You’ve been feeling down for days and can’t concentrate. You’ve been thinking, overthinking, wanting to forget all about the things that occupy your mind before you lose yourself. People around you tell you that you should take a break. Some even say that it’s good to travel to nurse a broken heart. But why do they advise this? They don’t probably know the exact answer. But the truth is that in traveling, you will learn a lot of things about life, love, yourself, and the bittersweet process of moving on.
1. Realize Your Strengths.
No matter how old you are, there will always come a time that you’ll feel weak, especially when you’ve become dependent on the one you’ve lost. As you grieve, you’ll feel devastated, hurt, and probably empty. Taking that bus or plane going somewhere you have no idea what’s in store for you may be courageous but escaping (yes, despite what they say about escape as a sign of weakness) is really something will-powered people can do, and leaving everything behind is a manifestation of knowing you are in control of your life.
2. Embrace Your Weaknesses.
You may not know it but you will never overcome all of your weaknesses. When you can’t finish climbing that 2,000-meter-above-sea-level mountain peak, when you can’t take the last two steps to complete that 1,000-step stairs of a skyscraper, when you feel frustrated when you lost the last train going to your next destination—these are normal to most people and you don’t have to push yourself too much. There will always be a part of you that you’ll dislike about yourself but you just have to recognize, endure, and embrace it. Nobody’s perfect anyway.
3. Accept Yourself.
Yes, this is almost the same as number 2 but you just do not accept yourself by recognizing your weaknesses. You also accept yourself with all your strengths, vulnerable moments, limitations, and imperfections. When someone leaves you, it does not mean you are not acceptable to anyone. Do not blame yourself. By forgiving your own shortcomings, you also accept who you are.
4. The Comfort Of Strangers.
Most travelers and locals are courteous enough to greet new faces of people they see. Knowing that you are traveling alone but with the other tourists around is ironically comforting. They may have different stories to tell. You will be surprised to know that they are also facing their own ordeals. Having small talks with people you do not know will help you think about them and forget about your own struggle for a while.
You may be used to a busy life in the urban jungle but going to some place far from the hustle and bustle of the metro might give you a shock. Life in different places is not always the same. In some rural areas, people are more laid back. Procrastinating does not exist in their dictionary because waiting for the sunset is work for them though it may not look like it. The hours you will have to wait for the next train, bus, or plane; the different kinds of people you have to encounter; the steps you have to take will all test your patience. In extreme cases, you might even feel devastated and exclaim something like, “Oh, my girlfriend left me and now I’m literally stuck in the middle of nowhere!” It’s okay to feel frustrated. When you overcome this, you’ll realize you’ve reacted too much and you might just laugh about the memory of it.
6. Acknowledge Imperfection.
An itinerary is never perfect. It is made to organize your destination and schedule. But most of the time, you can never really follow it. The hotel you will stay in may not what you expected it to be. It may rain on a seemingly sunny day at the beach you’re bathing in. Like relationships, life is not perfect. You simply just have to endure and adjust to the shortcomings of the world and learn to embrace them.
7. Healing Power of Nature.
The greenery is not only pleasing to the eyes but also for the lungs. You have been used to the pollution in the metropolis and the fresh air from the countryside is a treat to your health. A beautiful landscape also reminds you how enchanting the world is, and for some reason you’ll get a sense of hope and wisdom. Satisfy your senses and feed your soul with the wonder of nature.
8. Appreciate Simple Things.
A simple meal in a simple homestay with a simple family living a simple life is a different experience. There are times when you will appreciate little things more as you sojourn. This will slowly help you move on by learning that life is not that complicated at all.
9. Dream More.
Dreaming may also be a form of escape but to dream is to aspire, hoping that you can achieve whatever it is you desire. Traveling helps you daydream and think about the possible things you can do and what the world can offer you. Life does not stop after losing someone you love. It might be the beginning of something better.
10. Letting Go.
After staying in a place with a stunning beauty and giving you an incredible experience, you will eventually have to say good-bye and go back to the real world. You will lose a part of you when you leave a place you’ve been used to even for a few days. This will teach you that people will always come and go… always go. Paradoxically, that emptiness you’ll feel when you leave that place where you stayed will be a piece that partly fills the bigger emptiness you feel.
But do not worry. In the end, you’ll have changed and become another person. You will grow because of what you have experienced and it will be worth it. You may still feel hurt when you get back to the real world but you will feel stronger, wiser, and more excited about life.