"Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination or forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing." - August Wilson
Like most travel bloggers, I have been completely shocked by the tragic news of the death of fellow travel blogger Anita Mac. Anita Mac, the vibrant face behind the popular travel blog Travel Destination Bucket List, took her own life.
Oftentimes, the life of a world traveler appears to be glamorous and enviable on the outside. Their amazing stories of traveling the world are full of adventure, travel and beautiful photos from surreal places. Their lives seem so wonderful and happy and fun. Yet what is said to the outside world may be completely different than what is really happening inside. On the outside they may seem to have it all, but on the inside they may be falling apart, bleeding, hurting, and suffering in silence.
Although I never met Anita, for some reason the news of her suicide has made me think deeply about the real reasons behind why we travel. Of course, there are many reasons why we travel. We travel to relax, to have fun, to experience adventure, to see the world, to spend time with family and friends and to get away from it all. Yet have we ever taken a hard look at the real reasons we are traveling sometimes? Have we ever realized that sometimes we are using travel too much as an escape, to the point where it can become dangerous?
Throughout my life, I will admit that I have been guilty of using travel as an escape during hard times. Most likely we all have to some degree. So what is it we are exactly trying to escape? Unfortunately, our lives. We want an escape from the daily grind of a life of routine. Escape from the devastation of a broken heart or major disappointment. Escape from things we don't want to necessarily face back at home like a serious illness, a death, a divorce, or a layoff. Escape from something we cannot change.
Travel is an escape. The further you go off the beaten path, the easier it is to forget. Yet traveling for the wrong reasons and not facing your demons in your life can be dangerous. You always have to come home at the end of a trip. Although you may forget about your struggles and pain while you're having the time of your life half way around the world, it is important to have a good, happy place to come back to. An inner peace with your life at home and on the road.
People may never know why such a young, vibrant woman who appeared to have it all took her own life. Yet her tragic passing has been an eye-opening experience for many to take a look at their own lives and happiness. I know it has for me.
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