HOW TO HEAL FROM HEARTBREAK Life Can Take Its Toll on Many: Here’s How to Bounce Back from Distressing Circumstances
By Sheryl Nance-Nash
n August 10, 1998, Christopher Novak’s 37year old pregnant wife was driving home from work when a man high on drugs ran a stop sign at high speed and killed her. They had a 9-year-old son, Ryan, whose life, like his, was devastated by the tragedy. “One of the ways I helped him move forward was to travel together. We went on trips to Europe to see my wife’s family, we traveled across the USA to see historical areas, getaway weekends to parks or beaches, and cross-country trips to see my family. We were always planning our next trip and that helped to keep the focus on future events and not past sadness,” says Novak. The trips bonded both father and son. Says Novak, “Travel did not erase the pain of our loss, but it helped us function in our grief.”
In 2012, James Kell went from being the CEO of a $200 million business, to being without a company, with no idea about what to do next. “I found a small sailboat that was crossing the Atlantic, that needed a crew. I signed up.” He took a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now and his camera and studiously lived in the present. “That six-week trans-Atlantic adventure on a small boat was the most effective “emotional reset” button I could have found,” says Kell.
HOW TO EXPLAIN THE POWER OF TRAVEL? “It removes you from the physical location of the loss, trauma and stressors. It acts as a distraction,” says Erica Wiles, a licensed professional counselor who writes about mental health for EffortlessInsurance. com. “Travel gives you the space needed to mentally and emotionally begin the healing process.” She says you also make new memories that combat the pain of loss or trauma. “Travel can be powerfully healing, especially during major life events, because it helps give you something to look forward to and reduces stress,” says Emma Donovan, a psychotherapist and coach. Being exposed to new ways of life and opening your eyes and heart to the beliefs and experiences of others can build your emotional intelligence and strengthen your emotional stability. “This helps your own healing process because it puts things into perspective and builds your sense of compassion and empathy,” says Sarah Rose De Vore, a travel coach and founder of The Travel Coach Network.
PACK UP WITH PURPOSE People turn to travel for much deeper reasons than simply taking a vacation. They seek something they lack in mind, body, or soul. Some hit the road after losing a loved one, experiencing a breakup or divorce, or when they feel lost or confused about purpose in their lives. Travel can help with clarity.
“Travel can be powerfully healing, especially during major life events, because it helps give you something to look forward to and reduces stress”