Can Travel Heal You?
I love the book Eat, Pray, Love.
I think it’s a fantastic exploration of healing, travel, and heartbreak. It has inspired people to heal deeper, travel more, and live more fully.
But the movie version? Well the rom-com version of Eat, Pray, Love kind of makes it seem like healing can be tied up with a nice little bow. Like you can have a grand old time traveling the world while healing your heartbreak in perfect hair and makeup. Oh, and at the end, there will be a sexy, sexy Brazilian soulmate waiting for you.
Anyone who has embarked on a healing journey knows that it is hardly picture perfect. Throw travel into the mix and well, it can turn into a hot mess.
But people still want to know…
Can travel help me heal?
The answer is yes, but…
Yes, travel can help you heal, but probably not in the way you’re envisioning.
I’ve known a lot of people who felt like they were at an impasse in their lives. Maybe post breakup, just got fired from a job, or some other trauma. Their solution to their feelings of stagnation, fear, or heartbreak was to drop everything and travel. I’m not saying that travel isn’t the right decision in those situations, maybe it is. But travel is not going to be a balm for your wounds that helps you forget your troubles. Travel brings you face to face with the root of your trouble… yourself.
I talk to a lot of people who want to travel because they want to run away from their pain and their problems. Well, unfortunately, the Universe doesn’t let you run away from your problems.
Whatever you’ve been running from will show up again and again on the road.
That toxic boyfriend you left behind? You’ll meet him several more times, in very tempting packages. Your abandonment issues? You’ll see them every time you miss a flight or break away from a travel companion.
You can’t outrun your problems.
Guess why? Because you, my friend, are pretty much your only problem…
And the only solution. Even when life throws things at us that are outside of our control, it’s still up to us to heal the pain, shift our mindset, and manifest something different.
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
You can’t ever escape yourself. The only way to escape your patterns, your trauma, your relationships, is to face them, and to heal them. Travel wakes you up to this reality because no matter how far away you get from your old life, your problems keep showing up. That’s when the healing work really begins.
For me it took two years abroad before this reality set in. I couldn’t figure out why my problems kept showing up again and again despite my constant motion. I had always been a runner. From my problems, from my relationships, from myself. How many guys had run after me literally yelling, “You can’t keep running away from me!”
Once I realized that I was the problem and I was never really going to be able to outrun myself, I moved back to the US. The resources I needed for healing weren’t available to me where I was living, although nowadays the Internet has made almost any healing modality just a few clicks away.
Moving back was a really painful decision for me. It felt like a failure. I had to put my ego attachment to being a “traveler” aside in order to get myself the healing that I needed. I did hours and hours of hypnotherapy. I got certified as a theta healer and a spiritual life coach. I did acupuncture, reiki, yoga, and more. And the journey still isn’t over for me. I had to put the physical journey aside in order to take an internal one.
That being said, travel can be an incredibly powerful first step in your healing journey, even if it isn’t the ultimate solution.
Travel does give you the space to heal.
There are times when you might find that you want to heal, but the people around you are sabotaging that. It’s not that they don’t want you to heal, it’s that they are used to a version of you and they don’t want things to change. They might even lash out, “Who do you think you are?” “Wow, you’ve changed so much.” Especially the people who were able to take advantage of a weaker version of yourself. In that sense, travel takes you away from the routines, jobs, and people that have expectations of you, and don’t necessarily want you to do the healing work. Travel creates the space to heal, analyze your relationships, and become a new version of yourself.
What about past lives?
If you find yourself fixated on visiting one particular location, you might have experienced a powerful past life there. If you can’t shake the desire to go there, it’s a sign from your soul that you have some healing work to do around this particular past life. I would recommend working with a past life regression therapist to figure out what happened. Once you do that you may find that you still have an unbelievably strong desire to visit that location. At which point, I would recommend heeding the call. You might need to step into the physical energy of that spot to complete your healing.
Journal About It:
- Where do you want to visit? Why?
- What in your life do you want to leave behind?
- Do you ever have vivid dreams about a place you’ve never been?
- What part of your being is asking you to travel?