How to deal with heartbreak as you travel

Relationships form and end so quickly while you are travelling that you could easily go through more relationships in one summer abroad than you may have had in your entire life. When you put a bunch of young, good looking, care free backpackers together in one place you are bound to have sparks fly. Then, inevitably, one of you has to move on or go home, so that relationship ends, and soon enough you find another one begins. Despite the short shelf life of many travel relationships, you may also find that you bond much stronger, and much more quickly than you would typically expect. I have yet to understand exactly why this happens so much on the road, but when those relationships break down how do you deal with it?

I guess this topic comes to my mind because this summer I fell in love, and also had my heart broken. When I think about it, the whole thing only lasted 3 months, but for some reason it felt like I knew this guy more than ex-boyfriends I’ve been together with more than double that time. I guess sometimes you just connect with people in a certain way. Anyway, before I digress too much, after licking my wounds so to speak, and finally picking myself back up, I learned a lot about real heartbreak this summer. Especially heartbreak on the road.

It’s one thing having to deal with the breakdown of a relationship back home, but when you’re travelling, having to share a room with other people, not really having a spare moment to yourself, it can be especially hard. When it was someone really special, i.e. not just a short or prolonged fling which happens a lot when you’re travelling, then when it ends sometimes all you want to do is lock yourself away in a room, listen to depressing songs, watch some terrible RomComs, and just generally not have to be around anyone to fake a smile. So… what can you do to help you get over it, and be back to your chirpy self as soon as possible?

Go for a walk, find somewhere quiet, and just chill.

In a hostel, where most backpackers stay while travelling, you may find it hard to get a spare minute to yourself. It’s important to have time to just chill, have time to think, put things into perspective, and not have to pretend like everything is ok out on the surface. Go for a walk. Take advantage of your surroundings. Find somewhere quiet like a park, the beach, the river, or anywhere else you can find that is secluded, gives you a nice view, and time to think. Even if there’s lots of people passing you by, strangers are ok, you don’t have to act happy around them. They don’t know you, and won’t be looking at you.

We all need time on our own to begin with when a relationship breaks down. Make sure you find time to do that, but that is preferably out in the open air, rather than cooped up inside.

Call home. Vent. See a familiar face.

Whether it’s your mum, your best friend, your auntie, uncle, sister, or whoever, there must be someone back home that you would usually talk to about these things. Call them. Skype, use a calling card, or send a long and venting email if all else fails. It will make you feel better just getting it out there. Video call especially can be good during these times though, as sometimes you just need to see a friendly face.

Get yourself out there. Meet new people. Party hard.

As much as we all need time on our own, you need to make sure you force yourself to get out, and meeting new people again… even if it’s the last thing on your mind at that point. I know myself, sometimes all I wanted to do was lock myself up in my room, and sleep until I could forget about everything. This just isn’t practical. For a start, it doesn’t work… it just makes you worse. Even though you may not feel like it, if you get out and start talking to people you WILL feel better as the night goes on. Sometimes it takes someone to drag you out, but either way, just do it. Talk to new people, people who didn’t know you before. Think of it as a clean slate. Go out, get drunk, and make that inevitable drunk phone call at 4am you wish you never made. The next day might be a little embarrassing, but it’s all part of the process. Next day, start again.

Cry if you need to

In times like these sometimes you just need to cry. Even if you’re not someone who cries a lot. I know I don’t, but just having one moment in a toilet cubicle having a little quiet sob was enough to get it out, and actually had me laughing by the end of it at how over-dramatic I was being…. but you can only get to that point once you’ve got it all out. Crying is a stress release. Don’t be ashamed if you feel you need to do it.

Move on… to the next destination

Even if deep down you still don’t feel like moving on, if you know in your head (I’ve learned head knows better than heart unfortunately) that things are over, then don’t stick around. Everywhere there will be memories, and the advantage you have of travelling is that you can move onto an entirely new place where there are no physical reminders. I’m not saying you won’t ever think of that person, but you definitely won’t have as many reminders, which makes it a lot easier to move on quicker. Also, you have to think about you this time. What is best for you? You left to travel didn’t you? So move on, keep yourself busy, and soon enough you’ll find yourself wondering what you ever saw in that person.

3 Responses to “How to deal with heartbreak as you travel”

  1. Rease says:

    Great advice. I definitely agree that some relationships, especially ones that involve travel or time limits can seem extra intense, more so than much longer relationships.

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