Back in January, I wrote a short blog post pondering how to deal with a broken heart.
A little shell-shocked at the time and with a suitcase containing all my worldly possessions (read: clothes), I was piecing together my plan of action. This had little to do with anything practical, like where I was going to sleep, but instead focused on one thing that I thought might save me from endless nights of rocking to ‘Heartbreak Songs’ (FYI: if anyone is in need of such a playlist, Spotify has an extensive range). I wanted one thing that I was confident would give me back a little joie de vivre. The answer, my friends, was of course: travel.
I had a vague hope that by continuing to see new places, new things and new cities, that my brain would literally be shocked out of its misery. Newly single? Don’t worry! Get on a plane! Feeling miserable? No problem! Dump yourself in a new city and deal with it there. I had this figured out.
So, nearly 5 months on – did the travel help?
Yes, definitely. And no, not really.
The worst thing I think anyone currently residing in Heartbreak Hotel can do is to not move. Lying there, staring blankly at your phone all day, will not do anything for your heart. So getting out the house is good, getting out of your city is even better and getting out the country? Great! Travelling forced me to get myself together, pack my suitcase and actually engage with life. Being far removed from home felt great: it was like a breathe of fresh air and I always found it energising.
But most importantly, seeing new places and the lives that filled them, reminded me of one important thing: life most definitely goes on. Wallow as much as you like, but in the grand scheme of things, this break up is fairly insignificant. People largely do not care (friends, I know you do care, but I also knew deep down during our phone calls, that you were silently wondering what to have for dinner). The break-up of your relationship has a depressingly small impact on life generally. And that is a fact. This thought alone was hugely helpful for me: just because I felt a bit sad, didn’t mean that the Isle of Skye would stop looking beautiful. Or arriving at an airport any less exciting. Life carried on and so I decided to as well.
However, I would never say that travel is the complete answer. As your Mum would tell you, you can’t run away from your emotions, children. So despite travel, I’ve still muddled along during the past few months. I’ve dated, which whilst fun, was also incredibly confusing. Watching the amazing London Marathon runners today reminded me of how I felt at the start of the year: exhausted, disorientated, searching the crowds for a friendly face but really wanting to wrap myself in a piece of tin foil and lie in the foetal position. I definitely wasn’t ready to start a new marathon, let alone with a new person. Aside from starting and quitting dating, I’ve also bought my own apartment. I’ve signed up for laser hair removal. I’ve bought incense sticks and a book by Oprah Winfrey. I have discovered a love for anchovies and fill my time with my brilliant friends. And during this time I’ve been happy and I’ve also been sad.
So as I come to the end of this incoherent rambling post, I need to come up with a meaningful conclusion. So here goes: I would say that without a doubt, travel is a brilliant way to not only deal with a broken heart, but to get perspective more generally. It’s a fantastic reminder that life in all its weird and wonderful forms is always moving forward. And like it or not – you will too. Five months into being single and preparing for my first solo trip, I no longer feel heartbroken. The relationship may be over but the big ol’ world remains for me to see on my own.