We have all experienced some kind of a dysfunctional situation or a relationship at least once in our lives. These are situations or relationships that suck the energy out of us, leaving us frustrated and stressed. Furthermore, they can seriously affect our health.
Toxic environment can include anything from dysfunctional family relationships, romantic relationships and toxic friendships, to unhealthy work or school environments.
People find different ways to cope with their toxic environment. Some of them decide to ignore unhealthy situation altogether. Some reach out for therapy or counseling. And other people decide to literally remove themselves from the toxic situation. They choose to travel.
Travel as an Escape from a Toxic Emotional Relationship
According to Andrea Bonior, PhD, author of The Friendship Fix, one of the first signs of a toxic relationship is one of the partners being very controlling. If your partner selects your friends for you, restricts your contacts with friends and family and wants you all for himself/herself, that’s a sign that you might be in a toxic relationship.
As said by Dr. Bonior, a toxic romantic relationship doesn’t have to include physical violence. It can be that you feel nervous every time you are supposed to share your opinion or a viewpoint because you are scared of your partner’s reaction. It can be that constant feeling of walking on the eggshells.
Everyone wants to be loved, respected and cared for. However, some people engage in dysfunctional and harming relationship that they don’t know how to escape from.
So, you might decide to cut the strings and sail away. To travel. To have some time for yourself and clear your mind. You might want to travel so you can decide in peace what steps you should take in order to solve your situation.
People sometimes decide to travel alone, when they choose traveling as an escape from a dysfunctional relationship. Traveling alone can help you think clearly about your relationship and the way you feel about it. Spending time overseas on your own can help you put things into perspective. It will also give you energy and confidence for decisions you will need to make once you get back home.
Travel as an Escape from a Toxic Home Life
You parents have recently decided to divorce. The whole family is going through hard times filled with tension, raised voices, fights and accusations. You feel overwhelmed and just want to distance yourself from the family drama. Or you have been going through endless fights with your siblings for a long time and you need a break from everyday domestic tension.
Because toxic family life can leave us frustrated, depressed and upset. Furthermore, persistent dysfunctional family relations can lead to serious mental health disorders like anxiety or depression.
Whatever your home life issue might be, you may want to put some distance between your family and you. Travel might be one of the ways to set the boundaries. Take some time off. Pick a destination that you’ve always wanted to visit. Make it relaxing and interesting.
In a situation like this one, some people prefer a solo itinerary. They choose to travel alone, to relax and reflect about their feelings related to the toxic environment in a serenity of some distant place.
On the other hand, some choose to travel with a partner, friend or even a group of friends. When we are hurt, we often need a company of others to console and support us.
Traveling as a Run Away from a Toxic Office
How many times have you impatiently counted days on your calendar till your next vacation? Work environment sometimes can be very toxic and literally destroy our health. Endless targets, tight deadlines and toxic relationships between coworkers can cause increased levels of stress. Continuous stress furthermore can lead to different physical illnesses, as well as anxiety or depression.
As a way of handling the toxic workplace, many people decide to take a break and spend some time traveling.
After many years spent in the downtown office in a position of a fraud department supervisor, my friend recently decided to quit her job. Shocked with the news, the first thing I asked was, “Wow, and what are you going to do now?” thinking of the possible list of the companies that she has already been running through. But her simple answer came as a surprise. “Travel”, she said. So off she went. She’s been on her journey across Australia for couple of weeks now, and she seems more relaxed and happier than ever.
Traveling as an escape from a toxic workplace can be a great way to distance yourself from a harmful situation before it affects your mental and physical wellbeing and your complete life.
Some may consider traveling as an escape from a toxic environment as a sign of weakness and inability to cope with stress in life. I tend to see it rather as a great segment of coping strategy. Traveling can give you the time you need to put things into perspective and make a strategy for coping with harmful situation or relationship. A journey as a break from a toxic environment can energize you, widen your horizons and boost your confidence. Sometimes cutting your anchor from what’s weighing you down can be the best thing you can do to save yourself.
Heitler S., (n.d.), 8 Signs of a Toxic Relationship, Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201603/8-signs-toxic-friendship
Copa, C., (n.d.), Uh Oh: 9 Subtle Signs You Are in a Toxic Relationship, Retrieved from: https://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/toxic-relationships/
Pike, S. (2015), Say Goodbye to a Toxic Workplace Before It Poisons Your Career, Retrieved from http://www.mscareergirl.com/2015/07/16/say-goodbye-toxic-workplace-poisons-career/