11 Reasons to Travel After a Divorce (Or Any Breakup, Really)
For as long as I can remember, my lust for travel has always been there.
Hovering in the back of my conscious, tugging at my heart, making my feet itch. It burned; I yearned.
But for ten years of my life, I was forced to put this craving on hold whilst I was married. It wasn't until after my husband left me that I took what little money I received from our settlement (it was a pittance, believe me) and invested that moolah into my first solo overseas adventure.
And it was worth every fucking cent.
For any of you out there who have gone through (or are going through presently) this shitty side effect of a marriage gone wrong, I offer my humble words of advice on how to not only survive the trauma of divorce but how to make it your bitch through the art of travel.
And it all starts with a ticket.
1. It's your turn now
I bet you devoted a helluva' lot of years and energy to your spouse's happiness, eh? Sacrificed for them? Put yourself second? Sound familiar? Yep, we've all been there.
So now it's your turn, dude. Go out into the world and put yourself first. Have an adventure. Get lost. Get found. And enjoy every damn minute of it.
2. Clear out old memories by creating new and better ones
The memories of relationships don't ever truly disappear. Four years on and I still have the occasional thought about my ex and our life together. But whenever I find myself feeling nostalgic or pained by these memories, I simply shift my thinking to all the fucking rad shit I've done during my travels in the years since. I look at my photos, go through my travel memory box filled with ticket stubs, guidebooks, postcards, letters and journals, and I'm instantly released from the grips of those memories of failures past.
So whilst it may take a while for your history to fade away, you can always take pleasure in knowing that the memories you're about to create are so much sweeter.
3. Heal yourself
Okay, not to sound all airy-fairy on you or anything, but travelling is a great opportunity for healing. I believe that there is a direct correlation between the length and depth of your relationship and the length and depth at which you should travel, post-breakup, and that is:
The longer the relationship, the longer - and further - the distance you need to travel.
(It ain't an exact science, but it freakin' works.)
In my case, I escaped to the other side of the world for 6 months. At times it was hard, but it was what I needed most. And in that precious time abroad - where I travelled through or lived in 17 countries - I healed myself. I left Australia a heartbroken, scared and divorced 28-year old girl, and came back a confident, self-assured and healed 29-year old woman. Trust me, this shit works.
4. Invest the spoils of your pain into your happiness
No, investing your money into another heavily-mortgaged house is not going to make you feel better.
No, saving it for a rainy day or 'just in case the next one does a runner too' are not good enough reasons to put your travels on hold.
But I can guarantee that wisely investing that money into an experience that will allow you to grow, explore and be empowered again is definitely worthy.
5. Get your energy back
Divorce - like marathons, wild sex, and callisthenics - is physically exhausting. Draining. Depleting.
Travelling invigorates you, ignites your curiosity and gives you a burning thirst for life. What better way to renew and replenish your inner energy and boost those serotonin levels after all that crying than to wander the great cities of the globe? The gym can suck it; it ain't got nothin' on the world.
6. Get yo' ass back in 'The Game'
Go out there and kiss some incredibly sexy people. Wink at strangers. Flirt hard. Play soft. Have affairs to remember (or forget). And get your mojo back.
7. Bonus redecorating benefits
You probably just burned all your wedding photos, so now you need to redecorate your pad with some cool new pics that don't include your spouse.
Put some life into those bare walls with photos and trinkets from your travels and believe me, you won't miss those posed photos from your previous nuptials for one second.
8. Figure out your shit
You learn a lot when travelling, and I'm not just talking about the inner workings of transit systems. You get the time to take stock of what you want and where you want to go from this point forward and to make decisions on your 'not negotiables' for the future.
Do some thinking, allow yourself to be tested, evaluate what serves you and chuck whatever doesn't out the back door of your mind. If you don't come back from your travels with your shit figured out, then keep travelling until you do.
9. Make new friends
One of the inevitable downsides of divorce is the division of the mutual friends, as well as the assets. It's not pleasant, no one really means to do it, but it happens. Travelling is a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friendships based on a common interest.
Some of the best people I've ever met in my life are mates that I met whilst on the road. Or in a hostel. Or whilst dancing side by side on top of a bar. True story.
10. Discover what makes you passionate
Here's a little story:
When I was married, I was putting all my focus on becoming a teacher, living in a beautiful house and having children with my husband, because that's what I thought I should be passionate about.
Fast forward four years and twenty countries later, I've discovered my true passions are travelling, writing, scuba diving, foreign cuisines, connecting with people and living life outside the box. Oh, and no offspring for me, thanks.
It's amazing what some time, a few plane tickets, and a dose of reality and self-honesty can accomplish. Discover what turns you on. What stokes the fires of desire in your belly. Ignites you. And then go out and live it. Every. Damn. Day.
11. Because why the hell not?
You owe it to yourself at this crucial and vulnerable time of your life to do something monumentally magnificent. I bet you've just spent a damn long time playing by the rules, and right now, you want to chuck that goddamn rulebook out the window.
So do it.
Really, what have you got to lose, amigo? N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Sometimes in life, you just gotta throw your hands - and caution - up in the air and just say 'fuck it'. Life's too damn short. And so is your window of opportunity.