Why The Broken Hearted Are Better Travelers

Liz Gilbert has been on my mind ever since Eat, Pray, Love.

The book came out around the same time of my own divorce.

It was about one divorced woman’s journey eating, praying and loving around the world.

She finds herself in the book, finds her man and pens a book that sets up her future life as a writer.

Initially, I wasn’t a fan of the book.

I don’t know.

Something about a woman who had it all and had so much going for her didn’t need a world-wide vacation to find herself.

How trite!

How clichéd.

How privileged.

Things were not so bad, Liz, I had wanted to say.

You had a degree and a professional career.

You lived in New York.

You were doing your life’s work.

Divorces happen.

Life goes on.

But does it really?

I think for some people, yes, life does go on.

Everyone responds to divorce and breakups differently.

I have met people who are dating multiple people after their divorce, having the time of their life and marrying their soulmate soon after.

I’ve also met people who are stuck for years on end after divorce.

This is  was me.

These are the people who I coach.

This might be you.

Some people feel physically alive but emotionally and spiritually dead post breakup.

Some people believe only their past contains their best life.

They believe their future is sad and hopeless.

We are people who saw the life that we knew crumble right in front of us.

We survived the wreckage but are still left wondering, “why us and what now”.

“Why me” is what led me to leave my career as a lawyer. (It also made me write this book Is God Listening)

“What now” is what led me to Bombay and Kerala, to Burma and Sri Lanka, to Guatemala and Costa Rica. (I should probably write a book on that…oh, wait…)

I now get why travel is so attractive to the broken-hearted and divorced.

I’m going to urge you to do more of it too.

You know what’s different about us?

Our entire lives fell apart.

Everything we had known to be true no longer is.

The life that we had created vanished right in front of our eyes.

Our marriage, our partner, our schedules, possibly our jobs and where we lived, where our children live, etc etc.

Our lives crumbled. Everything changed and nothing made sense anymore.

Which in many ways is like travel.

Imagine waking up in a foreign country that doesn’t speak the language you’re used to, has completely different customs and traditions and appears totally foreign too.

You and I are already used to this!

If you’re experienced in unfamiliar places, foreign surroundings and where nothing makes sense, then travel is perfect.

Except unlike our romantic breakups, travel is welcoming and pleasant.

We welcome in new foods and hospitable people.

We don’t understand languages that are filled with romanticism and adventure.

We see people and places that are unfamiliar but beautiful.

We find ourselves in situations where we might be by ourselves but seem connected to the people around us.

I’m not exactly saying that divorce is a like a trip to Paris but maybe I  am

And those of us who are divorced will excel at it.

And those of us who are divorced should do more of it.

Once you see the world you’re familiar with disappear, you adapt and try to make sense of the new world in front of you.

If you’ve done it in divorce, you can do it in travel.

In travel, novelty and unfamiliarity is pleasant and welcoming.

Newness doesn’t mean waking up by yourself in a huge bed in a huge house.

Your newness is waking up in a quaint hotel overlooking beautiful lakes you’ve never seen in your life.

Or trying to buy unpronounceable street food from people who don’t speak the same language as you.

The divorced are experienced in the novel and unfamiliar.

We are trained to start over when everything in unknown.

We didn’t go out for a weekend seminar to learn this.

Divorce taught us to navigate the unfamiliar and uncertain.

It taught us to stand strong and step up when the rug was being pulled from underneath us.

So, travel more often.

Travel to more unfamiliar locations.

Have your external circumstances change regularly until…

you realize that the external can change frequently and often but you still remain the same.

Underneath all the change and unknown is you:

Known, truthful, expanding, growing, soulful.

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