I met my ex-boyfriend, four years my junior and charmingly French, through a dating app where I live in San Diego. There was a kind of magic in our relationship that made you think, This is how it’s supposed to be.
We cooked together, snuggled on blankets in the grass, talked for hours, laughed often, and appreciated and hated all the same things. My friends loved him. A few months into our relationship he took me to Paris to meet his mother. life was good
But one day, after an unexpected betrayal, I had to break up with him. I burst into tears as I felt my future crumble in front of me. It sounds cliche, but I really thought he was “the one”. I called my friends and spent hours on the phone retelling the story. Everyone was shocked. They had often told me how lucky I was to have a man who so obviously adored me.
During one particular call, a friend perked up like she had the antidote to my grief.
“Come to Europe with us. We’re leaving next Friday.”
My first response was that I had no money, I couldn’t take extra time off, and there was no way my boss, who I worked for as a behavior analyst, would approve a six-day vacation.
As it turned out, I was wrong on all counts. My friends flight tickets were extremely affordable and still available, and when I called my boss to explain that I needed space to think personally and professionally, she said, “Go on.”
Without any excuses, I packed my bags and traveled to Greece for a week.
Three flights and almost 24 hours later we landed in Santorini. Our room had a balcony with a small bistro table overlooking the sea. As I stepped outside and looked down at the stunning blue and white shoreline, I thought, I can’t believe I almost missed this.
My friends and I hiked for hours along the coast to Oia, one of the most beautiful places on earth to watch a sunset. We shared wine and laughed with strangers. I discovered fried feta with lemon juice and other local dishes.
One morning I woke up early and went into town. As I stood on a cobblestone street, coffee in hand and camera strapped to my chest, I stopped and burst into tears. It was a combination of gratitude and happiness that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. There was also a sense of relief.
For most of my life I had told myself that in order to make traveling comfortable or even possible, I had to have a partner. I had also believed that being single past a certain age would make me unworthy.
I was 32 at the time, and many of my single friends and I have carried these worries with us for years. We’d stayed in relationships simply for the sake of companionship, looks, or to feel valued by society. Now, on this journey, we were three successful, happy, single women in our 30s who were defying our previous beliefs.
After a few days of peace and healing in Santorini, I was ready for an adventure. We have been island hopping to Mykonos and stumbled upon a hidden beach by a beautiful restaurant with hammocks and cabanas. While I was marveling at the beauty of this secret paradise, a man – 13 years my junior and former model – struck up a conversation.
“What brings you to Mykonos?” he asked.
“I suppose you could say I’m on some sort of heartbreak recovery mission,” I replied dryly.
“So it’s my job to make sure you have an adventure!” His response carried a real and endearing sense of responsibility.
We spent the night hopping along the shore, sipping champagne in a hot tub overlooking the island, and laughing like old friends until the sun came up.
At sunrise I returned to our hotel happy but shoeless, having abandoned my sandals to the sea the night before. With a feeling that I can only describe as childlike release, I walked out the back door of the hotel onto the beach and dove into the water, splashing with giddy amusement. Then I floated, stomach in the clouds, for what felt like an eternity – a final release from everything that lay behind me. I felt free.
Days before that moment I was distraught and heartbroken. Now, in a new country, in a completely different life, pure joy had taken over. I realized how quickly things can change, for better or for worse, which gave me a hope that has never waned. I started to marvel at how big the world is and how many of these moments I still had to experience.
While my trip to Greece was less eat, pray, love and more Cry, fly and make out with a model, it was still life-changing. I no longer seek validation or fulfillment from just one person – or in any area of my life for that matter. I know that I can rely on myself at any time and in any case. I now feel empowered to curate the life I want no matter who comes along.
Gianna Biscontini is the author of F***less: A Guide to Wild, Unencumbered Freedom. she is also a Behavioral scientist, lifestyle design coach and founder of cultural analysis company W3RKWELL.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
https://www.newsweek.com/i-had-terrible-breakup-holiday-cure-1735145 “I had a terrible breakup, then a trip changed everything”