I wrote this as I traveled. I was in Paris with my Ultimate Concierge. Travel is truly transformative and I got to thinking about how it can be a form of therapy. I will share my story of how travel helped me in a time of surviving the loss of a love.
After a loss there is change. When I think about the transitions one goes through to survive a loss, certain words come to my mind. On a personal level, I am beset with worry, sadness and fear of the unknown. I feel stuck. Paralyzed. I need time to digest my situation.
To overcome loss may days, weeks, or even years. When I lost my late husband my loss took years, even though I found another love.
A person’s loss lessens when one comes to terms with their circumstance. Only when you come to terms with your loss will you be able to replace sadness with renewed motivation and hope, inspiration with aspiration and finally, the ultimate, the return to the joys of life.
Loss can come in all forms. The loss of a loved one, a job, retirement, a friendship, a pet, financial stability, and what about the loss of self? The severity of the loss could spring from several factors, not least of which, the degree to which your day to day life is affected. These are all valid forms of loss that affect one’s mental health in different ways, and require their own grief journey.
THE POWER OF POSSIBILITIES
Running away from a loss never works. In actuality it is impossible. When you are unable to confront loss you will never be freed from your emotional pain. I recommend journaling, even if you are not directly writing about your loss, as a way to process your new life. Everyone needs time. And oftentimes the assistance of a professional is needed to help you in your struggle.
I recall it was the seventh month after my late husband, Michael, passed away that my ability to deal with life began to return. Each of the previous months when I visited my hair stylist for a haircut or trim he would ask me, “How are you feeling?” For six months I said only four words, “I am so sad.”
The seventh month I vividly recall saying to him, “ I am feeling a little better.’
TRAVEL AFTER LOSS AS A FORM OF THERAPY
At the beginning of the 10th month, I decided to travel with my daughters. The trip was part of our grief process. I decided we would go to a hiking Spa, The Ashram, in Calabasas, California.
My decision was emotionally healing and helped tremendously with my grieving process. Twelve guests lived together in an old house with one shared bathroom. But outside the door of the home were miles upon miles of lush hiking trails in the Topanga Canyon. And just a few miles down the road from the home was the gorgeous sand beach of Malibu and the vast Pacific Ocean.
For one week my daughters and I hiked different mountain trails and walked the beach in Malibu. We cried together, hiked together, and shared our personal grief with nature as our fourth soul mate.
My decision to travel after the death of a loved one was spontaneous. To partner with nature ten months after our loss was therapeutic and supported my mental health in untold ways. My timing was perfect.
YOUR TYPE OF LOSS MAY DETERMINE YOUR DESTINATION
There are so many different places to travel, the whole world is there to consider. Though travel is often not about the destination, in this case, consider a feeling. The place you chose depends on your personal type of loss.
In addition, there is the consideration of who to travel with? You may consider joining a well-planned group trip like the one I have planned for next September, or you may want to travel solo and take things at your own pace. Read this full deep dive on transformative travel to become a worldly woman.
Whether you are struggling with the loss of a love or leaving the workplace, or a fractured friendship or any type of serious relationship. Or becoming an empty nester or any other situation of loss do count travel as part of your healing process. I suggest listening to your heart. It knows the trail you should travel. Trust me, I know.
After any form of loss, you have a choice – you can open up and bloom or remain tight in the bud and resist. It can be difficult when one is sad to know how to celebrate small emotional wins that will ultimately create joy. I suggest trying to find joy in everything, even a bright, happy umbrella protecting you from the rain. Surviving loss is composed of several tough journeys that ultimately will lead to healing and joy.