I have been told my entire life to face my problems and not run away, but does that rule apply to heartbreak? Do any rules apply to dealing with heartbreak? Some people hide, others hit the gym or quickly move on. It is a situation where no one sequence of steps works for everyone. But what if there is a way to run away from heartbreak?
You are off to a fresh start with new memories and endless opportunities when you board your flight or start your drive to a new place. Traveling opens the doors to a new outlook on life by experiencing a new culture or breaking out of your comfort zone for personal growth. While emotionally, mentally and even at times physically painful, heartbreak can be an opportunity to reconnect with yourself.
As reported by the Queensland Government, love can be an addiction. When we get attached to someone, our brain releases the “feel good” hormones, dopamine and oxytocin. And when our heartbreak occurs, we stop releasing these hormones and instead produce the hormone cortisol. Cortisol helps regulate the body in fight-or-flight responses and can lead to the heartbreak symptoms we all sadly know, anxiety, stress, etc.
You can find yourself in a routine while in a relationship and it can be self-isolating. It is a story I hear all the time about couples who started dating and dropped their friends just to be with their significant other. When the relationship ends, they have to manage the emotions of losing their once thought to be forever partner and learn how to come back to friends and normal society alone. A New York University article states, “[t]raveling fosters a medium to build human connections with one another by learning about culture, food …. Traveling helps humans gain a greater understanding of themselves to create a feeling of wholeness within their own individuality.” Whether it is a weekend getaway with the girls, a solo trip to a dream destination or a full move, it helps take your mind off your mixed feelings towards an ex and helps with mental growth and individual happiness.
I have always loved traveling and have been fortunate enough to experience different countries and check off some of my bucket list activities over the past few years (I just went cage-free shark diving off the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii). When I found myself faced with a difficult heartbreak earlier this year, I tried all the steps you are supposed to, cutting off communication, focusing on myself, blah, blah, blah. I would like to say it helped, but something was still discouraging me from moving on. All I wanted was a change from my school and work routine. With the pandemic page slowly turning, traveling was the only thing on my mind. One day I was scrolling through Tik Tok and a video of Hawaii popped up. The next thing I knew I was applying to jobs and joining subleasing Facebook pages. The thought of being physically far away eased my heartbreak and made me excited for the possibility of a dream summer-long trip. Packing up my college apartment felt like I was leaving that life behind, and I liked it. Currently still in Hawaii, I think this was one of the best decisions I have ever made and because of this, I have had the time to be out of the environment with constant reminders of a past relationship and make new lifelong friendships and memories.
Traveling allows for full presence in the moment and away from heartbreak. I think we should start normalizing a break-up trip in “the steps” we go through recovering from a heartbreak.