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This Is How Solo Travel Saved Me From A Toxic Relationship

As posted on Thought Catalog, September 27, 2017

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People travel for so many reasons. There are the ones who just want to take a break from all the stress that work brings. Some travel because they are paid to do so. There are the ones who travel to celebrate their special days while some travel to breathe and grieve. The list goes on.

But you know what? A lot of people travel to mend their broken hearts.

I know what you’re thinking. You think that I started traveling because I was brokenhearted. Well, not really. I WAS STILL in a relationship when I started traveling alone. But it was a bad one. A toxic, stupid one. A relationship that got me so bruised because of lies, unfaithfulness, endless times of trying to forgive and forget and recover, broken promises, and failed apologies. It made me so insecure, so jealous, so sick, so selfish, and so ugly. I would cry almost every night.

The pain of his mistakes tortured my heart and poisoned my mind. And even if I suffered every day, my life still revolved around him. We were together for three years. I was blinded by a contaminated love that I was still scared of losing him. C’mon, we all get dumb when it comes to love.

It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t serving me good anymore. And when that realization kicked in, I was so sure he wasn’t what I deserved. I knew it had to stop. I knew I had to throw this boy out of my life. But what made it so hard was the thought of how I would be able to do it without looking back.

Will I be okay by myself? Can I live life without him? I wanted to be sure I would not regret letting him go.

And so I traveled. Alone. Alone in a province I am not so familiar with. I woke up one early morning and told myself, “This is it. This is the day. I must go”. That morning felt like God was telling me what to do. And so I packed my bag for a full day adventure and left my house at five in the morning.

Was I scared? Oh yes I was! I didn’t know when exactly or where exactly to drop myself. I was a bit nervous and already panicking in my head when passengers started alighting the vehicle in some areas. But God always leads us and before I know it, I had reached my destination. I hopped off the van and felt the excitement rushing in my veins! I had never expected that!

I started asking the locals for a specific terminal, took another ride to get myself to the beach, and there I was, with the fresh wind blowing through my face, I was wonderfully lost. I spent a few good solid hours by myself thinking and just staring at the sea. I have never felt so calm in my whole life.

We used to travel together. I should miss him. But I didn’t. I was alone. I should be sad. But I wasn’t.

I left the ocean feeling like a nail just pulled out itself from my heart. And there I was, hailing for my next ride, visiting old churches, treating street kids to some ice cream, kayaking on a beautiful lake, taking pictures, watching the sun set, and breathing in genuine happiness and love for myself. It was pure joy. So liberating. I came home by midnight feeling like a newborn child with a brand new look at life. It felt like I unloaded the heaviest weight a heart could hold.

A few weeks later, I emailed him all the ways he has ruined my life, worth, and happiness. I poured everything and cried my heart out remembering every hurtful moment I’ve been through because of him. I told myself that that would be the last time I would cry because of him and it surprisingly
was.

The next morning, I messaged him to check his email, texted that it was over, threw my sim card away, bought a new one, and lived a new life. A few months later, I was booking flight promos to several places, traveling solo, riding boats and ferries exploring islands, climbing mountains, jumping off cliffs and canyons, swimming with giant turtles and whale sharks, surfing on huge waves, learning new words, understanding different cultures and behaviors, chasing sunsets, sunrises and waterfalls, and meeting good souls I will keep in my heart forever. I found myself embracing every call for adventure.

To anyone who has experienced traveling, you will agree that it indeed changes one’s life and perspectives. It is, without a doubt, the most wonderful way of learning, growing, and turning your energies into positive ones.

But this I tell you, there’s something so special and surreal with traveling solo. There are so many things you will learn about yourself.

There are moments of awareness you’d never experience when you’re with a group or with a friend or a partner, moments I couldn’t even put into words. You will realize how many good people there are. You will learn to trust a stranger. You will make good decisions without the influence of others. You will experience a hostel social scene and fall in love with it. You will be afraid, but you will come back with a sense of fulfillment that you made it and it gives you more courage to do it again.

You will reach a different level of self-love and appreciation. Believe me, if there’s a true shot and shortcut to happiness, it all starts within. And every positive thing within me now, I owe to solo traveling.