I’ve always been interested in travel. Seeing new cities, tasting new cultures, and experiencing new languages is an invigorating experience for me. I’ve been on a few journeys, and each and every one of these travels had a positive impact on my spirit.
In December 2014, I went to Istanbul with family and friends. That time marked the end of the year I suffered losses, both personally and professionally. I had dreams to build a family with a man, shattered after a nasty breakup. I had dreams of advancing in my career, blown away with a management decision to shut down the place I worked at.
Hardships are nothing new to me and I’ve always faced them with the attitude of “something good will come out of this”. However, this time was different. I was so consumed by my pain that I insisted that nothing good could ever come out of these losses. I was so convinced that these experiences would add no new lessons to me. Even though that bitter thinking, I was looking for answers for my WHYs. And because I knew how much travel can ease my soul, I decided I deserve a trip to Istanbul. It was cold wintery weather there, but the fire in my mind was enough to keep me warm during that trip.
I knew I was on a healing journey but I did not know if my healing had started yet. I was enjoying the trip to the max; through metro trips and walking for miles till my feet hurt. I was creating memories without even taking pictures because I had taught myself during my trip to beautiful Brazil to just absorb the whole scene and create the image in my brain without the need to take a picture to remind myself of it. I can go back to viewing the falls of Iguaçu in my mind’s eye as I write this article and hear the sound of splashing water; I can even hear the side chats of the tourists passing by.
Every day in Istanbul, I was bathing in the magnificence of that old city; the palaces, the streets, the food, the sea, and the mysteries the Sultans have left lingering in the neighborhoods that hold their names. Every night when I got to the hotel, I’d start a search party inside me, read a few inspirational articles, and pray in gratitude for the beautiful experience I was having.
But I was always wondering whether I’ve healed or not; as if it can happen overnight (I know J the treasures of the sultans messed with my head hahaha). One night I felt like writing, took my pen and wrote in my diary all that has happened to me that year and I described the hurricanes that were swirling inside my head and heart. On a couple of papers, the story was complete and without a second thought, I slipped them into my bag and fell asleep.
The next day we embarked on a tour in the Bosphorus Sea. As we raced the seagulls on the Turkish waters, enjoying the scenery drawn by the fancy castles and old citadels on shore; I remembered the papers I had written the night before.
While still asking myself “Am I healed yet?” I took out the papers and shredded them into tiny pieces and calmly and consciously started throwing them into the sea. With every piece of paper thrown, a part of me described in them was vanishing into oblivion and that scared me. What exactly was I throwing into that sea? I did not know for sure back then, but now I do. I was just dropping baggage I no longer needed into the calm waters.
It was both a scare and a relief. It was cold on the deck and the wind was moist but I was too engaged in the process of breaking my shackles and freeing my shoulders of this burden. I looked at people around me and wondered if everyone on this ship were having the time of their lives as supposed to. That I would never know, but what I know for sure is that my trip turned out to be a retreat that I had created for myself. A retreat which details I had planned and was guided by heart to the healing part of it.