Travel is a whirlwind adventure filled with wonderment, adventure, escapism, and personal growth. You put yourself out there, out of the security of your bubble and into the unknown – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
Everything was going great and everything was wonderful – until I freaked out. I had experienced lots of little mini freak outs on this journey because typically I’m a scheduler; ones about not having booked places to stay or upcoming flights, ones about going back to places where I’d been with Mr T… but nothing had prepared me for panic attacks. The only things that I thought would meltdown in Switzerland, was the cheese under a hot grill or the chocolate in my mouth.
I loved having the time to write. The creative energies were flowing out from the green mountains, and when it wasn’t raining, from the bright blue skies. Even when it did downpour, the inspiration was reflected in the droplets that plopped from the eaves, and crept through the mist.
I was happy.
One day something happened while I was out walking along rustic vineyards and through the dampened woods, I got a panic attack. My chest was thumping like a drummer furiously bashing away at the kick, my head was exploding with thoughts, and I could barely find the chance to breathe. I reached the castle and felt like leaping off the edge into the cacophony of the spindly branches of orchard trees. I tried to calm myself by looking out to the houses glistening in the evening sunset of their respective villages. I tried to admire the beauty. I tried my best to smile at people. I tried.
Over the next two weeks I’d experience more panic attacks; I felt like my life was caving into my brain. Positivity was lost somewhere and I couldn’t find it. I wanted to locate it, but it was like that post-washing predicament of one mysterious missing sock from a pair.
I decided that I wouldn’t come home, because I’d still feel the same whether it was here or there, if not worse for packing in my journey. Instead I did things that I normally wouldn’t do. I cycled to another country. I talked to close friends (which I was reluctant to do because I didn’t want to burden them with my “stuff’’, but I knew that it would be more detrimental to hold it all in). I cried; uncontrollably, a lot. I made more plans. I figured out the source of my problem.
I came up with an eclectic mix of reasons. Travelling on my own, after losing Mr T during our holiday, had become earmarked as a an impossibility. Travelling on my own and being homesick for familiar faces. And the hardest one: feeling like something ominous was going to happen because in the past five years, since I had lost Mr T, horrible things have happened every time I felt like I had gotten my life back on track; the heart-wrenching sadness at also losing my older brother and then later, my father. I sub-consciously thought that with my travel being so damn good, that my world was going to crumble and fall apart again.
If I kept on this pattern of thinking, I knew that several detrimental things would happen; it would manifest into negative thinking and I would lose myself in the thick of and it would break my spirit. Things needed to change. My thinking needed to change. I had to trust the process and believe that I was going to be ok.
It was a battle of my own wits and it was hard scraping myself off the emerald grass, but I knew that I had to carry on, for my sanity and for the love for myself. And I did, I worked through this cavernous hole and climbed back out. Like I said, I really put myself out there on a bicycle (I am crap at cycling), kept the endorphins going through exercise, was kinder to me, and planned more adventures. I am unbelievably grateful to those who I contacted in my darkest hour and helped pick me up again, and to my hosts.
The biggest thing was that I didn’t give up on my dream; I kept going and was rewarded. I now possess a greater understanding of what I can achieve. I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you. Until then, X