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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.
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.
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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