Thursday, 9 March 2017

Feeling down whilst travelling the world

*Disclaimer: This post was written last month and has been sitting in my drafts for a few weeks before I could pluck up the courage to press 'Publish'. I've never really spoken about this kind of thing before but travelling is seen as the most perfect, problem fixing thing to do in the world yet...your mind is still your mind wherever you take yourself and it still needs to be taken care of. Anyway, let's get into what the flipping flip I'm actually talking about...

Some days, over the last nine months, I’ve woken up and had to physically pinch myself that this is my life. Physically pinch myself that I’ve been merely a yard away from lions in the Maasai Mara, that I’ve gone wine tasting in one of the most stunning wine regions in the world, that I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people from all over the world that I’m now lucky enough to call my friends.

It’s truly a privilege to have been able to be this free for so long, to have so little responsibility and so much possibility. Yet, with all this, with all of these amazing times I’ve experienced over the past nine months and all of the laughs and memories I’ve made with my BFF in tow, the past month has been one of the most personally difficult yet.

I don’t know what happened or when it happened, but suddenly I came to realise that something had gone amiss, something wasn’t quite right. At first, I thought I was just in a bad mood, a slump if you like, because my Christmas, New Year and beginning of January had been better than I could ever have imagined. A few days passed and hot damn, this mood wouldn't shake itself and it was getting frustrating because we were in a brand new environment and I wasn’t being myself at all. Hostels aren’t the best place if you want some alone time and looking back now, thank all that’s good and pure that I was in a hostel because you best believe if I’d have been at home I’d have holed myself up in my room, my laptop and some Dairy Milk for company.

For a while I didn’t really know what was happening - it sounds dramatic and it really wasn’t to the extent I’m perhaps describing it, however it was only when my BFF Rosie sat me down and basically, asked me what the flipping flip was going on that I had to finally admit to myself, and to her that yep, this actually isn't just a ‘bit of a bad mood’ is it.

The fact is that I couldn't be bothered. With anything. It would be the most stunning day outside, and I’d just want to stay inside in my room. I’d do things but I wouldn't suggest them and if there were other people Rosie could go and do things with, I’d sigh a breath of relief and stalk back up to my room, away from people. I’d turn down nights out and if I did go out, I’d be anxious and kind of miserable and whilst I’d go home early and tell people I’d be fine, (‘I’m just tired that’s all’) I’d get into bed and cry…over…nothing?

I couldn't actually answer the question of ‘what’s wrong?’ because I had absolutely no idea, which was probably the most frustrating part for myself and others. All I knew was that I was meant to be having the best time of my entire life and everyone so wished they could be doing what I was doing and yet I felt, empty. But then guilty for feeling that way. Scared that I couldn't seem to get myself out of whatever the heck it was. And so forth, that cycle carried on for a while.

It was one of the first times in my life when I've actually had to sit back and admit to myself that, actually, I'm not okay. Speak to any of my friends, specifically those I lived with at university, and they'll tell you that I was that person to always indignantly say, 'I never get ill, I'm never unwell - I actually can't even REMEMBER the last time I was even SLIGHTLY under the weather' and I used it as a badge of honour. It seems ridiculous now, and kind of embarrassing but I've had to sit myself and my annoying little brain down and tell it some home truths.

You have a cold, you buy some lozenges, you get a virus, you get a prescription from the doctor - but what happens when it's your mind that takes a tumble? Unfortunately, I don’t have a particular ‘thing’ that somehow let my mind escape whatever it was getting up to and this post isn’t going to particularly set the world alight. There isn't an exciting ending but it's just a post trying to keep it real because whilst my Instagram feed is pretty A* if I do say so myself, travelling the world doesn't mean you escape life’s down periods. You’re still facing some of the problems that life decides to throw your way, just without the worry of paying bills and unloading the dishwasher, y’know. I mean, whilst many of us might want to get a brain transplant much of the time, unfortunately, technology is too selfish for us at this point and this little thing beneath your hair is apparently following us around for life so...maybe it's time for me to look after it a little more.

Really, I wanted to write this post for two reasons: to say that whilst travelling is really, truly incredible and I'm so grateful to be doing what I'm doing, it doesn't 'fix' you. Also, I just want to document it for my future self to look back on, mostly for my future self to look back on when things might not be that rosey to read and say, ‘hey, you’re going to be fine, listen to yourself, ride whatever it is out and then get back to it’.

I suppose what the past month has really taught me is to practise a little more self care, a lot more self love and to stop trying to do everything alone because there are people right there by your side waiting for you to let them in and let them help.

I've just started reading this book as a start and I'll let you know how and if it helps but oh boy, when
Kylie Jenner said 2016 was the year of realising things, did she extend that for another year because jeezzz.

Can any of you relate to feeling down whilst travelling? It would be great to hear from others about their experiences. 

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1 comment:

  1. Yes. I hear you. I get these same feelings a lot, whether I'm travelling or whether I'm just sat at home, back from a day at work.

    Travel is awesome for self-reflection and self-learning; when I travel, I'm solo pretty much all the time, and while I'm an introvert with self-confidence issues, the more I travel the more I've developed; these days I can now stay in hostels (I'm still the quiet one in the corner, but at least I'm there), and while stepping off the plane still gives me a myriad of anxieties (will I cope? Will I instead shut myself in my room for two days?), and probably always will, for the most part I know that they're unfounded and entirely within my head.

    There have been times when I've felt suddenly down *whilst* travelling; this is usually due to some external factor that ends up lodging itself in my brain and exploding in a fit of self-loathing. I've tended to find that moving on helps - a change of scenery gives a change of mood. Twice I've come home, as that's been the only easy way out of my funk.

    I'm always worried that I'm 'wasting time' - if I'm travelling and not out exploring, or if I'm at home and not writing or something. But I need to remember to self-care; that it's perfectly okay, nay, vital, to take some time to rest, mentally and physically, as otherwise I'll overwhelm myself in panic, fear of failure, and angst.


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