Back in 2018 I found myself lost, recovering from breakup. Anyone who has ever been through breakup will understand. It is not the best time in anyone's life, even if "everything happens for the best". It's like a part of you, that you shared with other person, was taken away from you, and now you are half full, half empty...
In my opinion, it is also the best time to step outside your comfort zone and do something you were afraid to do otherwise. Like... Travel to your dream country! Alone!
Sometimes it takes something terrible to happen in our lives to change our perspective. It only can get this bad until it starts becoming better.
Fear of loneliness
I knew my dream was to go to Iceland, and I also knew that it was very expensive and not the most popular place to travel to (at least back then). But I also knew that it was the best time for me to go, as nothing was stopping me from doing it: the person I trusted the most broke up with me, and for once in my life I had a great opportunity to do something for me.
Yes, the thought of going alone was terrifying, not so much because of safety reasons (Iceland is a pretty safe country), but because I knew it can get a bit lonely when you are completely alone. But the idea of not having any distractions, being one on one with nature, experiencing the beauty of this amazing land by myself was very attractive to me. So I found a place to stay, booked my flight and went...
Breaking free from fear
Being alone isn't as scary as it often seems. Standing there in the middle of nowhere, looking at the mighty ocean, listening to powerful waves hitting the shore, I didn't feel alone. I felt like a part of this universe - something we at times fail to feel. Nature is the only place where you can experience it. In fact, you don't need to fly 4 hours on the plane to achieve that. Any forest or park nearby will do as well. It is about silence, the ability to listen, the openness to connect and receive, being present in the moment.
Walking through the gloomy streets of Reykjavik (the capital of Iceland), I found myself home. Don’t get me wrong, I love sun and truly believe that sunny Iceland is not less beautiful, but there’s something special about that time of the year (May) when Iceland is melting from ice and slowly transitioning into summer. As weird as it sounds, I wanted to see that grey land, I wanted to feel the rain falling down on my face while I was walking along the ocean and I wanted to dive into my thoughts and discover more about myself while fighting the urge to feel lonely. I knew I could do it only if I was traveling alone.
You see, loneliness comes when you perceive yourself as a lonely person. There’s a huge difference between loneliness and aloneness, and the reason why we feel so lonely at times is because we don’t want to be alone with ourselves, we see it as something negative, we can’t listen to our inner voice, we refuse to look inside our hearts and minds and we are simply afraid to face our, maybe sometimes dark, real selves.
But real growth happens when you are able to look through the wilds of your own soul, when you can silence your mind and simply exist. Without judgement, without forcing yourself to feel a certain way or to be someone you are not.
I spent 3 days with my own thoughts, and you know what? It was honestly freeing.
Every day I was walking along the ocean, in the rain, through the wind, but completely happy. The last evening was very special. I was sitting on the bench waiting for the sun to set. It was beautiful, it was freeing. Freeing from thinking that I couldn't do anything alone, and freeing from a need to be always on a go, constantly busy, having no time. There, in the presence of sunrise, I found value in silence and contentment.
Did I feel lonely? Of course, I did! There were times I felt miserable, but on the other hand that trip taught me a good lesson: how to appreciate others without taking them for granted and how to appreciate myself, as I am the only one who will stay with me until my last breath.
Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for that trip. Diving into yourself is never easy but it makes you stronger. It teaches you how much you crave someone’s company but at the same time how incredibly independent human beings can be.