How to travel with a broken heart

How to travel with a broken heart

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for traveling with a broken heart.

Travel is a mysteriously powerful experience with the ability to heal. Many people choose to take a trip after losing a dear one, whether it be a friend, family member or lover. But what happens if you go through a break up while traveling? How do you cope?

This exact situation happened to me on my recent trip to Portugal. I was halfway through a 3-week European backpacking trip when my relationship ended. I was alone, in a foreign country and staying in a shared dorm at a hostel – could it get any worse? (Of course, it could – I am being dramatic).

No matter what your situation there are things that can help you deal with heartbreak.

Take time out to grieve

Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean that you have to pretend your heart isn’t breaking. You might be tempted to hold it in because you’ve made great new friends and don’t want them to see you at your worst. Put on a brave face when you head out if you prefer, but make sure that you are taking time out to process the situation.

And if you feel like sobbing openly in the middle of the street, that’s cool too. You probably won’t see any of these people again anyway, so who cares? I cry on plane rides all the time. It’s practically a habit at this point and very therapeutic.

Either way, be gentle with yourself. Going through a break-up is a painful experience. Now is the time to take it easy and let all your emotions come out naturally.


Try to find some personal space

For all this grieving, you are probably going to want to have some privacy. Not a problem if you have the funds to check into a private hotel room with discreet staff who will bring you room service and not judge your tear-stained face. For those of us who are budget backpackers, this can be a little bit more tricky.

In my situation, I was staying in a shared dorm room in a hostel. On my first night, I was lucky to have the whole room to myself and could let all my emotions out. However on the other nights, when I had roommates, this kind of behavior would have been considered awkward at best.

So if you find yourself in the same situation, I would recommend upgrading to a private room if you can. At this point, you need your space and it’s well worth the extra bucks. Alternatively, try to find some private spaces in your hostel where you can be alone.

Reach out to loved ones for support

This is the time that you need your family and friends. If you were back home, your BFF would be on their way over with a tub of ice cream, boxes of tissues and an armful of DVDs. However, now that you are traveling it’s not so simple.

Luckily in this day and age, we have many communication platforms such as Skype, Whatsapp, email, etc. Use these without restraint. I spent countless hours on emergency Skype conversations with girlfriends from all over the world, including Brisbane, Vancouver, New York City and Ghana.

We’ve all experienced heartbreak and feel for others when they experience it themselves. Your friends and family will want to be there for you, especially because you are thousands of miles away. Let them support you, even if it’s not in person.

Don’t be afraid to stop or change your plans

Okay, so your world has ended. Or at least your relationship has and it feels like nothing will ever be okay again. That’s normal and it will pass. The question is “what to do now?”. Do you keep traveling or go home? The right answer is the one that’s right for you.

I know plenty of badasses who power through their break-ups, determined to continue on the path that they set off on. On the other hand, if you can’t go on, then that’s perfectly understandable. The world is going to be waiting for you once you get back on your feet.

For me, I knew that I couldn’t continue traveling as if nothing had happened. Rather than heading back home (where is that again, anyway?) I decided to fly to the closest city where I had friends living. I needed to be around people who cared for me. Even though I changed my plans and missed out on visiting the south of Portugal and Spain, I knew that I could do those trips again in the future. And I plan to!


Keep busy, busy, busy

Our minds are very powerful and left unchecked, they can run riot. Better to keep yourself busy with positive and constructive tasks. Or binge-watch the entire six seasons of Sex & The City (I’ve been there!). In my case, I was in Porto and Lisbon and needed a distraction but couldn’t string together a plan in my messed up state. So I went three different walking tours. It took my mind off the situation and I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing.

Probably a good idea to stay off social media, especially if you are still friends with your ex. Also, it’s not so much fun seeing your friends’ happy couple photos plastered all over your feed. You’ll get there, but you definitely don’t need to see that right now.

Don’t do anything permanent

The first few weeks following a break up can be a roller coaster of emotions. You may experience anger, sadness, relief and many more feelings. There is no right way and we all process break-ups differently. These emotions might influence you to do something crazy like going on a silent meditation retreat or a booze-filled bender of nightclubs. Do whatever feels good but don’t do anything permanent.

Now is not the time to be making life changing decisions. So probably best not to sign up to the Peace Corps or get a lower back tattoo. If you really want to go wild, get a piercing – at least those come out easily.

Start making new exciting plans for the future

There is no rush to start thinking about the future. And in the beginning, it will probably be hard or even painful to imagine a future without your ex. However, as the weeks pass you will start to feel more like your amazing self and be feeling more hopeful about the future.

The positive of a break-up is that you are now able to do whatever you want without any input or consideration for a significant other. The beauty of being single is that you are free!

So what dreams have you been putting off because it wasn’t the right time? It could be a one-year solo backpacking trip or relocate to The Netherlands to learn Dutch. I recommend writing down a list of all your goals and aspirations. This could be for work, family, hobbies and of course, travel! Personally, I write and review my goals every three months. These goals include short-term and long-term so I can always be working towards the future that I dream of.

What is the future that you are envisioning yourself in now?


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Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for traveling with a broken heart. Tips to help you cope with a painful breakup while on the road.

Have you gone through an emotional experience while on the road? Tell us about it below!

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Romance on the road: Collection of romantic travel stories

Romance on the road: Collection of romantic travel stories

Adoration 4 Adventure’s collection of romantic travel stories – “Romance on the road”.

This collection includes stories from four different continents of romantic moments that occurred while traveling.

For inspiration and tips on how to woo your current or potential partner even while in remote destinations without a big budget.

Romance on the road

Romance on the road: Jessica BeareJessica Beare

Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

The most romantic thing that I have had done for me took place in the United Arab Emirates, in the early stages of my current relationship. I was working in the desert on a wilderness camp. In the middle of the night, my boyfriend woke me up from my cabin, told me to wrap up warm (the desert gets cold at night!), and we snuck out of the locked gates.

He led me through the dunes without any explanation, up onto the highest point around, with the completely still Arabian Desert stretched out before us. The only light came from the tiniest slither of a crescent moon turned on its side, and the most incredible set of stars that you will ever see. We lay together on the sand and stargazed, counting a total of 15 shooting stars. To this day when we see the moon that way, we call it ‘our moon’ – if you haven’t yet witnessed Arabian nights then I highly recommend you do it, it will take your breath away.

Romance on the road: Kachina DimmockKachina Dimmock

Bozeman, Montana, United States of America

For me, Bozeman will always be the most romantic place on this Earth, as it is where I met my partner. There’s so much you can do in Bozeman (LOTS of winter activities around this time of year), however the greatest romantic gestures are best kept simple. For the entire week leading up to our first date, I was not allowed to ask any questions about what was being planned.

On the day I was surprised with a cute little picnic in the snowy dog park. Happy puppies playing in the snow surrounded us – it was perfect. This was made even sweeter by the fact that Henry had woken up early that morning and went down the street to buy cakes and tea from the co-op, Wal-Mart to buy a thermos – which he sneaked into the cafeteria and filled with hot water so that we could have tea in the park and scarves to keep our butts warm on the icy seats. Super sweet and romantic AND it fit the 7 month travel budget perfectly.

Romance on the road: Karin Ardila ŠkutkováKarin Ardila Škutková

Botum Sakor National Park, Cambodia

My husband and I got married last year; however, when we met you would not have thought about a happy ending. We bumped into each other in a hostel in Bangkok and went on to hitchhike across the coast of Cambodia. One of the rides left us right on a beach; instead of heading to the nearby island, we hung our hammock in between of the palm trees and stayed with the tiny local community. We slept under the roof that was left of an abandoned house; the government recently displaced most of the villagers because of a casino some Chinese entrepreneurs planned to build there.

We stayed there for a week, sharing one sleeping bag and getting to know the fishermen and their kids who brought us food and taught us basic Khmer words; this wooden shack on the road was our first home. When we had to split later, we sat together and read aloud our travel journals to each other. That was the most intimate moment I could imagine; ever since, we always keep travel diaries and share them with each other when we are apart – which, luckily, doesn’t happen quite as often anymore.

Romance on the road: Sadhvi MythuliSadhvi Mythuli

Ooty, India

Ooty is one of the most romantic and famous honeymoon destinations in India. I had always dreamed of spending a romantic time together with my husband – dancing, hugging and kissing. You might wonder ‘what is such a big deal in that? Remember, I am from India. India is a conservative country where public displays of affection (even hugging) is concerned very offensive and my dream remained only a dream for many years until we went to Ooty. On every trip we like to take a rental bike and roam on our own.

We started at a nearby lake called ‘Pykara Lake’. On our way we found a secluded road which was very rarely used by any one and decided to stop there for few minutes. The place turned out to be the most romantic place! We did all the things I had been dreaming of doing. We laughed, danced on the road, kissed and played ‘catch­ catch’ in the woods. We spent some two hours there, until it started getting dark. I had had many romantic moments before, but this was the most romantic time on the road.

Romance on the road: Sheila KowalSheila Kowal

Koh Khai Nui, Thailand

When we travel, romance is key to our fun.  On a recent bareboat sailing / diving trip in Thailand we stopped for lunch and a bit of snorkeling. We knew this might be our last dip in the water before returning to Phuket and immediately catching a flight to Chiang Mai. Even though we were excited about caring for elephants, I dreaded leaving the water. This snorkel spot wasn’t superb, but we were enjoying every last minute – the fish were friendly, colorful, and plentiful.

While I mermaided my way through the area, I didn’t know Tom was on the hunt for anything fun to show me – a starfish, Christmas tree worm, turtle, eel or even a heart-shaped rock.  No luck. What to do to show his affection? Why not build a heart? So he did – about 8 feet underwater – he took a deep breath, gathered rocks, arranged rocks, over and over. I caught on just in time to snap this pic! His heart added an extra special romantic surprise to our last snorkel!

Romance on the road: Gabby BeckfordGabby Beckford

Reykjavik, Iceland

When I was 17 I had just graduated high school and decided to go to Iceland by myself. So on that day in late July, I connected from BWI to JFK, and then transferred to my plane from JFK to Reykjavik. I sat in the aisle seat and an old man sat in the window seat. And as I’m just praying some huge sweaty guy doesn’t sit next to me, it happens. The most gorgeous specimen of man ever says “Excuse me, that’s my seat”, with a smile. Long story short – he was from San Diego laying over in Iceland on his way to do a Eurorail trek through Europe for 6 months. We talked the entire flight, and I really believe that we mutually fell in love!

I don’t remember looking away from his green eyes the entire 7 hours. We even fell asleep leaning against each other while holding pinky fingers. The entire flight felt like a scene out of a movie! And I could feel our futures intertwining until he told me he was 23, and then asked how old I was… Yikes. I panicked and lied and said I was 21! Unfortunately that’s why when we got off the plane and he asked if I wanted to go on a date in Reykjavik and to see each other again, I felt I had to decline because I didn’t want him to figure out I was only 17! A sad ending, but that flight from New York to Iceland is one of my best travel memories and I still get butterflies when I think about it!

Tanja Aelbrecht

Alberta, Canada

One of the most romantic things during mine and my hubbies road trips, is his willingness to make all my star gazing wishes come true.  For example, we were on a road trip in Alberta, and it was 25 degrees below zero (Celsius). Despite being in the middle of nowhere, Jelger drove us way out in the field, to escape the small town lights and helped me identify star signs with his iPad.

Another example was our trip last winter to Oregon Coast. It was very windy and cold, but I insisted on wanting to take a photograph of Cannon Beach’s stars at night. Instead of staying inside in our perfectly comfy hotel room, my hubby dragged along the gear and helped me out. True romance for me is found in the moments where I know he’ll do something for me just because he loves me (I know how much he dislikes the cold, hehe). And this always leads to great shared experiences.

Romance on the road: Tanja Aelbrecht

Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure’s collection of romantic travel stories - "Romance on the road". Including tales from all over the world.

Have you traveled with a partner or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.