Ask Kate: How Do I Get Over Heartbreak While Traveling?

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How to get over heartbreak while traveling.

Has heartbreak ever impacted your travels?  This week’s question has an unorthodox answer.

Hi Kate,

I’ve recently started my around the world trip and had to end my relationship to come out here (my boyfriend was very supportive but we both decided that long term just isn’t for us). However now I’m out here I feel very alone and sad – and am missing him a lot.

I just wondered if you have any advice on how to make the most of this great experience without clinging too much onto the past. Currently I wish I never decided to travel (what an awful thought!)

I know this is more a relationship question than a travel one but I hope you can help.


Step One: Find a hot Scandinavian.

Step Two: Make out with him.

I’m completely serious.  I’ve done it and I’ve found it highly therapeutic.  Sometimes, all you need to lift your spirits is a makeout session with a cute stranger with whom you’re not emotionally invested.

It really sucks when heartbreak impacts your trip, and that’s why you need to be careful about not letting yourself fall too hard for someone who may not return your feelings.  (That’s a hell of a lot easier said than done.)  Breakups are awful, especially breakups with kind people whom you love very much, and it makes me sad that you’re not enjoying the trip of a lifetime.

But trust me — you won’t feel this way forever.  Each day will be easier than the last — it may be by such a small margin that you might not notice it at first, but IT WILL GET BETTER. I promise.

In the meantime, it’s time to get yourself to feel happier.  If you’re not going to take the aforementioned approach, this is what I recommend:

Force yourself to fill your days with people and activities.  If you’re an introvert like me and perfectly content to explore alone, eat alone, and spend the bulk of your time alone, that can be a bit of a challenge.  Resist the urge to stay alone and get yourself out there.

Look for free tours.  Look for cheap activities.  Look for anything that involves a group.  Check into a social hostel, or any hostel with a bar.  Go on Couchsurfing and look for events taking place.  Try something you’ve always dreamed of doing — or have never heard of before!  I particularly recommend trying physical activities — hiking, biking, rafting — because the endorphin rush will make you feel great.

In the meantime, stop communicating with your ex-boyfriend.  Unsubscribe from his Facebook updates (he won’t notice); stop emailing him.  If you’re still in touch regularly, send a kind but firm email saying that you need some time to yourself.

Filling your days with people and activities will serve several purposes: it will distract you from the pain you’re feeling right now, it will get you outside your comfort zone, it will introduce you to new people who could become good or even lifelong friends, it will teach you something new, and it will create wonderful memories for you  — thus confirming that deciding to travel long-term was the best decision of your life.

Keep doing this, little by little, and I promise you that it will get better.  Chin up.