So most of you know me as the girl who left a relationship to travel the world and once I wrote about how difficult it was because people seemed to think I possessed some extraordinary strength to do it when it was really one of the most excruciating things I had done. It’s also the reason why I am so happy to share a guest post from Ant at Positive World Travel about breaking up to travel. While he is currently traveling with his fiance Elise, his story is complicated but so very reassuring with a happy ending.
Why do people travel?
I constantly ask myself this question and wonder what the answers would be from every given person on the road. Is it for a sense of adventure? To explore something new? To learn and discover? As travellers we all seek out new experiences which are so far removed from our own home.
There is also the idea that many go travelling to run away from their regular lives.
Travel acts as a form of escapism, and it wasn’t until I was recently reflecting on my first long term travel overseas several years ago, that I was one of those people. My first overseas trip came about from a rather Lemony Snickets style of a ‘series-of-unfortunate-events’, which ultimately culminated in my departure. The reason for me leaving? What else, but a girl?
I had been with my girlfriend at the time for 2 years. Our relationship had been rocky to say the least. For months on end we were going through the same routine of breaking up, then getting back together. Then doing it all over again.
Finally, there was one last break up and I willed myself not to go back. I couldn’t do it. It was so hard and it truly felt like I had had my heart broken for the first time.
Even though I knew not getting back together with her was the right thing to do, I missed her terribly. I ended up giving her the cold shoulder. I dropped her completely out of my life. I didn’t want to see or speak to her. If I forgot about my ex then I thought things would be OK.
What made it even harder was she hung out in the same circle of friends as I did. So I began to avoid anything social just so I wouldn’t bump into her.
Looking back on it now, it seems strange that she had such an impact on me. I mean, in reality our relationship wasn’t the best, but I think I was more attached to the closeness of having someone around than actually having a real connection.
Working hard to forget
So, like any person does when trying to forget about an old relationship, I threw myself into work. That only made things worse. I was at an average job as a chef at a restaurant I had no real passion for. The long hours, mixed with the chaotic pace of the kitchen along with the constant thoughts about my ex in my head, made me completely miserable.
The friends I did see on occasion I but on a brave face, reassuring them that I was well and truly over her, but inside I was dying to know what she was up to and how she was.
After a few months of constant work and little social life I started to feel a bit better. I thought less and less about my ex, but was still not doing anything extraordinary with my life. From the outside looking in, my life seemed as normal as the next, but The Break Up had shook me up and I felt as though something was lacking in my life-but I didn’t know what.
It wasn’t until a busy Friday night at the restaurant that the answer finally revealed itself.
A man came up during service, saying he wanted offer me a job at another restaurant. Trying to talk to him over the crashing pans and mountains of orders that were stacking up was impossible. So I said I would chat to him at the end of service.
The job sounded great. Head chef position at a small 60 seater restaurant. The location?
On the Greek islands.
I gasped when he told me it was in Greece, but my expression must have also given away how excited I was to be offered this job. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. What I need to kick me into gear. To forget about her and start afresh.
Within a matter of weeks I had packed up my life, salvaged what money I had, farewelled family and friends and flew directly to the Greek Islands.
Living in the Mediterranean was a dream. The salty air and relaxed lifestyle. The parties. The women. It all seemed like everything was going right. I had convinced myself that travelling and living overseas for a while was exactly what I needed to get over her well and proper.
It seemed however, that it didn’t matter if I was halfway across the world on a small island. The Break Up seemed to follow me around. Not only did I think about my ex even more than I did back at home, I was not enjoying myself nearly as much as I should have been.
I soon realised that maybe the reason why I couldn’t wrestle her free from my mind, was the fact that I had never really got the closure I had needed in the first place. Once she broke up with me and I promised myself that was the last time, I dropped her out of my life so suddenly, I think it was too much of a shock to my system.
It was time to sort it out once and for all.
I bought a phone card and decided I had to call her. I was so nervous to hear her voice across the lines all the way from Australia, but we chatted for hours about our relationship. Why I just disappeared so suddenly after we broke up and really got down to the bottom of things. Even though on paper we seemed like the perfect couple, we really were not the right fit for each other.
As the conversation eventually ended and it really was the final goodbye, I felt the uneasiness that had been sitting in a knot in my stomach for so long start to fade away.
I don’t know why I hadn’t properly closed the doors in the first place when we did break up. Maybe I was too scared that it really was going to be the real thing. I had somehow convinced myself that if I slid it all under the carpet and forgot about her and travel halfway across the world then everything would be OK.
Although, taking the job in the Mediterranean, did make me realise that I needed to call her and pluck up the courage to sort things out, I don’t know if travelling to avoid problems really was the best thing to do. In hindsight, it really felt like I was just running way. Was I travelling for the wrong reasons? Is there a wrong reason to travel?
I don’t know.
What I do know, is that I am thankful for the working as a chef on the Greek Islands, as it opened my eyes up to a whole other world beyond my own creature comforts and existence.
I am currently in a wonderfully, fantastic relationship-engaged and soon to be married, travelling the world with my fiancee.
Right now I couldn’t be happier, it was in my earlier phase of relationships that I tended to run away from things around me. Now I can share and enjoy my travels with my fiancee Elise.
Anthony is one half of the dynamic duo at Positive World Travel. He is travelling the world on an indefinite journey sharing his experiences through HD video, photos and articles. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter for more of their travel updates.