“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

Tour de Vanoise France

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?

Tour de Vanoise

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.

Related posts

Thoughts on Travel Blogging, Suicide and Living the Dream

Find Happiness

Reflections on the Passing of Anita Mac


  1. This news took my breath away! She was always so kind to stop by my blog and comment ~ always seemed positive, it breaks my heart. As always, your post is touching, thought provoking and insightful. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I also did not know Anita Mac, but there is a sense of community among us travelwriters and I appreciate you sharing the fact of her choice to leave this life and raising the question of why we travel, which begs a personal answer. When I was in my early 20s and first took off to Europe – without a plan, maps, guidebooks, familial support or adequate funds – I often encountered people who asked, “What are you running away from?” I was baffled by the question that applied to them, not me. I never felt I was “running from” but, rather, moving toward… something, the yet Unknown. The search, the quest.

    In that state of heightened alertness, openness and curiosity, I still – more than 30 years later – find enlivenment and pleasure. It is not my experience that eventually you must go home, in terms of a physical place. Not all of us have a home or sense of place. But, indeed, the challenge – no matter how rooted or far-flung our adventures – is to find and nurture that sense of Home, and connection to our own heart and purposefulness, that resides within. We are all travelers through this life and, ultimately, our end is the same passage from this Known Reality. May we each find joy and love on whatever paths we take!

    1. I share your passion for travel and have been so lucky to have traveled all my life. I have had times where travel was kind of an escape especially during a time where I had a miserable terrible job.
      What makes Anita’s story even more tragic though is that she gave up when there is help out there,. One thing I’ve learned in life is no matter how rocky the road is, never ever give up. It can always get better. This is something I know after surviving severe Postpartum depression where I thought I’d never ever make it. I did. It was hard but I heeled and I’m all the more stronger because of it. 🙂

  3. Even though I had exchanged some messages with Anita, we had never met in person, but like you Nicole, her tragic passing has certainly given me food for thought, over the past few days.

    I agree that most of us use travel as some form of escape. Let’s face it, even a traditional “two-week vacation” is a means of getting away from the daily grind – so extended travel can surely be seen as a more serious form of escapism. But at the end of the day, for most of us, travel is a mere distraction.

    We all need to focus, with gratitude, on the precious and often simple things we all have in our lives.

    1. So true Marianne. I have to admit there have been many times in my life I wanted to just pick up, pack my bag and leave. But I’m glad I’ve stayed put and dealt with the struggles and challenges and got through them. What is so sad is that there is help out there. Suicide is a terrible way out.

  4. Wonderful post Nicole. You bring up good points on the importance of reflecting on our lives and what we have. Travel is a wonderful escape, but in the end we need to come home and face our issues…asking for help if we need it.

  5. Doing anything for the wrong reasons that leads to dire consequences is tragic. I’ve unfortunately had more than one suicide touch closely – and now a birthday is a moment to reflect on what joy they brought to the world and a moment to remember what we lost when they left. A sober reminder…

  6. When I first came to China to teach English it did feel like I was running away from something and most of my fellow teachers as well. There is a strong force that propels you to the other side of the world. Now I know I was running towards a new beginning and eventually my husband and a very good life in Shanghai. But still, I was running…

  7. I agree, Nicole. Anita’s passing is tragic, and it reminds us all to take a closer look to make sure we’re doing what it takes to make us happy. It’s usually from travel bloggers that I hear the term, “live the life you want,” and sometimes long-term traveling isn’t what everybody wants. I’ve never really considered it as an escape, but your words and Anita’s last post have made me think.

    P.S. I’ve just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Check it out your award here: http://www.missadventuretravel.com/inspiring-blogger-award/

  8. Nicole, what a tragedy… I had no idea. This hits close to home, too, as someone who has experiences very high highs and very low lows over the past two years of traveling. It’s a life of extremes, and yes, can often be used as an escape from something real or imagined. My heart goes out to Anita’s friends and family.

  9. When I went to work abroad I always said that we were all escaping from something, I knew I was. Coming home to the UK and facing up to my life was difficult, but just like you say in your article it is something that I had to do. That’s how we learn about ourselves and what we really want from life. Thanks once again Nicole 🙂

  10. This is so tragic. I just went to her blog and read her last post. My heart goes out to her family. We never really know the hopelessness others feel, do we? Your wonderful, heartfelt post will keep me thinking about those who wrestle with demons for a long time.

    1. Yes isn’t it terrible. I have been through some terrible lows myself especially when I had severe postpartum depression after the birth of my first child. I never imagined I could ever make it but I did. And I’m stronger because of it. So sad that she couldn’t get help. There is help out there but sadly I think people feel desperate.

  11. A deeply reflective post that touches on the importance of turning inwards, seeking happiness and dealing with life’s trials and tribulations. Thank you Nicole.

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