It may seem that taking a trip after losing a loved one is the least appropriate thing to do, there are no rules to grieving. No one should judge your choice to do something new. The guilt you might feel at having fun after such a loss can make you reluctant to do anything that could make you smile.
An important part of the grieving process is telling yourself that it’s ok to move forward.
For some, staying in a familiar routine and having friends and family close at hand is a source of comfort. For others, you may need something entirely different. When you lose someone very close to you, going to places alone that you used to do together, can make your loss seem more profound, it can also be a source of comfort.
It’s not about forgetting the person you’ve lost; it’s about allowing yourself to remember the good times and celebrate their life.
“Travelling after bereavement is gifting yourself the opportunity to find your way back to you.”
When you’re ready for it, time spent travelling can allow you to pinpoint what’s important to you in your new life landscape, reset your priorities and come back better equipped to deal with your new circumstances.
“Pick the right trip and the right companions”
Travel surrounds you with unfamiliar places, experiences and people. The most complicated thing to do each day could be simply deciding what to do, giving you the time and space you need to openly grieve. Travel is also exhausting, in a good way. Chances are you’ll fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow every night. And surrounding yourself with strangers, rather than well-meaning friends and family, can be surprisingly liberating when it comes to talking through complicated feelings – or not talking them through, that’s entirely up to you.
If you’ve lost your partner in life, be wary of booking a group tour where you might be the only person travelling alone. However, if you book a women’s only tour chances are you won’t be the only one traveling alone. Whenever possible we like to do a get-together before a group tour so that you can meet the other ladies in the group.
Travel after bereavement isn’t just about who you go with. It’s worth thinking carefully about where you go too.
Travelling to a new place, allows you to create new memories and experiences separate from the person you have lost.
When you travel with a group, you don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to.
After losing my husband of 40 years I was lost, we had always travelled together. I realized that I was only going to familiar places or to places where I had friends. So I decided, to go to a country where I had never been before, that first trip was Ireland. And there I was standing totally alone on the top of a cliff overlooking a beautiful peninsula with stunning landscapes and I cried and cried because I had no-one to share it with and that evening I felt so lonely.
Then somebody asked me later what the most beautiful moment of my trip was, I realized it was that moment standing on the top of that cliff overlooking the landscape below. That realization for me was a turning point in my bereavement. So I continue traveling both alone and with others.
This isn’t about setting down your grief and moving on without it. It’s about allowing yourself the time and space to just be with your loss, getting used to that feeling until you find a bearable way to carry it forward with you in life.