HOW TRAVEL CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE FOR THE BETTER
There's nothing quite like a holiday to mend a broken heart. In fact, travel not only mends a broken heart - it also changes your perspective.
My friend recently broke up with his girlfriend and in the process had his heart stomped on. Now I’m not talking about a break up that came out of nowhere, although those suck too. I’m talking about being dragged through a series of events where his heart was completely played with, crushed and turned into pulp with no care or consideration. So yes, boys get their hearts broken too!
I’ve had my fair share and the one that affected me the most was when I moved to London with a now ex-boyfriend. I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in moving overseas, but when he told me he wanted to, I thought ‘YOLO’. Sadly however, after 18 months abroad and being together for almost three years, we broke up. Luckily my sister was living in London at the time so I moved in with her, my wise brother in law and their two impossibly cute girls, then aged 2 years and 6 months. I remember the first weekend of single life very clearly...
My world had been turned upside down and my sister needed me to babysit on the Saturday afternoon. The girls were amazing but Jade did come home and found Holly, my rambunctious older niece running a riot around the house and me holding Chloe, my ‘mini me’ niece, looking at me strangely as I was crying my eyes out whilst standing hopelessly in the kitchen. She obviously had no idea what tears were and touched my face perplexingly. Needless to say, my sister felt terrible for leaving me with the girls but how were we to know a broken heart, crumbling confidence and no babysitting experience was not the best combination?
I ended up living with my sister for a few months before returning back to Australia. In that time I lost my dream job because I was no longer applying for a De Facto Visa. The UK was coming off the back of the crippling GFC and my employer couldn't justify spending money on a Visa when they could hire a British citizen. I remember calling my ex the night I lost my job - I was so angry. Sure, break my heart but don't f*ck with my job.
Luckily I had a great reputation as a freelancer and my recruiter had no problem finding me work in the lead up to Christmas. So what followed were five numbing months where I was flat out with work, I was helping my sister take care of the girls, as well as doing pilates and boot camp six days a week to get me feeling good again. But I was so busy that I never addressed the ‘feelings’.
In fact, I was like a robot on auto pilot. I would wake up in the dark, bash my body at boot camp in a field of frozen grass (it was the middle of winter) or sweat it out at a Pilates class. I would get ready for work, battle the Underground commute to work, sit at my desk making calls whilst typing away on my computer all day, and then battle the commute again on my way home. By which, it was dark again and I would help get the kids into bed (if I was able to leave work on time) before hitting the pillow only to realise I hadn’t eaten lunch or dinner. Insert – repeat. In a bid to just get on with things, I had completely forgotten to look after myself.
When I returned home, I found myself once again on auto pilot. I’d do whatever my friends wanted to do on weekends and eventually, I imploded. Travel had changed me, but not in a good way. So what did I do? Instead of burying myself under the covers in bed, oh how I was desperate to, I started going on solo hikes. I couldn’t afford time off my new job to go on holidays, but I could get away on weekends and do a bit of travelling around Australia. It was exactly what the doctor ordered – to travel. So how did travel change me?
1. I started focusing on me. Not anyone around me. I put myself first and made my decisions a priority.
2. I started valuing the life around me. I switched off auto pilot and began appreciating the life I had set up in Sydney.
3. I found myself appreciating the little things. Whether it was the sound of leaves rustling in the wind when I was solo hiking or marvelling at the colours of the sky whilst watching the sun set, I started to find my bliss.
4. It gave me the necessary solo time I needed to think. Yes, to think about me and what I wanted without the sounds of commuters, family, work and friends.
5. I discovered regular weekenders away from home life broadened my outlook and got me out of the usual weekend bubble in Sydney.
6. I learned that experiences are way more precious than things. I stopped buying clothes, I quit reading fashion magazines, I unsubscribed to a tonne of email newsletters. Instead I went on adventures and discovered my love of creating, adventure, nature, travel and cabins.
7. I got to know myself better and I learned to appreciate the moments.
8. And I started this blog, hurrah!
So I guess your wondering how my friend is? Well, he boarded a flight today to embark on the trip of a lifetime with friends, hola Mexico! I honestly couldn't think of a better thing for him to do. As with my experience, he’s very aware he needs to put himself first. So after adventuring around Mexico he’s going to hike Yosemite for five days – solo. What a legend! I know for a fact he’ll come back a totally refreshed person. And that makes me smile.
So remember, travel changes your perspective. Even if the road is a little rocky along the way, it’s always for the better.
Ps. The photo above was taken on a trip to South Australia with my friend Alex (hi!) about 7 months ago. It will always remain special to me because it was my birthday and my heart was broken, again. I remember smiling when Alex took this photo because I was doing what I loved most - being in the outdoors. I knew everything was going to be ok - besides, how could I not smile with a huge pink balloon next to me?!