In light of world earth day, I wanted to take this moment in the to write an appreciation post for travel and how having the luxury of being able to ‘escape’ has been a lifeline over the past few years.
“Just like navigating myself through a new country, I’m using the skills I’ve acquired to lead my way to a path of positivity in my mind.“
Over the last 5 years I have had the pleasure of including regular travel as part of my career and personal life, I’ve had the wildest ride with back to back trips keeping me busy and beaming but with travel restrictions and staying home now being so important my adventures have been unwillingly halted. This will be the longest time I’ve spent at home in the UK for as long as I can remember and though I have always fully appreciated every opportunity I’ve had to explore the world, there’s no better way to cement and true love than distance. Absence has made my heart fonder in every sense.
Not being able to travel is proving hard on my restless soul. I think this is a common theme for any creative especially those of us who work in the travel industry………….escapism is a need as opposed to a desire.
Throughout my life I’ve suffered, soothed and suffered again with mental illness, something that is not uncommon and details of which I have always chosen to keep to myself. On the surface of my illnesses the outside world, including my friends and family would view me as a ‘high achiever’. If I set my mind to something, history showcased that I’ll do/get/be it. This is something I have always seen as a positive extension of my self-abused brain but in times where I have no control over my plans I feel myself struggling to calm down the disappointment demons that are singing and dancing in my mind right now. I have developed the tools to tell these demons to go f*** themselves eventually but as with most practices it can take time and I’ve certainly been struggling over these past few weeks.
Though no matter how lost I may be feeling, no matter how desperate I am to escape for that sweet relief I feel when travelling. In a twist of tone I whole-heartedly believe that my adventures over the last few years have transitioned from escapism into highlighting my spirit. Just like navigating myself through a new country, I’m using the skills I’ve acquired to lead my way to a path of positivity in my mind.
No matter how dark a day may be, no matter how harsh I’ll judge myself for my failures, I have the memories of the moments that overrode my backed up brain……occasions in which I was proud of myself and everything I have achieved. Times where I encourage my friends to face their fears, occasions where I made my terminally ill mum’s dreams come true, moments where I made the best out of the worst situations and times I’ve shown myself ‘I CAN’.
Among other anxieties and struggles I personally find it really difficult to cope when I am not in control, this could be of anything but of late it’s not knowing the comfort of my future. As an avid planner a world-wide lockdown was always going to prove tough for me to cope with but this time at home, interacting with my boyfriend, family and friends has actually showcased a set of emotional skills I didn’t ever have the time to realise I have accumulated. All of these things, I learned through my experiences of travel.
PATIENCE – There’s no doubt that this is the greatest gift I have received from travelling. Though I blog about luxury travel I have hosted TV shows in some of the most un-tourist-worthy destinations in the world and having to adapt to day-to-day life was something that required so much of this! The patience I learned from everything that can go horribly wrong when travelling as well as the time input needed to enjoy the best of travel has shaped my personality for the better at the age of 32.
UNDERSTANDING – Interacting with so many different cultures, races and religions has made me the most open-minded person I know. As narcissistic as that sentence may sound it’s a statement I’ll stand by. I no longer have the naive ability to judge any person’s situation or thoughts on face value.
GRATITUDE – I have less in my life now that I have ever had before, I no longer have financial stability, I am without a home, a car, an expendable income. I’m no longer a wife and worst of all, I lost out on being a parent to my beloved dog, Coco (whom I still shed daily tears for) but regardless of my losses I have never felt more grateful for everything in my life. I’m grateful for the wonderful experiences I’ve had, my incredible friends, my family and my loving boyfriend. I’m also grateful for me, for who I am as a person, for who I’ve become.
I’ll never forget speaking to my sister a few years ago and mentioning to her all of my travel plans. With an insight into my mental health history my sister asked me ‘If all this travel was a way to escape REAL LIFE’ and I remember barking back in shock at her, NO!’ The often used caption and hashtag I see on instagram ‘She is Not Lost’ is used in a positive way to showcase how travel is not always about escaping.
Perhaps, in my case, it was, it is?