First loves are intense; there’s passion, joy and the overwhelming certainty that it will last forever. Unfortunately, for 75% of Brits that’s not the case. In my case, as quickly as my life became filled with love, it came crashing down around me and I was stuck with the realisation that I was working 50 hours a week in a poorly paid internship, pushing away my friends and avoiding leaving the house on the off-chance I’d run into my ex.
When I got given the opportunity to move to Italy for five months the thought was pretty terrifying, but after countless breakdowns and tantrums I upped sticks and left my comfort zone. Some may call it “running away from your problems”, but I’m here to tell you why moving abroad after a breakup can be a life-changing experience:
You learn to love yourself
Breakups can be shattering. Questioning what you did wrong and re-running situations in your head can lead to a lot of self-hatred and insecurities. But when you’re forced to find your feet in a new country, you can often find yourself along the way. To build a new life and make new friends you subconsciously have to reflect on yourself. What are your passions? What inspires you? What are you talented at? And eventually you’ll come to realise you’re pretty darn great by yourself.
Making new friends is hard - but worth it
When I arrived in Italy, I decided to push myself to make meaningful connections with the people around me. Sometimes getting out of bed and into social situations feels like an impossible task, but in reality once you’re there you can find a group of like-minded people from across the world. For me, exploring Europe with my new mates gave me memories that will last forever and my life suddenly didn’t seem that bleak after all.
You'll gain a new perspective on life
Sometimes the hardest lesson we can learn is that *gasp* the world doesn’t revolve around us. Experiencing new cultures and meeting new people allows us to see situations in another way; my Spanish friend’s family orientation made me realise how important my own family are to me; my Dutch friend’s relaxed attitude taught me to take things as they come. I discovered that, sure, my breakup was hard, but it shouldn’t define me.
You realise how lucky you are
Every place has their own problems, but often when you’re living somewhere for a long time you become a little immune to them. Travelling allows you to see the good about other countries, but also the bad. You will witness how hard some people have it, and how they can still lead a very happy life. Hmm, perhaps my breakup isn’t the end of the world after all.
Sometimes a bit of sun makes everything better
My final point is a little more scientific. Sunlight has a direct correlation to your body’s ability to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects happiness. So being more inclined to go on walks, visit the beach and see the sights when you’re in a new country actually naturally helps with your mood.
They say running away from your problem solves nothing; I say it sure gives you the tools to deal with them.