Ending 2017 with Forgiveness

Ending 2017 with Forgiveness

As we all turn introspective and reflect back on 2017, I’m lingering on a single word that holds more weight than I can bare…


There were times this year when forgiveness felt like a dirty word. Packed with implications of pain, loss and emptiness, it felt like forgiveness meant I would be condoning whatever it was that happened, and opening myself up to more of it. It felt like if I said it all was okay, it would still not be, and I’d be even more empty. After all, how do you give away something when I’ve got nothing more to give?
Forgiveness has been a concept to be avoided adamantly, until I felt damn ready.  I felt like Forgiveness was something I needed to create in myself, package up nicely, then deliver like a Christmas gift with good tidings to all those that had wronged me. (How do you deliver a gift box to God/Jesus/Universe, by the way?)  The problem, was that there were no goods to be delivered.  I couldn’t find the right elements inside myself, or the energy, or as my mother would say, “Chutzpah.”  So, there I sat, with my bruises and achy breaky heart- just me and a box full of pain.
The “reckoning day” never came and the box continued to get heavier.
As it turns out there’s never a convenient time for loss, heartbreak or other forms of major life turbulence…or the clean up afterwards. I never did magically wake up jumping into the sunshine shouting “I forgive you Universe! It’s just my Saturn Return, right? Everything is great, now go on with your bad self, I know you’ve got my back!”  Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance.  
Side note: I’ve researched endless “alternative” explanations and remedies for my “issues” this year and it turns out I’m experiencing my Saturn Return early.  Google it, it’ll blow your mind.
I’m coming to understand forgiveness is a choice, and it’s one made only by the strong and brave.  It’s far less about being “the bigger person” than I thought.  As it turns out, it’s not just another offering to the endless pit of despair that is your pain source- it’s not an offering at all really.  It’s more about cutting the ties with the source of pain altogether than offering up anything, box or no box.  When you forgive a person, or situation that hurt you, you are free to move on and shift focus to other things.  But in oder to forgive, pride has to take a backseat- I’ve struggled with that, but the road humbles me.
I’ve experienced how forgiveness pierces the lining of my inner stubbornness and punctures the exterior armor that wants everyone to think I’m tough as nails and “couldn’t care less about (blank) anymore.”  I attached myself to my pain this year, unable to release it…until now.
One of my all time favorite quotes (Liz Gilbert, of course) goes like this: “Maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is and the only real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
Okay, I hear you Liz.  Don’t get attached to anything, or anyone…even my pain-packed past.  I’ve walked the ruins this year- literally and figuratively. And now, I’m walking the road to transformation, which I am actively deciding will be the theme of 2018.
Traveling solo has created a vast space for me to heal and reflect.  It’s yet another reason I believe we should all take a solo trip in our lifetimes.  Roaming around new places solo can help you exist in a near meditative state, completely present.  It’s just you and whatever beautiful place lies in front of you.  In Explorer Mode, I can’t help but become introspective, reflective, and focused on what matters most: love, laughter, gratitude.  People I meet on the road act as my teachers, and for once in my life, I’ve become an eager student.
Here’s something I’ve learned to be true across all cultures:  the door to gratitude is barricaded by another that says “forgiveness.”  Apparently, you can’t get to one without the other.  The happiest people on Earth are not without misfortune- just look at that woman in Panama I wrote about this week.  They just have a different outlook, and have forgiven their pain sources, and themselves for imperfection.
Forgiveness of self, others and even the Universes as a whole, feels like the biggest release of my life.  It’s not just the flight to the other side of the world that has the healing power, it’s the learning and the sharing.  The world has become my classroom, and I show up eagerly, sit in the front row taking notes.
So, all that being said (evolved Heather here)…I am going to forgive 2017 for being such a turbulent a-hole of a year.  We all have our moments, 2017, it’s okay.  Now, let’s politely hand (not drop!) the mic to 2018 and see what she’s got in store.
I’m ready to explore all that lies ahead, and excited to continue taking you along with me for the ride.
Happy (early) New Year everyone!  Sending you all the hugs from Costa Rica.

Ciao from Costa Rica!

By |2018-08-07T21:35:05+00:00December 27th, 2017|Dear Diary, depression, Overcoming Fear, Solo Female Travel|8 Comments

About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? SheGoesGlobal.net is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.


  1. kate December 27, 2017 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Great post!!! I needed to dish out lots of forgiveness this year, but more for myself than for the sake of others.

  2. Coryn Nelson December 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Love ringing in the new and improved!! Great post!

  3. chloeluye December 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I love your posts so much and I really like the idea that ‘ruin is the road to transformation’, giving ‘ruin’ a positive perspective . We all grow from our experiences and it is amazing how the darkest of days can be the beginning of something amazing if only we are willing to learn and grow. Wishing you the best for the new year ahead and I can’t wait to read about more of your insights and adventures.
    Chloe x

  4. skodaqueen January 1, 2018 at 8:34 am - Reply

    What an inspiring post to bring in the New Year with! From personal experience, I often find that travel and the distance it brings (emotionally and physically) really can help me find forgiveness and let go of things I’m holding on to. Happy New Year

  5. Kaitlyn Luckow January 3, 2018 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Love this message. Forgiveness is so important <3

  6. Maya @ Powered Crowd January 8, 2018 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I think forgiveness is something so essential, if you hold on to something negative for too long it can have negative effects on you, your emotions and ultimately your life. I loved how you wrote about this subject. Lovely post.
    Maya @ http://www.poweredcrowd.com

    • Heather Ditmars January 8, 2018 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you Maya! I completely agree about the effects negative feelings can have when they’re held onto for too long. May we all live a little lighter this year. <3 HMD

  7. Richard Barone January 26, 2018 at 8:12 am - Reply

    this one is profound for me, I spent 16 yrs in CR muddling over how to accomplish a return to roots, been back just a year and seeing it all new again, great post. Learning to talk to people again, its hard but doable, esential.

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