Getting your heart broken is never fun, whether you're at school, you're working full time or whether you're off travelling the world - it hurts the same. What is different, is the way you deal with that pain. I remember the last time I had my heart broken in extraordinary detail, I remember every ache of my heart, every tear that threatened to spill down my cheeks, and every painful second of conversation as everyday life carried on around me. It was horrible, the worst pain I have every felt, because unlike a physical pain it wasn't something I could escape from. I still had to get up and go to work every single day, I still had to see people and to force myself to do things when all I really wanted was to run away or hide under my duvet. It's hard when you get your heart broken at home because you're still in close quarters with the person who did it. Even if you're not living together or right round the corner from each other - you're acutely aware of their presence, of their routine and knowing you could bump into them at any time. It makes it harder in many ways because you feel like you can't move on while they're still around you, while every memory of what you had with them haunts your journey to work.
I'm lucky, it's been a long time now since I had my heart broken, but what healed me was coming travelling. Escaping from my norm and going off in pursuit of the adventure I had been longing for all along. I spoke to a friend the other day who has just had her heart broken and who is being left to travel solo as a result - she's devastated, unsure of where to go next, or whether to even carry on, as you might expect. Talking to her about the situation inspired this post - it made me realise that so many of us travellers go through exactly the same. When you're away travelling, you constantly feel like you're on holiday and what comes with holidays? A holiday romance! It's a natural fit and seems only right that it is so much easier to fall head over heels for someone new, exotic and exciting in the heat of the moment. There's just something in the air that makes you fall a lot harder for people when you know that there is no pressure other than time pulling you in different directions. It's a special feeling when you know that you actually have the complete freedom to follow your heart - that if you want to change all your travel plans because you fell in love, you actually can do it at the drop of a hat. You don't get that in real life - back at home your alarm clock will always go off for work in the morning, distance will always be a problem and there will always be other demands on your time.
So say it all goes wrong and that guy, or girl, you're crazy about just decides they have to go in the opposite direction, or they're not quite ready to change their plans. What do you do? How do you get over the devastation? Here are my top tips for getting over travelling heartbreak:
Often travellers feel guilty for feeling sad when everyone says they should be having the time of their lives - but it's no different to being at home. Feeling the sadness will allow you to move on quicker.
Look after yourself
If you have friends or family you can go and visit, go and do it! Allow them to look after you and give you the moral support you need - travelling solo doesn't mean you have to go through it alone! If you can't, spend a lot of time catching up with family and friends on FaceTime, and pamper yourself! Look after yourself until you feel better.
Throw yourself into something
Working, playing or planning usually works for me. Focusing on work and saving up for your next adventure can be good, or if you have some money saved, spend it on going out and having fun, make new friends and distract yourself. Or just start planning your next adventure.
Don't give up
There will be times it all seems hopeless and you feel like packing it all in and going home to your mum - but you will regret it more than anything in the world. This is one of those character defining moments you will look back on and say, "that's when I changed, that's when I became stronger."
Prepare for your escape
Plan to get out of wherever you are as soon as you have healed. This place will stay in your head as the place you recovered after having your heart broken, why not have a fresh start somewhere else and get ready to take on travelling solo. That's the beauty of travelling, you're not tied to any one place.
Arrive somewhere new
Feeling stronger, but still hesitant, you're not sure you're ready for the next step. But you are, I promise. Throw yourself into your new life, tell yourself you're okay, tell yourself you're more than okay. Eventually you will believe it and by then you will have a whole bunch of new friends, a whole new story to tell.
Look back and realise it all was worth it
Months later, you'll suddenly realise you haven't thought on that guy, or girl, for ages. For a second you'll think back fondly on the memories as something reminds you. You'll realise you really have moved on and will only look back with a smile on your face. That's the traveller - he, or she, looks back with love in her heart on every person she meets, because they all helped shape the person she is and the memories she has made.
It might not feel like it now, but everyone recovers from a broken heart and comes out stronger on the other side - it takes time and it hurts like hell but it also helps you become the person you are. I've met so many people on my travels who were crazy in love with someone but sadly torn apart. I've met others who were crazy in love but their other half just didn't feel the same way - it's not easy But it happens. Just don't let it stand in the way of your travels being the best they can be.
Have you been heartbroken while travelling? What are your top tips for dealing with heartbreak?