, I try to find someone who is open to communication, making compromises, and fixing problems as a unit.

A similar situation took place with a different ex. I asked to be driven to the airport, and he retorted that “that didn’t sound fun.” His answer was a major red flag because when you’re in love with someone you do those “not-so fun” tasks for him or her—not because you enjoy them, but to show that you care.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to do things like drive you to the airport now, he or she most likely won’t want to pick up your children from daycare later. The right partner will be unconditionally supportive of you because that is simply what good partners do.

In the same vein, it’s critical to remember that relationships are two-way streets. If you want a long-lasting relationship, you have to put in the work. Reciprocate appreciation, and show time and time again that you are in it for the long haul. If your partner is not doing these things in return, and making you a priority, then you shouldn’t be with that person.

“You are crazy, and if he doesn’t love that about you, then he doesn’t deserve you.”

“Accepting” should definitely be on the top of your checklist when seeking out good qualities in a partner. One night I asked my best friend if she thought I was coo coo for Cocoa Puffs for texting my partner more than usual. She replied that I was, but that my innocent bursts of insanity are what make me me. She said “You are crazy, and if he doesn’t love that about you, then he doesn’t deserve you.” She was right.

The old saying goes that “if you can’t handle someone at their worst, then you don’t deserve them at their best.” This statement bears truth in relationships. If you tend to sweat the small stuff in life, like me, it would be beneficial to seek out someone who will reassure you that everything is going to be okay. 

Steer clear of people who constantly judge you, and put you down just because you are a bit of a worry wart. Forego people who are not understanding, and fall only into the arms of those willing to catch you.

“Sometimes your heart needs to go on a diet.”

Sometimes love needs to be cut out of your life like a bad fat. It’s very important to take time for yourself, particularly after a relationship ends. In order to effectively love again, you have to make sure that all the pieces of your heart are glued back together first. If you don’t, then you will be unfairly giving someone a broken, incomplete love instead of the healthy love he or she deserves. 

I’ve definitely been guilty of jumping from one sinking ship to the next, but relationships shouldn’t be escapes or distractions. They are supposed to be selfless connections. 

Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to step back from the dating world and take a break. Doing so will potentially help you heal and grow in both life and love. So, go ahead and take a seat on the bench. Give that heart of yours a break until you’re ready to get back out there.

Forty Signs You’re Over Your Ex

Going through a breakup is like surviving a car accident. Sometimes it’s a fender bender that can be easily fixed. But sometimes it’s a harrowing accident that leaves your heart completely totaled.

Regardless of the severity of your emotional injuries, breakups can be brutal and life-changing. And we have to go through them alone.

But after enough time, the most excruciating pain — which you thought would never end — starts to subside.

Every day, you think of your ex less and less. Eventually, you no longer think of him or her at all. You’ve licked your wounds and rehabilitated yourself. You’ve stopped focusing on the mess you’ve left; you think of your new goals instead.

Then, one day, you lay your head on your pillow at night and realize that, by some miracle, your ex is absent from your thoughts.

While you were busy living your life, love’s splinter finally fell out. And suddenly, you’re aware of all of the signs that mean you’re completely over your ex.

1. You can look at couples without wanting to die inside.

2. You’re perfectly content with coming home to yourself.

3. You look at a photo of your ex and see a familiar face, at most — NOT the love of your life.

4. You stop obsessively checking certain social media pages.

5. You’re genuinely happy when your ex moves on and finds someone else.

6. You no longer fantasize about getting back together. Instead, you now envision your wedding day with a mystery groom or bride.

7. The hurt is gone, and you make yourself happy every day (It turns out that having no feelings can be the best feeling).

8. You don’t cry yourself to sleep anymore.

9. Your ex isn’t on your mind when you wake up and go to sleep.

10. The memories you have of your relationship are like honey after the bees have left the hive: You can experience their sweetness without being stung.

11. You’re not waiting for a text that will never come.

12. You find the actual journey in movies and stories more exciting than the “happy ending.”

13. You acknowledge that it’s okay to get a little sad sometimes that this person is no longer in your life, but you’re no longer distressed by the thought.

14. You see a little piece of a boyfriend/girlfriend in everyone during your day (that guy who smiles at you when he hands you a newspaper every morning is your morning beau; you’re smitten when the 7-Eleven cashier wishes you a good night).

15. You’re open to finding a new partner, but you’re in no rush.

16. You feel strong. You’ve survived all five stages of grief, so you feel like Hercules after he conquered his 12 labors. You’ve done your time, and you know you can do anything you set your mind to.

17. You focus more on your career, hobbies, family and friends than on finding love.

18. Activities are no longer distractions, because you’re not thinking about your ex anymore. They’re things you love to do for the sake of doing them.

19. You can listen to both breakup and love songs without getting teary-eyed.

20. You’re hopeful instead of resentful.

21. When something amazing or crazy happens to you, your ex isn’t the first person you think to call.

22. You cuddle pillows without pretending they’re your ex.

23. You’ve accepted that it’s better to be single and happy than in a relationship and miserable.

24. Your eyes don’t light up when you say or hear your ex’s name. If you mention your former love at all, it’s like you’re describing a distant friend.

25. Your ex becomes more and more of a ghost in your mind; your past together becomes less and less real.

26. No couple costumes come to mind when you think of Halloween.

27. In fact, you’re fine with being single for the holidays.

28. You no longer think of the cinema as a minefield for couples. You go with your friends, siblings, cousins or alone.

29. Romantic movies are fair game again. You’re no longer Elle Woods throwing chocolate and screaming “LIAR” at every cheesy scene.

30. You’d rather throw yourself into your work instead of the arms of a rebound.

31. You stop caring how big her boobs are or how big his d*ck is. You’d rather find the right person instead of the right package.

32. You stop making excuses to contact your past love. If your Wii stops working you call Nintendo, not your ex.

33. If your ex still has some of your possessions that aren’t particularly valuable, you forget about them.

34. Items you kept for sentimental reasons become only objects. Your three-year-anniversary necklace is now just another piece of jewelry.

35. A car with the same color as your ex’s is now just a car.

36. When you get lonely, you don’t mope; you fight through it. You hold your own hand and grab your own ass.

37. You’re actually relieved you don’t have to buy a present for a long time.

38. You daydream about what your future partner will be like.

39. You realize two people can love each other and still be in an unhealthy relationship. Fire can fall in love with ice, but that union isn’t sustainable. Some people have to be loved from a distance, and that’s okay.

40. You believe in true love again, but you know that your ex wasn’t yours.

Why It’s OK to Still Be Affected By A Breakup Years Later

The other day, I saw the spitting image of my ex on the platform of the F train. He had the same slightly crooked nose, mocha skin, 5’9″ body and Spartan-warrior haircut.

I immediately looked away, but it was already too late. Those three seconds struck me like lightning bolts. A small tear trickled down my cheek as I waited near the tracks. It had been almost two years since my breakup. And I was over it, so why was I suddenly tearing up? I became so mad at myself for being emotional over nothing. Once again, my mind was doing a horrible job at consoling my heart.

Afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about why I’d had such a strong reaction. Why was I still being affected?

I’ve already done my time. I’ve moved on, so WHY was there a stupid tear on my cheek as I tried to make my way home from work?

The more I thought about the answer to my question, the more I came to realize that bad relationships are like cancer: you can get over them — and survive — but the experience will stay with you forever.

You may feel wrong and guilty when you miss or even think about a toxic ex, but here is why it’s OK to still be slightly affected by a breakup even years after the fact.

Time doesn’t change what happened.

The Canadian poet Rupi Kaur once said, “people go but how they left always stays.”

Time supposedly heals all wounds, but sometimes wounds leave scars. When you look back on the past, you’re still going to hurt. Looking back forces you to relive what happened. It’s like rewatching the sad part of a movie: Even though you’ve already seen it and know what’s going to happen, it can still leave you choked up.

Heartbreak can be its own trauma.

Trauma doesn’t occur only from car accidents or war zones. Some people truly become traumatized from the toxic relationships they’ve had.

When you breathe in too many toxins from tragic events, your lungs are affected forever. Your brain is no exception to a toxic connection, even years after a breakup.

It’s normal to still care about someone who was once a big part of your life.

A breakup is, in a sense, the death of a bond with someone. And what is death in its simplest form? Death is a loss of communication, and that’s usually what happens when a relationship ends.

When someone dies, you don’t simply forget about that person. Life has a way of reminding you. The same thing happens after a breakup.

Life won’t show you a giant neon sign flashing someone’s name. Instead it will give you subtle hints of your ex, like the whiff of his cologne blowing in the wind as you cross the street.

You may initially feel dirty when an ex crosses your mind, but it’s okay to remember a former love because remembering means being at peace with your past.

Your ex was there for you for the big things and the little things, but the fact that that person can no longer be there for any of the things makes it normal to think about him or her from time to time.

Your memory changes with time.

Time has a funny way of rewriting the past in order to protect you. Your brain wants to block out whatever hurt you, so it will black out bad memories with a Sharpie. In other words, your mind suppresses memories. It’s almost like they never happened.

Your mind can also play tricks on you in other ways. Since you might have blocked out all of the bad, you start to only remember the good. That’s not healthy, either. You have to remind yourself that time is a tricky b*tch.

It can manipulate your memories, and make you see the past better than how things actually played out. Time can cast a prince where there was actually a beast.

But if you contact your ex you’ll quickly remember how you would more often than not get the teeth instead of the rose.

You’re human.

You can be over someone and still be affected by him or her. It’s normal. No one expects you to go through life unscathed.

When I took an art history class, I learned that warriors used to wear their battles on their armor. What hurt them in the past helped protect them in the present.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, what we go through strongly affects who we are and who we’re destined to become. Breakups are modern-day battles that we walk away from. But also like in real crusades, we have to heal ourselves.

So we move forward. But going forward means coming from somewhere, and that somewhere stays with us even if we have already physically left.

Why People Leave Your Life Once They’ve Taught You All You Need to Know

When my ex-boyfriend of three and a half years told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore, I felt my ribcage crack into a million pieces. I could almost see it breaking, like a China Doll crashing into the ground in slow-motion.

I thought I would never breathe again without him, and for a while I practically didn’t. I held my breath, letting things happen and life pass me by. Nothing was the same. More importantly, I wasn’t the same.

But eventually, I learned to live in this new world without oxygen. I grieved him, and then I started to advance my life again by pushing myself harder than I ever had.

I even met someone new. We were together for a couple of months, but then once again, I learned to wave goodbye, this time more gracefully than the last.

Why was I able to let go so easily this time? Well, it’s because I realized something very important after reading this passage by author R.M. Drake:

“All the people we have met and all the people we have yet to meet, are meant to exist so we can find them. So we both could exchange a set of directions, which will guide us to the next place we are meant to go.”

“And as we go, we must always believe that maybe this could be our last stop. That maybe the next person we meet will not have a set of directions, that maybe they will have more, and that maybe they will offer us something beautiful enough to inspire us to stay.”

This quote gave me the profound realization that people are brought into our lives to teach us valuable lessons. But like in school, once you’ve learned all you can from one teacher, you have to say goodbye and move on to the next one.

When someone can no longer grow with you, he or she stunts your growth. And when this person leaves your life, it’s easy to only focus on the pain from his or her absence. But if you take a step back, you’ll see that this person leaving was for the best.

I witnessed this with my own eyes when I decided to catch up with my ex after almost a full year of not seeing him.

Seeing him made me aware that I had truly outgrown him in every way. From all of my experiences without him, I learned a laundry list of important lessons and values.

To name a few, I learned independence from being single. I learned patience from dating someone who was struggling with demons. I learned about different cultures from traveling.

On top of this, from my breakup, I learned that you never know when you’ll learn your last lesson from your partner. So you should cherish your time with him or her while you have it.

I used each day after my relationship ended as a springboard to move forward. But in all this time apart, my ex had stood completely still. He had learned nothing. He was the same man he was a year ago. I felt like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” when she stumbled across the Tin Man begging for some oil while stuck in the road.

I actually felt bad for my ex. I grew up, and he… well, he grew muscles.

I allowed myself to learn from every mistake and evolve into something greater than I had ever imagined. My ambition took me to 15 countries. I have a passport stamp to show for every time I got hurt.

I might not have gone anywhere if I had remained glued to my ex’s stagnant side. He would have weighed me down.

Shortly after catching up with my ex, another ex re-entered my life in a different way. Not so surprisingly, the same thing was happening to him: He was also still doing exactly what he was doing when I was with him. He had become another Tin Man stuck in the yellow brick road of life.

Honestly, it is pretty surprising how little these men had to show for their time since our relationships.

Yet, luckily for me, these moments of reconnection with my exes made me realize that people are removed from your life not as some sort of punishment like I initially thought, but because they are simply not built to go where you are going in life.

When someone leaves, don’t question it because ‘the one’ would never leave you. There’s always a bigger picture to life that we can’t see just yet.

It’s good to reflect on a relationship after it ends, but sometimes endings really aren’t your fault. Sometimes it really is just time for someone to leave once they’ve taught you what you need to know. But don’t fight someone leaving; just embrace it, and let go of the people who are not meant to stay.

I couldn’t see it at the time, but during my relationships, my exes had become dead weight to me. Perhaps they got smoked out from all of my fire.

Like releasing sand bags from a hot air balloon, my exes had to go so I could ascend to the person I was meant to become. I had to literally face my past in order to understand my present.

Looking back now, I have never been more grateful for the temporary agony in my life that led me to my greatest pleasures.