I’ll start off by saying this isn’t so much a travel post as me opening up my broken heart to you all. That being said, the lessons I’ve learned from the end of a relationship that meant so much to me can be applied to many aspects of life, including travel.
Many of you probably remember Chris, my non-traveler boyfriend who changed my perspective on dating. You may also recall how we broke up earlier in the year over my travels (hey, sometimes living the dream hurts). Despite the fact that we haven’t “officially” been together since January, we’ve continued seeing each other, a friendship that was still all-too fueled by romance and emotions. Yes, the feelings were still there, and very high, but the commitment, dedication and future planning were not, something that made me act absolutely insane and out of character, which I’ll be the first to admit.
Despite the fun we were still having, the kisses being exchanged, the sleepovers and pillow talk, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all…fake. Sure, the sentiments were real, but the entire premise of what was going on made me feel delusional, as I would trick myself into thinking we were together and then wake up to the sad fact that we weren’t.
Needless to say, it was a hard truth to face. It’s so easy when things “seem great” to blissfully ignore the realities of a situation. I lied to myself, saying I could be cool with a friendship, that I was an independent woman with a heart made of stone instead of glass, and that regularly crying over someone who meant the world to me was completely normal.
Last weekend, after what should have been a fun barbecue with friends although ended with me crying in the host’s lap after yet another discussion with Chris about where things were headed, I realized it wasn’t normal. I consider myself a very energetic social butterfly and pretty much live for laughter-filled weekends of brunches, rooftops and dinners with family and friends.
So what was I doing on a rooftop overlooking Manhattan, wiping my tears on a buddy’s shirt?
That’s not who I was, and despite the fact having Chris so strongly embedded into my life made me feel good when he around me, it made me crumble when he wasn’t. Not because he wasn’t physically there, but because he’d mentally checked out of our relationship six months ago, when he’d broken up with me.
We stayed up until 3am the night of the barbecue, yelling, talking, crying, kissing, laughing, and in the end I told him that, while I loved him, if he truly didn’t see us as a couple “right now, but maybe later” then I needed to gracefully bow out of the running for a spot in his life. This meant that, at least for the foreseeable future, we couldn’t be friends, either.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Seriously. The thought of lifting a car over my head seemed more doable than actually severing a tie that for so long seemed to be holding my entire being together.
But I did it. And, not surprisingly to all of you but very shocking to me, I didn’t unravel.
It may not always be easy, but it’s often the hardest situations that really help us grow.
Let me also say that Chris is an amazing person, and I wish him all the happiness in the world. He’s been my best friend for almost two years, and even now when we’re not speaking I would still give him that title. But for now I just need to take a break from the relationship, if for nothing more than to gain some sanity back. I genuinely believe we’ll find our way back into each others lives … just not right now.
Inspiring Poems & Quotes
Of course, it’s always helpful to find comfort in the words of others. There are a few quotes and poems I’ve found really helpful in staying positive, which I’ll share with you here:
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” – Haruki Murakami
“…After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers…”
-AFTER A WHILE (Veronica Shoftshall, 1971)
“Sometimes the healing is in the aching” – Unknown
“Remember sometimes that not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck” – Dalai Lama XIV
“I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength” – Alex Elle
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself” – Andrew Murphy
“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dreams” – CS Lewis
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails” – Elizabeth Edwards
Love For Social Media
The experience has also shown me the power of social media. While I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with modern technology, reaching out to my Instagram followers about my broken heart has garnered some great life advice and inspirational support. Some of the kind words:
- @StephBeTravel: I’m coming to New York and can give you lots of love 😘
- @p_staffler: Remember, we never know what doors will open for us to find who and what we need in life. I have a great quote that says, “While there is life, there is hope.” Hang in there! 😉 Just one moment at a time. 🙂
- @suxotin: Every end is a new beginning.👍
- @christinewwei: I like this spot in the East Village. It’s not exactly about hope, but it’s forward-looking. I think, too, that the reminder that most of us who stay in the city are seeking something, whether specific or less defined, whether concrete or more intangible, makes me feel less alone on the days when I’m having all the feels. Also…it’s easier to believe that magic exists when you see other people looking for it.
Using Travel To Mend A Broken Heart
After all this, I’m pretty excited to get back on the road. Wandering aimlessly, biking and hiking around new places always helps me clear my head, not to mention my curiosity keeps me feeling positive. I actually don’t have too many trips on the books aside for Colorado this summer, and Bhutan at the end of the year. If any of you have recommendations for great destinations that are budget-friendly and nature-filled, I’m all ears!