The wanderer returns..
Exhausted and overwhelmed in many ways but I am feeling more at peace.
If we are brutally honest I was keeping travel at arms length. I couldn't bare the pain of losing another passion in my life. It was and still is a great passion of mine but due to health it has made it incredibly difficult to travel & travel with ease without hindering my health further. Along with the obvious difficulties travelling in a large group was also extremely nerve racking to me. I AM, and maybe I am becoming more ok with being the black sheep, but I did want to fit in this holiday the best I could. I did strongly believe that my health would mean I wouldn't be dining with the group, or even present for some trips. My fatigue and exhaustion with all my symptoms was going to be difficult to manage with such intense travel days.
It was like swimming all over again in many ways & maybe, I guess the athlete inside of me came out. Don't get me wrong there were CHALLENEGES and there were days that were far more difficult than others but my passion for travel, my determination not to allow anything to take away the 'prize' in this case 'experience' away from me was far stronger than the pain and exhaustion I was feeling.
I was in a rut before leaving, almost like when my passion for travelling really began in 2014. Again, it was a time I was becoming very poorly, I was isolating myself, not going out & trying to bury myself in work to hide the pain. I had a failed relationship & I couldn't explain or get to the bottom of my problems. I didn't really want to go to America, I was anxious and didn't really have high hopes. But it was what ignited the travel fire within me. For the first time I realised what kind of company helped me grow as a person, how to listen & learn from other people & their stories, how other cultures life & the lessons we can learn from their history. This trip & timing was very much the same. I wouldn't say my mental state is any better or that the pain has lightened but it woke me up. Awoke me to many things I had forgotten.
Timing is a beautiful thing, even if sometimes it doesn't seem like it. Signs are important too. We can look out for them & find comfort in the messages they give us. I was feeling lost, war torn, weighed down by not knowing what my body was doing - of course I am still none the wiser but I was beginning to isolate myself, not go out. Feel embarrassed. The self-guilt, self-blame crept in and was like poison. It zaps the positivity and your self-worth away in a blink. It is a dark hole & one that is incredibly hard to get out of. I was in a place where I didn't know myself, like in 2014. I was losing the Sophie I fight so hard to keep everyday. I was losing my identity because I was putting my happiness, my health & trust in others. Which we SHOULD NEVER do! WE are responsible for our own happiness, health & with trust.. it is a hard one. I was allowing outside judgements become my labels & what I believed people knew me by. I am fully aware of what is said & spoken about me. That in itself is like quicksand when it comes to your mental health.
Luckily, I can't be anyone but me. I am not saying I am not an emotional nightmare at times, hard work, moody, questionable & make mistakes. I am human & I FULLY understand I am hard work. So I was me... as the trip went on, I realised that just being me was enough. I didn't need to drink to fit in & make myself more unwell, I didn't need to stay up until the early hours & talk on & on to show my personality. Luckily, the chronic illness game teaches us a lot, we can feel pain others would simply dismiss, we see beyond the surface, we listen & engage in people's interests, which all adds to our personality. I often question my mind, I am not the brightest spark in the book, I don't know much about business, I learn on the job, I teach myself and make lots of mistakes. I don't go out drinking, dancing, partying and recently I haven't been travelling much. So I always worry that I don't bring much to the table when it comes to conversations. I can hold my own though and the lessons pain have taught me have helped me become better with conversation & socialising in that way. Although losing so much weight is soul-destroying it has taught me that inner beauty is what really matters, people can judge, people can stick you in a box and place a label on you. I AM STILL WORKING on not allowing those labels define me & feel as if I have to prove myself, prove them all wrong. I don't need to actively go out and prove people wrong though. The truth always comes out in the end. You just have to trust it! As long as you stay true to yourself that is all that matters. People will see passed your outer shell, will question the judgements they have heard and form their own opinions.
So I have come back from this trip feeling like a weight has been lifted, the Sophie is still there. Sometimes overshadowed with heavy loads but Sophie never really goes away. Pain changes all of us, as does life & experiences we just have to make sure it is for the better & not for the worst.
Never allow anything cage us in, there is always a way. Never give up. Never stop chasing your dreams or living because we all deserve to live.