How Solo Traveling Can Help You Heal After an Injury
An injury can take a major emotional toll on your well-being. And it’s no wonder: feeling out of sync with your body is impactful to your lifestyle. After an injury, it’s natural to feel confused and unsure of what to do next.
“Following an injury—no matter how minute or severe—you’ll of course want to take all the necessary steps to heal physically,” says Abel Law Firm, an Oklahoma City personal injury attorney. “This means seeking physical therapy and taking any necessary prescriptions. But there are also ways you should seek to heal mentally and emotionally.”
In addition to working with a therapist or taking meditation classes, travel is a great way to help you heal on an emotional and spiritual level. Before you book any trips, you should always check in with your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to travel, as well as participate in any activities you’re interested in while you’re away.
According to one study, after just three days of a trip, travelers feel more well-rested and in better spirits, even weeks after they’ve returned home. With that in mind, here are a few ways traveling can heal you after an injury:
Renew Your Independence
When you take a solo trip, one of the first things you’ll be blissfully and painfully aware of is that you’re alone. At first, you might be very lonely and have conflicting feelings about your journey. But with time, you’ll learn to strike the perfect balance between being alone and being in social environments. The time you spend with yourself will be just as treasured.
Without your friends or family or coworkers around you, you’ll have time to reflect on your experience up to this point. For better or worse, every decision you make during this trip will be wholly yours. And while you may not appreciate it at the time, you’ll soon come to realize how exhilarating this level of independence can be.
Make New Friends
Traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone the entire time. In fact, this is a great opportunity to put yourself out there and make new friends. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you can make friends on your own in another country. Of course, the biggest hurdle is finding friends to make. Approaching a potential friend or group of friends can feel daunting and intimidating, but think about it this way: would you rather spend an entire trip alone, or have one scary moment?
There are plenty of ways to make new friends abroad, too. Staying in hostels—especially those that host activities—is a great way to meet others. You’ll find that other travelers are much more accommodating than you’d think, and there are also plenty of other people traveling solo, too. You can also go on walking tours, pub crawls, cooking classes, take surfing lessons, and participate in tons of other activities to help you meet new people. Options are endless.
When you can leave a travel adventure with new friends under your belt, it can help heal you in ways you couldn’t have predicted. Meeting other people who come from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and speak different languages can help put your own life into perspective.
New Places Soothe You
When you start planning your trip, naturally you want to gravitate towards places that appeal to you. If you love the beach, countries in Southeast Asia might speak to your heart. If you love nature, mountains, and landscapes, a country like Iceland or Norway might do the same. The truth is, certain places touch our souls more than others. The breathtaking beauty of a place or the unwavering friendliness and happiness of local people can do wonders for your energy, leaving you feeling more healed than you could have imagined.
After an injury, it’s not surprising that you might feel in a creative rut. Even if your job isn’t necessarily in the creative industry, you might still find yourself struggling to be innovative in your daily life. For example, perhaps you want to declutter your kitchen and incorporate creative storage ideas, but don’t know where to start or how to execute some of the concepts you’ve researched.
According to Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor and author of numerous studies, “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.”
When you think about how much you see as a solo, undistracted traveler, it’s easy to see how this is possible. You’ll have plenty of time to look around and absorb your surroundings, noticing different things about a place and allowing yourself to submit to the experiences those places provide. Keep a journal, or sketch some of the things you see.