Can Travelling Solo Really Heal a Broken Heart?

Getting over a broken heart is never easy. Whether it’s the end of a relationship, the loss of someone you love or dealing with the pain from being treated unfairly…it well and truly sucks.

I’m not usually one for writing such personal posts…but having been on the road for ten months I was surprised to meet many others who were in a very similar situation to me. And there’s probably even more of you out there right now, going through exactly the same thing, wondering whether a solo adventure could help you get over such heartache. Perhaps (like I did) you have idealistic visions of going on a journey of self-discovery, much like Elizabeth Gilbert in “Eat, Pray, Love” (that book/film has a lot to answer for!)

But is it REALLY the answer?

Well here’s my story…

Two years ago I had my heart broken in more ways than one. Within the space of a few months, I was dealing with the breakdown of a six year relationship, and the sudden loss of both my remaining grandparents, who were a both such a huge inspiration to me. My world literally felt like it had been turned upside down.

But if I am being completely honest with myself, this sense of loss had been lingering for a good while beforehand. I had generally been lacking direction and focus, and this was starting to permeate into other areas of my life as well. My job. My diploma. My friendships. My general well-being.

There was no reasonable explanation for it. I had a roof over my head, a good job, supportive family and friends, a happy social life. But for whatever reason I couldn’t shake that feeling that something was missing.

The turning point…

They often say that difficult times make you stronger and when my relationship came to an end, it was the catalyst for me to realise that the only person who was going to drag me kicking and screaming out of this rut…was me.

For others going through such heartache  and confusion this could mean surrounding themselves with supportive peers, making a fresh start somewhere new, or taking up a new hobby to occupy their mind.

But for me, it was finally dusting off my backpack to fulfil a life-long dream and go on a solo adventure across the world.

Can Travelling Solo Really Heal a Broken Heart?

But can travelling really heal a broken heart?

I don’t think there is a simple yes or no to this question.

If you want to travel just to escape…then the answer is probably no. All you’ll end up doing is running away and wallowing in self-pity somewhere else. Your problems will still be there when you return and chances are you’ll end up feeling even more confused than you did before you left.

But if you can see it as an opportunity to learn and grow…then the healing process can become the welcome by-product of the experiences that naturally come with travel.

While I don’t necessarily believe travelling solo will “fix” a broken heart…I do believe there are a number of ways in which it can help you move on…

Can Travelling Solo Really Heal a Broken Heart?

Travel gives you distance and time

They say time is a great healer. Well distance can be too. Travelling is a great way to separate yourself from the past and learn to let go of those memories. But within time it will also help you focus on the happier memories too. I can honestly say that I now look back on my relationship with a smile. No more resentment or anger or asking the question “why”. Just an understanding that life does not always turn out the way you plan, but that doesn’t make what DID happen any less important. It’s all part of your journey.

Travelling helps you become more independent

If you have been in a relationship for a long time, then chances are the “you” and “me” naturally became a “we” at some point. When a relationship ends, at first it can be a complete shock to the system that the only person you now have to think about is you. But travelling solo forces you to think on your own two feet and make your own decisions and choose your own direction. You have complete freedom to do what you want and when you want, so embrace it!

Travel reconnects you with who YOU are

Travelling gives you the chance to be completely free of daily responsibilities and just focus on yourself. If you’re travelling solo, chances are you’ll get plenty of solitary moments to reflect. You’ll learn to truly understand yourself – what you love, what you hate, what you can and won’t tolerate. Furthermore, you’re bound to be pushed out of your comfort zones from time-to-time. And when you surprise yourself with how well you coped with those situations, you’ll feel a stronger and more confident person because of it.

Travel gives you new friendships and memories

On the road you get to meet so many amazing people, both backpackers and locals, from all different walks of life, some of which could even end up becoming lifelong friends. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great way to distract yourself – you’ll be too busy creating new unforgettable memories to spend time dwelling on the past.

Travel could become the new love of your life

Who knows you could just meet that special someone among all your new travel buddies. Or maybe you won’t. But either way you might end up falling completely head over heels in love with travel. Like any good relationship, travel will continue to inspire you, surprise you, and support you (and maybe even piss you the hell off at times!) But above all else, it will definitely bring out the best in you. And that to me sounds like the perfect match.

Have you ever gone off on a solo adventure to get over a broken heart? Share your stories with me below! 

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Cathy
    February 9, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Lovely blog! For me the healing for my broken heart was hiking! Through divorce I fell in love with the woods and mountains. They healed me and made me stronger physically and mentally. Travel became another love after:)

  • Reply
    Cat MacGregor
    February 9, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Great article! My ex-boyfriend and I actually started a world trip together just over 5 months ago but split up 2 weeks ago. I still have a lot of places I want to see so I am actually quite excited about now being able to do this alone. In my experience it’s when you travel alone that all the best experiences happen because you put yourself out there more. That said, pushing 30 I’m worried I don’t have the stamina for partying and constant friend-making that I used to!

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      February 9, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Haha I’m pushing the other side of 30 and still managed it! Here’s to a new chapter 🙂

  • Reply
    Joe
    February 10, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Great post. I agree that it’s all abut your mental approach to it – see it as a positive opportunity for a new start and it can be great. Use it as a consolation prize and it will probably backfire…any post that advocates caution and responsibility over this sort if thing is a good one, so thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Rah Ul
    February 10, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    It did wonders for me. It was 3 years ago when I broke up with the “love of my life” and it wasn’t easy. That’s when I decided to make my first ever solo trip, out of intuition and voila!! It changed my whole life and I never had to rely on “time to fix my wounds” there on 😉 But, for better or worse, it kinda spoilt me, as well, as I haven’t been in a long-term relationship ever since, which kinda bothers me sometimes but, you know… such is life 😉

    Nice blog, btw. Happy travels 🙂

  • Reply
    Shelly
    February 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I have never gone traveling to mend a broken heart, but I can truly see how it can help. Traveling can really help open your eyes to all the other amazing people and things in the world.

  • Reply
    mark
    February 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I think it was the distraction from everyday life that helped you and the distance from things that had created memories

  • Reply
    Rob Taylor
    February 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Yes, travel works for that. I’ve done it too, but totally relocating (because I was young and dramatic) and traveling to find happiness. And then I just fell in love with travel too.

  • Reply
    melody pittman
    February 11, 2016 at 1:29 am

    I have no idea if it works or not but it certainly opens up a bunch more choices for finding the perfect mate…or someone to fill the void. 😉

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    February 11, 2016 at 2:52 am

    I honestly have not but I know of friends who have. Some come back with a fresh perspective and some actually end up worse than before. Not sure what goes on there.

  • Reply
    Gearoid McSweeney
    February 11, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Yes, anything that gives you space and distance is the best cure for a broken heart. Not being close to a situation helps so much.

  • Reply
    Voyager
    February 11, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Whether travelling soothes a broken heart may be subjective, but I do feel that it allows you to travel deep down inside yourself and rediscover your thoughts and emotions.

  • Reply
    tots2travel
    February 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Pretty much everyone i met on my 6 months travelling was newly single. Not miserable, not running away but finally able to just do what they wanted to do.

  • Reply
    Ajay Sood
    February 11, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    To confess, for me, there has been once that I took off solo to get over a broken relationship. For me it was a blessing in disguise – found my wife during that little journey! 😉

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      February 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      amazing! the world works in mysterious ways 😉

  • Reply
    Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork
    February 11, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    I just think travel is good for the soul. Anytime. If you need to get some perspective go someplace totally different from where you live.

  • Reply
    Girlswanderlust
    February 12, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Nice post! Very brave you did solo-travelling. We think that travelling can help to heal a broken heart!

  • Reply
    Renate
    February 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Beautifully written! Thank you so much for sharing <3

  • Reply
    solosophie
    February 13, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I think you’re completely right: there is no yes or no answer and it depends on your take on things 🙂

  • Reply
    Serica
    February 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I love your insight on this! So timely for my current breakup! Kudos to you for learning all that and being able to place them into words that are so simple yet so true! Keep it up!

  • Reply
    Wanderlustingk
    February 17, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Great post. I actually ended up dating my boyfriend after our love of travel got us together, but I’ve been there too as my first backpacking trip taught me many of the same lessons, including how independent I can be. Hope your travel is helping!

  • Reply
    Katie Uniacke
    February 17, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I just broke up with a boyfriend I met on my last big trip, when I let him take the reins and lost that independent streak, and I know that a solo adventure is just what I need to get my confidence back up and prove to myself that I can do absolutely anything all on my own! Thanks for a bit of timely inspiration!

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      March 29, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks Katie, I’m sure it won’t take you long to take the reigns back. Thank you for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Ronda
    March 11, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I whole heartedly agree with this. I really believe it can heal a broken heart. After my boyfriend and I broke up I moved to Costa Rica for a few months, I didn’t do it to escape, but the people I met there helped me see I wasn’t alone in my heartbreak. I made so many friends and even met a woman from Switzerland who went through some horrible and heartbreaking situations one after the other, she actually started traveling to escape it all. But I kept in contact with her and I know when she moved back home after traveling 6 months she was refreshed and ready to start again. I don’t think it’s ideal to use travel to escape from something either, but sometimes it ends up being a pretty good remedy. Lovely Post!

    • Reply
      whereisnoodles
      March 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks Ronda, I’m glad to hear it helped 🙂

  • Reply
    What You Need To Know About Solo Travel | Trips100
    March 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

    […] Solo travel won’t fix your broken heart, says Where is Noodles, because any pain you leave will still be there when you get home – unless you stop viewing your trip as an escape and start seeing it as a chance to grow and learn. Read more here… […]

  • Reply
    Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs
    March 30, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing, and kudos for your solo travel.

  • Reply
    Paula
    March 30, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I am not sure if it can heal but I think the space of travelling alone can really help you work out what is important to you. Good Luck on your jouneys!

  • Reply
    Christine K
    March 30, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Travel certainly does all the things you said it does. It can be sad too because you still have that pain and you’re not connected with anything. On the other hand, time, distance, and seeing the world can truly help you heal. Very nice post.

  • Reply
    Jojo
    March 31, 2016 at 2:12 am

    I am glad to hear that traveling solo helped you grow. How long did you travel solo for?

  • Reply
    Gabriela Rios
    April 2, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I travelled to The Emirates shortly after I split Up with my husband. Ready to prepare myself to a divorce stage. Not only healed my heart but also made me stronger, seeing everything from the tallest skyscraper in the World gave me only one chance to touch the Sky and let myself to feel as light as a cloud. No more tears and pain in my heart… and I keep on travelling sólo, always finding sth new in me and collecting the best memories ever. And the most important lesson during these trips : forgiveness!!! ☺ Gaby from Argentina

  • Reply
    Tyra
    April 5, 2016 at 2:57 am

    I love this because travel can give you time to heal yourself. And to learn more about yourself. This is a great post.

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