People & Stories

7 moving stories that speak to healing power of travel

Recently updated on April 4th, 2024 at 04:30 pm

The aching absence of a loved one can feel like a huge weight that roots you in one place. But when grief feels ready to swallow us whole, sometimes the best thing is to find new horizons to heal.

Here we’re sharing the real stories of past Trafalgar guests who have traveled after loss, finding joy and rediscovering laughter while on the road with us. These are cross-continent tales about finding peace and renewal, and the transformational and healing power of travel.

These stories will touch your heart and remind you that even in the depths of sorrow, there is always a place for new beginnings. With an open heart and suitcase of curiosity, let’s look at these powerful stories of healing travel after a storm.

Making family memories after loss

“My wife of 23 years passed away of cancer in January of 2020. This was the first family trip that my children and I would be taking without their mom,” says past guest Rudy.

“It was an emotional trip but the time we were able to spend together was priceless.” 

Trafalgar past guest Rudy with his family in New Zealand

TRAVEL WITH US: New Zealand Uncovered 

The Italian dream

“This was a lifelong dream for me. My husband passed in April 2018 of a massive heart attack. He was three months shy of retiring from his job of 46 years. We were married for 39 years. He promised to take me to Italy,” says past guest Suzanne. 

“So, on our would-have-been 40 years of marriage anniversary date, I boarded a plane to Italy. 

“I knew he was with me in spirit. I embarked on the journey of my lifetime on the Italian Concerto tour. 

“Our tour guide Giuseppe was fantastic! I met wonderful people on the tour. I remember seeing the Sistine Chapel for the first time. Looking up at the ceiling, I cried. I’m a fine arts major and a retired teacher. I had only seen photos in textbooks before, but not in person. 

“The Amalfi coast was amazing! I tried to burn the images of the coast and the sailboats in my memory so I’d always have them there to get through my moments of grief. My heart aches to travel again. 

“Thank you for making my 40th wedding anniversary special. My husband would have loved it.”

Trafalgar past guest Suzanne on a gondola in Italy

TRAVEL WITH US: Italian Concerto

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“Dad especially would have loved the people on the bus”

“In the summer, my mum and I went on a Trafalgar trip to Italy – a once-in-a-lifetime Italy Bellissimo experience. The only person missing was my dad,” says past guest Kris.

“This trip was the kind of thing my mum and dad were planning on doing in his retirement, which was cut short when he was diagnosed with ALS two weeks after he retired. He passed away in October of 2017 after a difficult three and a half years with this terrible disease.

“My mum opted to go with me instead, and we had the time of our lives. Nothing makes you appreciate and savour the finer things in life more than the shortened life of a loved one being on your mind – and my dad was on both our minds for much of this trip. 

“Our newfound ‘bus friends’ probably got sick of us telling them “Allan would have LOVED this!” about every little detail of the cities we visited.

“Dad especially would have loved the people on the bus. We’ve made friends for life and appreciate the amount of love and life on that coach every day. We weren’t the only ones celebrating a life on this tour, and we all bonded over our shared experiences and love of travel.”

Trafalgar past guest Kris with her mum in Italy

TRAVEL WITH US: Italy Bellissimo

“…this little girl reminded me that we still had dreams…”

“We were married in 1998 and we [wanted to use] the money I had been saving for my dream trip to France for our honeymoon…” says past guest Wendy. “We soon had three children and that trip kept getting pushed back because of life, but I was still saving.” 

“Then in 2005, our youngest child, Emily, was diagnosed with cancer – neuroblastoma. She was only two years old. We put everything we had into saving her life. But, she was only sick for 4 months before she died during surgery to remove her tumor. 

“Needless to say, our dream of France was the furthest thing from our minds. We had two other children that we had to heal from the loss of their sister. Dreaming was no longer an option – until we had our last child, another girl and she brought us hope. 

“As our older children, both boys, went off to college to pursue their dreams, this little girl reminded me that we still had dreams. She, too, fell in love with France – Paris, specifically. And so I began to dream again. 

“This photo of us in front of the sparkling Eiffel Tower, with pink streaks in the sky was a dream come true. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our 50th birthdays on the most magical trip. 

“For the past 16 years, we have been working through our foundation, Emily’s Power for a Cure, to find a cure for Neuroblastoma, and while that cure isn’t here yet, we know it is coming. Our oldest is actually in med school and working on new drugs to treat neuroblastoma.” 

Trafalgar past guest Wendy with her family

TRAVEL WITH US: European Splendor 

Finding independence after grief through the power of travel

“This trip was very special for me. In 2022 my husband suddenly passed away. I was left to decide how to live my life now I had always wanted to travel internationally, but I am terrified of flying,” says Laura.

“But I went forward with this trip, all by myself, and joined a Trafalgar tour. It has changed my life as now I can actually do anything I put my mind to.” 

Trafalgar past guest Laura on tour with Trafalgar

TRAVEL WITH US: Majestic Europe

“I wore the necklace they gave me every day”

“I grew up with grandparents that loved to travel. Their favorite place to go was Italy. They knew I dreamed of traveling and would often talk about wanting to go to France. They helped to make that trip happen when I was in high school but still would encourage me to go to Italy,” says past guest Jessica.

“When I graduated with my doctorate, they gave me a lira pendant necklace and once again told me I needed to go to Italy – but still I said one day. 

“Well, unfortunately both of my grandparents died in spring 2019 within a week of each other. With their passing came a small amount of money. It was at this point I knew what I must do with the money. 

“So I booked a solo trip to Italy with Trafalgar. I wore the necklace they gave me every day. It was the most amazing experience. 

“My favorite day was in Capri when we rode the chair lift up the mountain. The views were breathtaking. I took the time to make sure I was really present in the moment and just appreciate that I was finally in Italy and loving every moment. That is when the clouds started to break and this rainbow appeared. It was a very emotional and memorable moment for me because it represented my grandparents so happy I was finally in Italy. 

“The rest of the trip was just so magical and I had many more memorable experiences that I know they were with me. Trafalgar and Italy will always hold a special place in my heart.” 

Trafalgar past guest JEssica in italy with her lira pendant

TRAVEL WITH US: Best of Italy 

“We thought we’d never travel again”

“To be honest, we thought we’d never travel again,” says past guest Roxanne. “We took a delightful trip with Trafalgar’s sister company, Insight, in 2015. We texted our son who had just graduated from college just before we left.

“Unfortunately, he passed away 2 weeks later. We never wanted to go out of the country again. 

“However, in 2019 we decided to try Italy, We have found that traveling and meeting people from many countries is good for the heart and soul. 

“The Best of Italy was the most wonderful trip. Our guide, Pino Campi, was so organized and knew so much history off the top of his head. He was so much fun. We had a wonderful time and great experiences that will last us a lifetime. 

“My sweet memories of Italy are always close to my heart. We’d love the opportunity to take another trip with the wonderful guides provided by Trafalgar.”

Trafalgar past guest Roxanne and her husband on tour

Have you found healing through the power of travel after a big loss? Where did you go? 

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