I have ummed and aaahed over whether to post this for a while. It’s hard to admit how much you struggled with something when you know family and friends will be reading it. But sometimes, bad things happen in life, and admitting that you found it hard doesn’t make you any less strong, nor is it something to be ashamed of.
I recently had a pretty big heartbreak of my own, and it’s got me thinking. In a bid to try and get back on track, I poured over countless pages on google on how to get over someone, how to get out of depression, anything that would shake off the never ending feeling of either a kind of physical pain, or just a heavy empty numbness, where it feels like your body wants to shut itself down and never move again. After looking and looking though, the main advice spouted over and over again on website after website includes simply staying active, meeting up with friends, not drinking too much alcohol, and sticking to a routine.
Don’t get me wrong, for some people these are very handy lifelines, and by engaging with old friends and taking a walk around the park every day, it might slowly change the way you view life. If you’re one of these people then I truly do wish you well. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, and I’m no expert on the matter, but I think that the advice of sticking to a routine, relying on old friends and talking about your problems with a councillor are very one-track minded. They also don’t take into account the fact that, chances are, your friends are too busy or caught up in their own lives to be able to go out of their way to help, even though they mean well and want to do their best for you. If you even have anyone to fall back on in the first place that is.
For me, there has always been another solution. One thing that I do that shakes off the soul-crushing weight and the feeling that you’re simply sleep walking through life. I’m sure that seeing as you’re on this website and have (hopefully!) read through some of my other articles too that you know what that solution is: Travel.
Travel as far and as wide as you can. Maybe that’s only as far as your local national trust area, to the beach with your tent, or for a shopping trip to a big city for the weekend; or maybe its further. My advice is: Think scary. Think different. Think something that is going to challenge you and fill up every single spare corner in your brain. And again maybe that is just cooking your own food on a little campfire in the woods with your tent, but maybe it’s going somewhere that you always fancied, but never thought you were brave enough to go. Maybe it’s getting on your bike with nothing but whatever you pack in your panniers, and cycling almost the entire length of a country on your own (or maybe that’s just my crazy way of dealing with it haha).
Maybe the thought is daunting at first. Maybe if you’re depressed or even just a bit down and lethargic, the thought of having to organise everything that you need to do in order to make a holiday happen can seem just too much to deal with. And then there’s the money. Can you justify spending so much just to get away? To which I say yes. Make it daunting, make it a bit scary, and make the most of your money. You will never regret seeing more of the world, that I can promise you.
The exhilaration of it all – choosing a country, writing a packing list, planning things to do there, finding beautiful beaches and exotic beach bars or little cafes and trinket shops down quaint and narrow alleys – will soon fill up almost every single thought that you have.
As I originally wrote this, I had been having a particularly bad day. You know the type – someone looks at you the wrong way or maybe even says something nice to you, and instead of dealing with it like a rational and well-balanced person, you have to dash off to have a good heart-wrenching sob in a locked room for half an hour. All day however, the thought of finishing off my work, packing away my laptop, pulling out my brand new road map (very exciting, it had arrived in the post the other day!) and highlighting the first part of the route that I was going to take, as well as adding to my ever growing packing list had been in the corner of my mind, pushing me to keep going through that last hour, last half hour, last ten minutes, until I could finally close my work down and get on with the exciting stuff.
It gave me a reason to keep pushing on, and now after two months of cycling solo over 2,200km down the length of Vietnam, I can finally say it: I am me again. I am proud of myself, I am full of life. I feel fit and strong, and I have had more adventures than my brain can keep up with. I have a new flare for life, and am excited for my next adventure.
I met a woman last week who finally prompted me to publish this post. She said to me that when she woke up one morning and realised she didn’t want to wake up in the morning any more, she knew she had to change her life. She didn’t pack her bicycle panniers but she did pack a backpack, and is now currently backpacking around Vietnam getting her mojo back. She is strong and brave, and you are too.
My last bit of advice though which has done wonders for me, is not to keep it all bottled up. This is going to sound stupid, but give yourself 15 minutes if you feel things getting too much, set your alarm on your phone, lay down with your face in pillow and sob your heart out. Don’t hold back. And then when your alarm goes off, say to yourself “OK, Im done now.” It’s amazing how cathartic it can actually be, and for me I feel almost fresh again as I jump up to my alarm.
I hope this has helped if you’re feeling the same. And you will get through it. Maybe you’ve never travelled before and you have no idea where to even start, but don’t let that stop you. Click here to read my guide to starting off your travelling journey, and maybe you’ll get some inspiration that you never know you needed. If you do, I’d love to hear from you. And if you don’t, let me know why and maybe I can give you a push in the right direction.
Originally written by Mick for wanderwomanadventures.co.uk
Photo by Gerald Davison / Wild Camp Just above Abhainn Sithidh