Travel

We Broke Up. So What’s Next?

I’ve had a weird few months, really weird. If life was a rollercoaster like they say the past two months has been one of those free fall drop rides where you’re in the same place but going up and down, so much you feel sick and you lose your stomach somewhere in between. It’s not always the ride that makes you feel sick either, it’s the anticipation that as soon as you’re up, any second you’re going to come hurtling back down again without warning. 

At the start of April my boyfriend and I split up. I’m not going to go into into it, too soon, too painful, but let’s just say it wasn’t my choice.

After an incredible five years together of travelling and living in the same house for four of them it’s been hard to readjust to single life again. Not even the single life at 24 when we met, but the single life at 29 where every second weekend is filled with some kind of wedding-related activity, and anyone not getting married is preparing to pop a sprog. Except in London of course – a city where everything else is on the move except for any self respecting Londoner’s desire to grow up.

It feels pretty blummin lonely.

Travel break up

Of course, I’m very happy for my friends and love a good wedding / hen party / big day discussion, but I don’t love when it turns on me. At a recent hen party the bridesmaids had got some naked butlers round – so good so far. A few drinks later and one of the butlers asked us who here was single. Obviously I tried to shrink back into the sofa as far as I could go – I’d been certified single three weeks at this point – but one over excited friend outed me. Just me. In that room of around 15 girls aged 26 to 34 I was the only one. I felt like shit.

From living in a family home on Abbey Road with the guy I thought I’d be with forever, I’m now in a basement room in Vauxhall. It’s amazing how all the stupid break up songs start to make sense.

The thing is though it’s not like I was even thinking to get married before, or ready to want children. I guess I just thought it would happen in the not too distant future, like it has for everyone else. Now that choice has been taken away though, and the opportunity is even further in the distance, it’s time to act on what I did used to always think about; travel.

Without warning the opportunity is right in front of me and I’m grabbing it.

I’m going travelling.

I’ve handed in my notice at work, I’m busy selling my few valuable worldly possessions on eBay and giving the rest to Cancer Research, and I’m full on planning the next year of my life to go to all the destinations I’ve ever dreamed about.

I’m totally free of any contracts or obligations to anyone and thanks to the previous plan of saving for a house together, I’ve got a bit of cash in the bank too.

Talking to a few friends about the past, present and future, relationships and life, I know I could actually be seen to be in an enviable position at 29 years old. I’m completely free and I feel it’s my duty to make the most of it.

Bridget in the bathOne minute I’m wallowing in self pity – I’m sure you can imagine the sort – why does no one love me? / I’m so alone / what’s wrong with me? etc. More than a few times over the past weeks I’ve pictured myself as Bridget Jones in the bath scene looking out staring at the wall as Gabrielle plays in the background. At times I’ve felt breathlessly alone, overpowered by what’s happened, and all I can do to regain control is to suppress it with thoughts of travel as soon as possible.

Then the next, I’m crazy excited about my trip. I cannot wait. I have no idea where I’ll be physically or emotionally in the next three months, let alone a year. That may scare some people but it excites me intensely. I’ve always got bored of things and circumstances quickly – my nan always used to laugh at me for it. To be honest I’m genuinely amazed I managed to have a relationship for 5 whole years and stayed in London for 6.

Now is the time to do exactly as I please. When I look back I realise I’ve lost a bit of me. Lost some of my passion for life, independence and for being confident in that independence.

I’ve fantasised about doing this trip for years, but never actually thought it would happen, and definitely not by myself. The reason I stayed in London was to be together, to buy a house, like a good little Game of Lifer. But I’ve been thrown a curve ball, a huge one.

I could mope about.

Devalue myself to carry on like everything is ok. Or I could take the shock, the rejection, the dismissal and the deep hurt and try and turn it around to make my life better. I’m still devastated, but moping about at home vs distracting myself with the world, and the latter wins.

Who knows what will happen to either of us but all I need to be able to say is that ‘I did what was right at the time’ – my favourite saying – and this is. It’s time to move on. I’ve got a really exciting few months planned and with the help from my incredible family and friends, and the right attitude, I hope I can come out from all of this a tougher, healthier and happier person.

Next stop: a week in Rhodes with my best friend.

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37 Comments

  1. I don’t know how you could possibly get any tougher but I’m sure you’ll come out of this happier and healthier. You’re going to have the most incredible few months/years/however long.
    I’m genuinely can’t wait to read about all your upcoming travels and adventures.
    I love your honesty in the post and I think a breakup is what inspires a lot of people to travel. I’m sure there are so many people who are insanely jealous right now!

    • Thanks Mon, yeah from talking to a few people over the last few weeks splitting up with someone is definitely a catalyst for travel. I guess it’s a great time to get out there and do everything you ever wanted without having to think about anyone else, which is exactly what I’m going to do!

  2. I love your attitude about it! I can’t imagine how painful that must feel, but it’s great that you have some exciting adventures to look forward to now :-)

  3. Wow. I’ve read this and can relate 100%. My boyfriend of 5.5 years broke up with me at the end of last year. I’m still devistated and can’t talk about it. After a month I thought ‘screw it’ and applied for a working holiday visa for Australia.
    Now I’m off to the US and Canada for 3 weeks in November followed by however long I want in Auz. I’ve never been so free.
    Travel is a great distraction from a ripped out heart and I can’t wait!
    I can’t wait to see your travel adventures. X

    • Hey Helen, that sounds awesome! I’m glad both of us are using it as a springboard to get out there. I’m sure there are lots of people who just sit at home wishing back for what they had. There comes a time when you just have to accept it was in the past and you won’t get back what you had, not with that person anyway. I hope you have a great time on your travels. This is the start of bigger and better things!

  4. I am so sure you are going to have THE greatest time of your life. The way you wrote about this particular moment – how brave and honest you were – shows that you have courage… and this is all what takes to discover who you truly are and where you want to be.

    Really looking forward to reading all of your adventures!

  5. Hey Vickie,
    Great News!!!!
    One door closes so other can open. It is most obvious to anyone who has been reading your blog for a while what that other door is. I think the price of freedom with travel in its truest form, is that it is best done solo. Occasionally you can feel alone and yet have people all over the world who care. The new and ever CHANGING stimulation to the senses when, “On the Road”, soon kills the “Blues”. One has the tendency to engages much more closely with the local variation of humanity and, I guess, the bottom line is, it is FUN! We all laugh sing and cry.
    If you are going for the “long haul”, and it definitely sounds like you are, it is really a simple equation:-
    Length of Time travelling = $Available / ($Transport + $Taxes + $Accomodation + $Daily Food). Paid commercial entertainment is optional but not necessary.
    There are only 3 ways to increase the length of time. The first, but not necessarily the most important, is, more $Available. Second, the other side of the coin is minimisation of outgoing $$$. Not always instant solution easy, but more of a learning process of a new way of life. It can be very down to earth and enjoyable without costing great lots of money. The last way is in the last paragraph. Don’t jump down!
    The greatest travel rewards I have had have come from people. Engage with them, not your travel mate, and they will open doors to new worlds on a whole different level to that experienced in a few short hectic days or weeks in a foreign culture.
    Vickie, you have the most amazingly powerful arrow in your quiver. You are an experienced, well published, writer/journalist, who I most enjoy reading. The world is your oyster. Go get it.
    I am really excited for You, and the stories that have yet to be written.
    Bob
    It is not the Destination, but the Journey that is important.

    • Hey Bob, thank you so much for your comment and supportive words. I’ve had to screenshot the last part to keep as inspiration when I’m feeling a bit low :) I agree that I’ll be much more open to things as a solo traveller and I’m looking forward to all the opportunities and interaction this brings. I definitely need to scale back on my way of life – I’ve gotten used to having a fixed salary at the end of the month! Thanks again Bob, and thanks for enjoying my words.

  6. This is such a well written and honest post and I think you are absolutely doing the right thing.

    Sometimes we are stopped from going down one path. It can be pretty earth shattering but using it to reflect on life and free yourself and do something different is just the best way to move forward. You will undoubtedly find travel and other opportunities you hadn’t thought about. At 29, you could also get a working holiday visa for Canada/NZ/Australia if you wanted! I know you will use this opportunity well and I’m really excited for you.

    Go for it, enjoy, and make sure your friends see this post!

    Gemma
    http://fleetingplanet.blogspot.co.uk

    • Hi Gemma, thanks for your comment and support. I hadn’t thought of Canada actually! I can’t wait to get out there and get travelling. Who knows what exciting opportunities are waiting for me!

  7. Jason batt says:

    Hope things get better Rhodes is amazing just got back loved it take sunblock though lol

  8. Hi Vicky,

    I can totally relate to what you are saying. It is hard to move on when you see everyone else settling down.

    At 30 I quit my job and went travelling (and still am) – hence the name of the blog. I was not dating or getting married like so many of my friends so I decided to go and see more of the world.

    Travelling is a great way to meet others and form a new group of friends with similar interests.

    • Hey Juliana, thanks for your message. Just checked out your blog – looks like you’ve been to a fair few places! Thanks for your support – I need it!

  9. Hi Vicky,

    I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now but I know that in times when I’ve been feeling low, moving to a different country/going on an extended trip has 100% changed my perspective and given me the space to make me feel better. I’m sure it will do exactly the same for you!

    I’ve just discovered you blog and will look forward to reading about your travels :)

    Good luck! x

    • Thanks for your comment Eleanor. I’m sure my travelling will be the best thing for me in the long run, just feels weird now. It’s all happened so quickly! Thanks for your support. x

  10. I can definitely relate to this and wholeheartedly agree that travel is definitely a healer when it comes to break-ups. For me, it was less about the travel experiences and more about completely removing myself from the city where “it” happened. I would walk into bars in Auckland (where I was travelling/working at the time) and feel myself shrinking into corners, just in case I saw him…or later….him and her.

    I basically just wanted to be…away.

    I think you’re being really brave, and strong, although I’m sure there are also times when you feel the complete opposite of brave and strong.

    You’re going to have such an incredible time, and (however strong you feel) taking a leap of faith is always a brave thing to do. Especially when you’re leaving ‘security’ in London.

    Can’t WAIT to read about your adventures in the next few months :)

    • Thanks Beverley x Yeah, I’m kind of looking forward to leaving London because of that. He was 5 of my 6 years here so I guess it will always be tied to that. Hopefully if I do come back it will be with a fresh mind and point of view. Thanks for your support and I know it was really hard for you with your ex boyfriend. Relationships are hard man!

  11. What a brave lady you are for sharing something so personal on the blog but a blog is nothing without honesty right? You explained your situation so rawly it made me want to cry but then I felt your bravery too and am so genuinely excited for what you’ll see and do around the world in the next few months. Have an awesome adventure and thanks for being an inspiration for girls like us whose wanderlust will never wane xx

    • Thanks Jayne, yeah feels pretty weird to have it all out there, but I’m on to the next stage of my life now. Looking forward to going travelling and exploring my next adventure. Just like you! x

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  13. Hey Vicky, so sad to hear about your relationship break down but I found this post really inspiring as I am in the exact same situation! My boyfriend and I have just broken up after 2 and a half years after doing 3 years long distance whilst at University and now that I’m finally home, we’re no longer together when I was ready to give him another chance.

    But, like you, I am now so motivated to get my blog sorted and get traveling, and my one year trip has now become a two year (and then some) trip. My sister and her boyfriend have broken up this year as eel so she’s coming with me! We don’t need no man :p

    I wish you all the best on your travels! Where are you looking at going?

    • Ha, we definitely don’t need no man! Sorry to hear about you and your boyfriend too – we’re just too good for them :) Hope you’re ok.

      I’ve got a few things planned. Expect a detailed post on where I’m off to, very soon! xx

  14. I honestly can’t think of a better way to respond to a breakup. You’re so strong not to sit about moping but instead grabbing life by the horns and creating something positive. You’re going to have the time of your life while travelling, really looking forward to following along. Now you’re free to create a life that makes you happy, and that’s an exciting place to be :)

    • Aw, thank you Charlie. That’s a really lovely message. I feel I owe it to you all to have an absolutely awesome time, so I will!

  15. Good for you girl! Sometimes plans change and while the unknown can be extremely scary it can also be the best fun EVER! I was a similar situation which spurred me on to quit it all grab my backpack and go off alone, as well as starting to blog about it all, I hope you look back and realise what a great opportunity you were given and all is not lost. Katy x

    • Ha, love the name of your blog Katy! I kind of know deep inside that it’s going to be awesome, just feels like a big step in a short amount of time right now. Thanks for your message and support. xx

  16. What an incredibly honest post. I admire your courage in both dealing with a difficult time with such resilience and being open enough to share it here – which I’m sure will inspire and provide strength to so many others going through an equally difficult time. I hope your upcoming adventure will give you the even more strength, confidence and plenty of laughs and happy times to help you move forward. I’m a new reader of your blog and will definitely be keeping abreast of your upcoming posts! Enjoy Rhodes :)

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  19. Vicky you’ve made absolutely the right decision to go travelling and use the break-up as a trigger for your trip. Who knows what will happen to you on your travels, and maybe in a the future you’ll look back and think thank god you did break up and set off on your adventure, otherwise X and Y wouldn’t have happened. I always find hindsight is a glorious thing, but I am very sure everything will work out just perfectly for you in the end! I can’t wait to hear where you’re headed and see what you get upto, good luck! x

  20. OMG. I feel like the worst friend in the world. I’ve been out of the loop so long, I didn’t even know this had happened. I’m so sorry. It’s great to hear you’re making the most of your independence and travelling. I can’t wait to hear about your plans. As Mon says, you’re such a strong person I’m sure you’ll channel any negative thoughts into positive outcomes. I’m sending my love from NZ xxx

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