Have you ever traveled after a break up or traumatic event? To just get away from it? I most definitely have and without realizing at the time it was the best thing I could have done. I lost a special person in my life almost 11 years ago and the same year another special person asked me to be a bridemaids at her wedding in Australia. That trip held unintentional healing moments for me that looking back now I’m so happy I did it and grateful. Sometimes I looked back and regretted not doing it differently wanting to have done more… but it was all I knew to do with what I had. I had ugly tears couple times on that trip.. but I also got the honor and opportunity to be at a dear friends wedding and share the special day with her.
Australia was never really on my list of countries to visit. As a South African we had strong rivalry with the aussies in sports and one would normally know someone who may have immigrated there. Besides the great barrier reef (from a diving point of view) I wasn’t really interested … so how did it come about that I spent 5 weeks.
It has been a devastating year for me I had lost my boyfriend my soul mate in a senseless car accident in July of that year. My world was shattered, it was my last year at uni trying to finish my post grad honors in tourism couldn’t do it.
I don’t recall when I got the invite or got asked but it was the miracle I needed to attempt to move forward. Childhood friend getting married and I’m a bridesmaid… Sydney. Australia. Why the fuck not.
I worked my tush off waitresing and remember walking into the STA travel agency to book my ticket. I was super proud and exited and nervous (maybe cos the agent was l flirting with me and I had no idea what to do but mainly because I finally had something to look forward to, a light in the darkness I had found myself in.
Thats what travel does. That’s the healing power it has from the moment you decide to go somewhere you are already expanding yourself.
Sydney surprised me. I loved it. It is beautiful city with all the great things you need. Hidden clean beaches, stunning botanical gardens, really well kept zoo, ferries public transport (that’s works and is affordable) … albeit the alcohol is pricey. Paid and 60Aud once for rum and coke… it came in short glass I was not a happy camper.
Great night life or at least what u could remember.
My friends wedding was beautiful. She was beautiful.
Didn’t get to do Melbourne.
Harbour Bridge climb.
Bondi Beach. Other beaches.
Hike. Solo pic.
Healing: this trip had a purpose. It gave me back my strength and belief that there is good in the world and life can continue after great loss.
I found myself stuck in gold coast in a precarious situation and having this overwhelming sense of helplessness of not doing enough of not being enough and I didn’t know how to fix it. I was alone in a shopping mall balling my eyes out. Called my family back home for support and cried some more but that also gave me the strength (and means) to be brave and spontaneous so I booked another flight up to Whitsunday Islands and got on a live aboard 3 day diving trip. Epic. I don’t remember everyone’s names or the staff but it didn’t matter at the time they were all in the peripheral of my soul searching. They made the trip amazingly easy and comfortable because they didn’t know me I didn’t have to talk to anyone I could just be. Dive into he beautiful great barrier reef national marine park (sadly not on the reef itself but I was close) and watch sunsets and sunrises from a catamaran for 3 solid days.
When I finally got back home I was in better space. Travel heals and even more if you do so mindfully. I wasnt very mindful at age 25 but my soul pulled me in the right directions sometimes quite dramatically snot en trane, other times more subtle. I did what needed to be done. It transforms you even if you don’t realize it.
Being removed from your current situation physically and mentally can be a powerful way to get perspective. Realize there is a bigger world out there and you need to find your place in it …
Mandatory vacations should be a thing. A real thing.