It's a theme we see time and time again; heartbroken women head abroad to get back on the dating horse. Julia Roberts did it in "Eat Pray Love," Diane Lane found some Italian sausage (as the movie so delicately put it) in "Under the Tuscan Sun" and Stella got her groove back in Jamaica.
There's just something about a new place and a fresh start that can really rehabilitate someone after an unexpected heartbreak.
I had one such experience in the summer of 2011. I was just getting over a bad breakup, hadn't dated anyone in over a year and had thrown myself into my studies. I had become a hermit, going from work to school to my house without any desire to do much else.
There I was, in the prime of my life, wasting my time pining over lost love and reliving past mistakes, when suddenly, I got the opportunity to go to Sydney, Australia for eight weeks.
I didn't have all the finances figured out and my housing situation was touch-and-go for the first week there, but I knew this wasn't an opportunity I could pass up. I said yes right away and resolved to make it all work later on. And somehow, I did.
It all came together beautifully, right down to the seat next to me being empty on the flight from San Francisco to New Zealand, allowing me to spread out and get comfortable on my first 16-hour flight.
That trip changed my life. I left as a defeated, self-doubting girl and returned a worldly, independent woman. I survived on my own across the literal world, with everyone I knew being a daylong flight or very expensive phone call away.
I truly felt alone for the first time in my life, and while it was terrifying at first, it was incredibly freeing. Suddenly, my past problems felt worlds away, like they belonged to a different person. Distance does wonders for clearing your mind and helping you keep your problems in perspective. With my burdens left at home, I was free to start living again.
I had an incredible journey, filled with wild, reflective and thankful moments. I made friends of all backgrounds and national origins. I met a koala and a kangaroo.
I rode on a motorcycle for the first time, I attended a soccer game in the middle of the continent with a group of 10 or so new friends and even met the team afterwards. I was given free VIP concert tickets by a world-renowned bassist I met while eating the closest thing I've ever had to authentic Japanese dumplings.
Really, my list is never ending. I could fill a book with the adventures I had in just two short months. If this sounds like something that interests you, I have good news: The world is waiting for you to write your own story; you just have to be willing to take that leap.
In case you need a some more convincing, here are five reasons why you should go abroad to get your groove back:
1. You can be exotic for once
An American accent may not sound like much to you, but you will definitely stand out anywhere else in the world, even places where English is a primary language.
People will know you're an American and while that carries with it a certain amount of infamy, people will definitely be curious about you. For once, even if you're hailing from the middle of nowhere, you, too, can be exotic.
2. No one knows you
It's refreshing to be around people who don't know your life story, have no idea what your ex's name is and are simply getting to know the you that you choose to present.
You don't have to be held back by your past. You can go by your middle name, pretend to be a fancier version of who you are and even change your habits.
It's just for a short time, so you may as well take advantage and be who you always wanted to be.
3. You have an excuse to attend random meet-ups
Ever wanted to attend a random tour in your home city but never had anyone with whom to go? Nervous about going places alone, for fear of looking lame? While you're traveling, you have an excuse.
You can do whatever you want, from scuba diving to indie movie festivals, and can make friends along the way.
4. You will always be in need of a local tour guide
Similarly, you can use your newbie card to recruit tour guides. No one knows a city like a local and you'll be surprised by how many cute guys happily volunteer to show you around. Just keep your wits about you; douchebags exist in every country.
5. Magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone
It requires courage to try something new, especially if you're in a vulnerable state and want to retreat into the comforts of familiarity. But, fortune favors the bold.
Take a chance, put yourself out there and let something new into your life. It could be the best thing that ever happens to you.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It