I am sorry Trisha Velarmino if I am going against your post when you wrote about how Travel healed your broken heart. Trust me though, I read this article a million times too after my initial breakup. It was one of the reasons why I decided to do that first trip to Palawan or plot some travel plans for that year, where most did not really push through.
It has been months since that day. You know what I’m talking about. The day that changed my world- the day where I quit my job, lost my boyfriend, and my grandfather all at the same time. I think that day broke me into so many pieces and as much as I convince myself that I’m going to be okay – I was not. I lied to myself so many times, and I lied to my friends too. I told them, “I’m going to travel the world!”, right when I was still in the recovering phase. Yes, it seemed like a logical decision at that time, because most of the articles I have read seems to have said the same thing! If it worked for them, it will certainly work for me too- or so I thought.
It was the best way to escape everything I was feeling- the pain, the hurt, the loss, the disappointments. I wanted to leave everything behind and start anew someplace else, where nobody knows who I am, and in which no place can remind me of the pain. Some friends were supportive, some were not- but they all said the same thing: “follow what your heart tells you.” Well, to be honest, when your heart is broken into a million pieces, you usually don’t know which one of those pieces is the right piece to follow.
And then it hits me. One sleepless night while looking for flight tickets to Japan, I realized something – I was not ready to travel. It was, at that time, what my ex-expected me to do- not what I wanted to do. I wanted to travel to prove to him that I can do it on my own without him! Pathetic – he obviously doesn’t care, and I am already sure that I can travel on my own. I mean, I’ve been doing it even before I met him! So why am I rushing? Why do I have to leave now? Am I making this decision for myself or for someone else? Stop. This is a bad idea. If I keep doing this, I will just drag along my problems along the way, just like how I dragged it amongst my friends. “Stop it, Carla – you need to grow up.“
So right there and then I decided to postpone my travel. I knew I still want to globe trot around the world, but I also know that I want to do it because it was MY DREAM not because I was trying to escape or prove something to someone who obviously isn’t important in my life anymore. So with a spoonful of hope, I was determined to make the right choice this time. I wasn’t ready to travel, and I don’t want to travel for the wrong reasons. I am not a coward! my mom raised me to be strong- and to always face whatever adversities and problems I encounter along the way. I will not run away from my problems anymore, and instead, I will face them head on! I will heal the proper way. I will allow myself to feel the pain, the loss, the sorrow and skip traveling until I know that I am ready. I needed time to mourn for my grandpa properly, and I need to take this healing time with the people who love me the most – my family.
I will not jump into another relationship just because I was lonely or I need to validate my ego that I am still desirable. Because I know that when I am finally happy and fulfilled – the right relationship will come along. I don’t need to rush or force it. I will learn to accept who I am and make decisions for myself, not anyone else’s. Though some may not understand, and some judged me for backing out on my plans… I did not let it affect me. They were not the ones living my life and wearing my shoes. They were not the ones waking up every day, seeing my grandfather’s piano and wish he could just be there to play it again. They were not the ones who lost 5 kilos in a span of 3 days out of sheer depression. No, they were not the ones who suffered the pain.
I don’t need to explain myself to anyone who does not understand. Because this my life and I will decide how I want to live it. I do not owe anyone an explanation for finding my own happiness. All they simply have to do is to watch me find it – because I will.
After a long hiatus and lots of contemplation time- I woke up today and realized how much I have changed. For a much obvious one- my hair is long again. In case you don’t know, I had a semi-bob cut a few days before that judgment day. It was the shortest I’ve ever cut my hair, and looking back, I think it was actually kind of symbolic. As my hair starts to grow, I did too. I am no longer that weak silly stupid girl, who followed love so blindly that she forgot to choose herself. I am stronger now and I am more self-assured. I have accepted my good side, okay side and my bad side, because as a whole – it made me who I am. But also, I urged myself to be kinder and kinder to people, because I also now know, that the world rewards kindness with love, and happiness with joy. So yes, be strong but be wise and be good- because a positive attitude attracts positive things.
So as I am sitting here looking at the all the travels I have planned and booked – I can say that I have made the right choice. Had I left when I was broken and lost, I would not be able to fully understand the true meaning of traveling. I would have just carried on with the pain and wished my grandpa is still there as I kept moving from one place to another, or wish my ex-was there to assure me that everything is going to be okay. Because now, I know that it will. I don’t need him anymore.
Today, I can proudly say that I’m okay and you my dear reader – you will be okay too. Traveling is not something you should do to “escape”, don’t put it in a lesser credit that it should be! because it is so much more than that. Travel is appreciating the beauty of life beyond the walls of your country- and it requires seeing that with a clear eye and a happy heart. I know it may feel weird at first, to date yourself and take selfies in front of prominent travel sites as what I have been doing – but let me tell you this… behind each camera shot I took, I took it with a genuine smile.
So please, if you are like me a few months ago, and you are not sure whether to take that leap of faith and leave – I urge you to wait a little more and be patient. The world will not run away from you, it will always be there, and seat sales happen all year round! Heal first, and clear your mind before you commit yourself to any lifelong decisions.
Finding happiness is not a race. There will always be a right time for everything and there will always be a reason for something. You just have to be strong and patient enough to understand it. You will always have problems and heartaches, and if you just keep running away from them, you will just deny yourself of the growth that you needed to succeed. Do not be ashamed to be in this phase of your life, because everyone has got to be weak before they can be strong. This is just life teaching you that you are actually stronger than you take yourself credit for. So please please, don’t use travel as a distraction to move on- because it will only prolong the healing process. Trust me on this.
A few months from now you might also be like me- sitting here in Vietnam finishing your last cup of Vietnamese coffee staring at the entire Hanoi Skyline – realizing how you would not have had it any other way. If anything, I know now what it’s like to live – to truly live. I am also more positive that if another adversity hits my way, I can always look back and say that if I can surpass it once, I sure can surpass it again. I couldn’t be prouder to know that the only reason I can smile so widely today, is because I fought for it – every. single. day. I have been bent and broken and yet, I stand up every single time and there is no happiness and strength more profound than that.
So, my dear, If it’s still not clear to you – let me tell you this: Traveling did not heal my broken heart- I did.