When Jolene Jordaan got divorced a few years ago, she ventured into the world of online dating. When that proved unsuccessful, she ventured out into the world itself.
“I said, ‘I’ll bet you that if I could just stop online dating for a second, and go out and travel and meet people and open my eyes and experience new things, I could find myself and get to a better place,'” she said.
Jordaan, 38, is no stranger to crossing oceans. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, her family moved to Irvine, California, when she was a teenager. She’s still based there, and owns JB Marketing, an advertising agency.
'I was with him for almost 10 years, and I found myself suddenly alone, and I had no idea who I was as an individual,' she said.
She threw herself into online dating, but found it disappointing and unfulfilling. So she decided to 'date the world' instead.
'When you're online dating, you're being vulnerable and you're opening yourself up to rejection,' she said. 'When you're travelling, you're being vulnerable, but you're opening yourself up to really good things, so you can only come back feeling better.'
'The moment I landed is when I realised, 'Wow, I need to figure out how to be courageous,'' she said. 'After you've been through a really hard time, sometimes you don't have that self-esteem.'
Slowly, travel began to work its restorative magic. She decided to drive through Tuscany, and ended up in Volterra.
'You walk through 100-year-old buildings, and all you can hear are chimes from the church going off, a little bit of chatter from people in the background at a restaurant,' she said. 'It's incredible just to sit there and see everything around you.'
At the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Jordaan connected with a featured quote from Frank's diary: 'Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.'
Sometimes when you're going through a really hard time, you forget to focus on the good,' she said. 'Standing there and reading a quote from somebody who was in such a bad place -- if she can think that way, I can think that way.'
'My heart has never been so full, and I feel so healed and so aware of the good things that surround me,' she said.
'You date how you feel,' she said, 'so if you're feeling bad, you're not going to date the right people. If you're feeling good, you're going to attract (good) people. The more I travelled, the better I felt, and the more better-quality people started coming back into my life.'
'The best place you can put your heart after you've had so much pain through divorce, and the safest place to put it, is in travelling, because you won't be disappointed, you'll leave happier, you'll feel richer, and most importantly, you have control and your power back,' she said.
Next on her itinerary, Jordaan plans to visit more of the United States, stopping in Maryland and Washington, D.C., before returning to South Africa to visit family and friends.
She's already been to New York, where she went ice skating in Central Park and dodged cargo ships while jet skiing on the Hudson, which she described as 'petrifying and terrifying and amazing all at the same time.'
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