Since I began traveling at the ripe age of 22, travel has completely devoured and consumed me. It has changed me in the best of ways. Travel, specifically solo travel, has given me confidence, the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes; it has given me new friendships, new love, and has left me feeling secure in a world where so many things can go wrong. It has given me spontaneity and a sense of excitement! It’s taught me to think on my toes and not to sweat the small stuff. Travel has taught me that experiences are much more valuable than materialistic items. And while I love a good high heel, I more so love the feeling of being in a new city, surrounded by landmarks I’ve seen in pictures and hearing a language other than English. And while travel has given me so many positive things, I can’t think of travel without thinking of where it all stemmed from.
It All Stemmed from Heartbreak
In 2016, I experienced heartbreak and devastation. It was the worst kind of heartbreak, the kind that you don’t see coming. It leaves you paralyzed, unable to get out of bed, unable to work. You can’t answer the phone for fear of who or what is on the other line. You can hardly get yourself to shower or dress; forget about participating in normal human activities. The anxiety you’re left with leaves you bedridden and afraid of what is outside your apartment door. You can’t eat, can’t sleep, and can’t possibly think of anything else going on outside the four walls that close in on you. I was challenged in ways I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, and yet, I came out on top.
The following year I decided that it was time to heal. Six months after my initial heartbreak, I bit the bullet and booked a ticket to Europe where I spent eight weeks, solo, volunteering in Macedonia with Project Hope. It was then that I discovered my love of solo travel, as I was using my weekends to venture out on my own.
In that time travel healed me. I felt excited about life again, my anxiety was slowly slipping away. Travel brought me new friends and new experiences. I was filled with a sense of peace and ease as I discovered new places and cultures. I ate tapas with strangers in Barcelona. Partied with new friends at Springfest in Munich. Felt uncomfortable in Skopje. My life was touched by strangers who have shaped and influenced me and they may not even realize it. I was faced with the option to look outside myself and realize that there is an entire world of people out there facing adversity, and overcoming it, every single day.
Travel is Healing
So while travel is fun and exciting and new, it is also so much more than that. Travel is love. It is trust. It is meeting new people and making new friends. Seeing new places. Trying new foods. It makes you uncomfortable to the point where you have no other option but to embrace it. And most importantly, travel has the ability to heal you.
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