Everyone has their unique ways of handling things, including going through grieving. Recently I realized, my special way of dealing with losing my late husband, was traveling. In fact, the more accurate way to say, was traveling alone.
Traveling alone was one of my coping mechanisms. You might think someone is crazy to take a trip right after a loved one dies, but if the journey is individual and spiritual, what better place than the open road to dive right in? Some of my deepest awakening moments of truth erupt in places that are not in my home. When I step outside of my comfort zone, it is just me and only me. I didn’t know what I was doing at first, but now I know, that’s one of the first steps in dealing with my grieving, to confront and face, and process.
My first solo trip started in March, 2017, less than two months after my late husband passed away. My destination was Hawaii. You can read all the troubles I had go through for this trip here and how I turned it around here. More awakening moments and all the influences after this trip here. This photo below, was the place I almost jumped into the ocean to escape my pain. I was with a tours group but kept distance with everyone. Later after this photo, I was just standing there and crying “We made it! Man, We made it!” That was the only time that I have ever thought about suicided. Despite all of the troubles, emotions, as the 3rd day in Hawaii, I felt a shift, an unlocking of some sort. For the first time since my man died I felt a twinge of freedom. It was good to know that I still have the ability to enjoy life, even when I was alone.
I realized that there was something to be appreciated about grief. It wasn’t just a sad place, but a strangely liberated place. In some ways it made me reckless, but only in that it erased all the little fears I’d always clung to about venturing out into the world. I went on a helicopter without any doors in Hawaii, that day was super windy and I felt many times that little chopper could just lost control and I die in the ocean. A tall couple from Australia sat behind me and the wife was crying the whole trip because of the fear. It turned out, I didn’t really care and I enjoyed it very much.
My mindset was, the worst had happened; there was nothing left to be afraid of. In the most thrilling way possible, none of it mattered anymore. I have never experienced this wild freedom before. So I went to Paris by myself in July, 2017 and that was about half year after I lost my man. It was my first international solo trip, everything went very smooth. I still remember that afternoon I sat outside of a bistro right next to Louvre Museum. It was a beautiful day, I was sipping on my wine, tasting foie gras and people watching. Suddenly I felt the complete peace came to my mind. Surrounded by all the languages that I don’t understand, my heart felt the quietness that I have never felt before. All the talking and noises were faded and the only things I saw, was beautiful life unfolding right before my eyes. At that moment, I felt nothing but pure happiness! No sorrow, no anger, no confusing. My man was not even in my head. It was the first joyful moment that I experienced without him.
Then a road trip to Canada, flight to LA and Fl. And a whole month in China, after that was Houston, then London, Paris, Barcelona and NYC. There were more and more pure joyful memories I have created without thinking of my man. These finally became my own trips.
Grieving is a lonely road and an isolating experience. It’s lonely and quiet and it’s easy to sink into. But all the traveling have reminded myself that there is a whole world out there still waiting on me to discover. My pain, is so small. It is just a little drop of rain to the ocean.
Photo credit: Grace Liang
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