How To Deal With Grief While Travelling

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How To Deal With Grief While Travelling

Your travelling having an amazing time and suddenly you get that awful phone call or Facebook message saying a close family relative or friend has passed away unexpectedly.  Your heart drops, you shake and all you feel like you want to do is hop on a plane and get back home to your comforts.  Sometimes different situations allow us to do so but others don’t and we have to stay travelling due to money, flight timetables and time.

Grief is something everybody deals with differently and your understanding of it will change as you get older.  Unfortunately for me, I had to deal with it far too young when I lost my mother at 15 years old unexpectedly.  There’s not one answer for how to act when someone passes away and grief comes in many different forms.  I had an uncle who passed away when I was overseas and it was awful but I also think grief never fully goes away as still to this day I deal with grieving over my mother and it will never stop.

As I said earlier there’s not one answer as to how you should deal with grief.  There are however steps that can help you in your time of need so I would like to share how I deal with grief while travelling.

How To Deal With Grief While Travelling

Reach out

One of the most important things you should do is to reach out to someone.  Just because you’re travelling doesn’t mean you have nobody to talk to.  Skype a close friend or your family and just tell them how you’re feeling.  It’s so important to reach out and ask for help otherwise how is anybody meant to help you.  If you can’t reach somebody instantly due to connectivity issues then grab a piece of paper and a pen and write it down to send to someone later on.  Even getting your concerns out on paper will hopefully ease them in your mind.


Find a quiet place

One of the beautiful things about travelling is finding quiet and deserted places around the world.  Whatever country, city, town that you are in go for a walk and find one of those spots.  Take a pen and your travel diary or a bit of paper with you and write or just simply doodle.  If you have one of those colouring books then great!  Whip that out and just relax and de-stress for a bit by yourself.



It is scientifically proven that exercising releases happy endorphins in your brain.  Exercise won’t make it all go away but it will make a huge difference to your headspace and how you deal with things.  It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous even a brisk walk should do the trick.  The best thing I found is listening to an uplifting podcast while I walk.  My favourite ones are from Elizabeth Gilbert and I also listen to a lot of business/life advice type ones too.


Take time out for yourself

Make it a ‘you day’.  Pamper yourself!  If you’re in Asia go get a massage or grab a good book and head to the beach.  Do whatever you would like to do that you know will take your mind off your current situation.  Even head to the local café for a treat, completely get off social media and just do what you know makes you happy.

How To Deal With Grief While Travelling

 Tick something off your bucket list

Chances if you’re reading my website you probably have an interest in travelling!  Think about why you love to travel.  Personally, I love to experience, see and learn new things or some call it a bucket list.  I don’t even bother keeping an actual list anymore because these days it’s gotten too large to keep track of it.  Go and tick something off your list and do something you have always wanted to do.


Remember its okay to have a bad day

Not every day has to be sunshine, rainbows and lollipops.  You are actually allowed to be sad if you want to be.  Just don’t let it ruin you for days on end.  Just have one bad day and the next move on to being happy and focusing on your health and wellbeing.  You may be going through some pain but that pain will ease as time goes on, it will just take time.


Grief is a horrible thing but unfortunately everyone will probably have to go through it once in their lifetime and maybe even when you are on your backpacking adventure.  Travelling has helped me with my grieving in a massive way.  It helped me get out of my comfort zone when all I feel like doing is giving up.  The most important lesson I learnt from my mum’s death is life is short.  She was only 52 years old.  Make the most of every experience.  Don’t wait around for something to knock on your door because until you get out and make the decision for yourself nothing is going to happen.  Live life, experience all you can and learn from the cultures and people all around the world.


Happy travels and stay positive wherever you are.


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How To Deal With Grief While Travelling

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  • Reply
    July 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great post! This is something that I haven’t read yet on other people’s blogs. First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. Losing your mum at 15 must have been terrible 🙁
    I lost my best friend a while ago. I wasn’t away on my travels then yet. But I struggled with grief for almost two years. I think it took me so much time because I didn’t have time to grief and I didn’t know how to express it. My then husband wasn’t very understanding. I was also ashamed of my grief, which made it even worse. Now I know that you need to let your feelings out until you feel empty inside and let yourself heal. There is time for everything, also for grief.
    Plus, I think it’s better to cry and let the saddness out then pretend you’re tough and you’ll be fine.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Hi, I found this really interesting as I to am dealing with grief. I recently lost my dad just after Christmas last year and I still with the reality of it everyday. Originally I was meant to come to Australia in January but there was no way I could do that after losing my Dad. So I put it off and decided to come in March instead. It was the right decision to make but sometimes I do worry that it was too soon after my Dad’s passing. I just want you to know that you are not alone and it’s also nice to know that I’m not alone as sometimes it feels this way. Thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    LeAnna Brown
    July 23, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    When I recently had a miscarriage, travel was kind of a soul saver for me. It allowed me to get out into nature (hiking, relaxing on the beach, etc) which I now realize my psyche needed as part of the process to emotionally heal.

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      August 3, 2016 at 3:02 am

      Aw, I’m sorry to hear that. Travel seems to be the best medicine in my opinion. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Marlene Marques
    July 24, 2016 at 2:33 am

    Very interesting post. It’s definitely a topic that I’ve never seen addressed before. Good advices.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2016 at 3:30 am

    You have some good information here. We have thought about this quite a bit as my parents and my wife’s parents are getting quite a bit older. I am not sure how we will ultimately end up dealing with the eventuality of someone close to us dying, I would thing if it is a parent we will have to go home I really don’t see an alternative. I guess we will cross that bridge when it comes.

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      August 3, 2016 at 2:59 am

      Thanks for reading. It’s definitely a difficult subject to talk about but one that does need to be openly discussed!

  • Reply
    Danik the Explorer
    July 23, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I haven’t come across anything like this in a blog before. Great arcticle and its something I have not come across yet.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Very important information. Dealing with grief is certainly an aspect of traveling that most people, including myself, don’t really think about. Being far away and not being able to hop in a car and be there in 30 minutes is hard. My wife and I are most likely moving to China in January, and with our parents getting older, that kind of distance between us and our families will be probably the biggest challenge.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Great post Anita! Thankfully, I have not had any problems with my close ones during travels. I’m quite an emotional person, so I think I would panic and then do everything in my power to go back…
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Carly Moore (@girloutofbounds)
    July 25, 2016 at 5:35 am

    These are good tips. I lost a family member while I was on the other side of the world in Thailand. It’s awful feeling so helpless and not being able to be with your family when you/they need to be together.

  • Reply
    evan kristine
    July 25, 2016 at 7:24 am

    I couldn’t agree more about this and thank you for sharing. Last year I lost someone close to me, very close, and it has been a whole year of rollercoaster after that. Time is the only medicine really, but traveling to beautiful places helps a lot.

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      August 3, 2016 at 2:42 am

      Yes travelling seems like a great distraction. Thanks for reading ?

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I had to return home from Iceland recently because my dad got hit by a car. It all went quick and I was home before I knew it. I wrote a blog on the way home because I wanted to share my emotions but I haven’t published it yet, I first want my dad to get better … I know these things happen when you travel roughly one third of the year but they still make me sad and sometimes even feel a bit guilty …

  • Reply
    July 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I also haven’t seen a post like this, and very good advice as well.
    Travel was my escape after I lost my grandma and lost someone while I was away too. Both are hard and some of the advice here is exactly what I think a lot of people need.
    Great post!

  • Reply
    Vicki Mattingly
    August 5, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    My mother passed away last year when I was in Spain on vacation. It was especially hard because I had planned to see her in just 2 weeks when I returned to the U.S. Although she was older and had been quite sick for a while, the suddenness was unexpected. It was hard knowing that I was out of the country and was dealing with guilt of being on vacation and not at home near her. But spending the day before I could fly home taking some quiet time in a cathedral (after spending several hours canceling all my travel plans for the rest of the trip) helped.

  • Reply
    Footpath of Life
    October 12, 2016 at 3:05 am

    … this is really great and thank you for such a post. We always see just the positive stuff. I will do walking my http://www.footpath-of-life.com around the world which is based on grief, th suicide of my partner and I know I will have from time to time my breakdowns. Hope I will remember what you wrote. Greetings Mario

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