“It’s good to be alive,” this was the song of the trip, played every morning once we got onto the coach and somehow.. I’ve played it nearly every day since I’ve been back to reality.
Everyone has their reasons to travel on their own, some want to discover something new, some are running away from something and yet all I wanted to do was recover and heal myself. Recover from the negative head space I had been in, to let go of any anxiety, depression and stress that was overtaking my life. I wanted to breathe again, without the weight of my hardships holding me down.
Over the last few months, perhaps years, I felt tried and tested throughout my life. I had been in and out of counselling for nearly two years or so and honestly, travelling on my own has rewarded me so much more than an hour session with my counsellor ever has.
I am 27 years old; I live at home with my family, I am in a long-term relationship and I have a small circle of friends. I have my day-to-day in a pretty sweet routine – work, gym, Netflix, bed, repeat. I see my boyfriend a few times in the week with our dedicated Friday date night. Other than that, my life is pretty tedious, sort’ve same-same.
Travelling with strangers – which is an incredibly weird thing to call them as they’re all basically my friends/my Contiki family – is honestly one of the most liberating, scariest and memorable thing I could have ever done.
I wouldn’t say I became a new person, because I don’t think I changed. I would say I became free again, I broke free from everything holding me back and everyone who made me feel ashamed for who I am.
So what if I love to drink and party, hell I love a good cheesy 90’s music sing-a-long on the coach. Who really cares if I wasn’t like the pretty girls doing their makeup early in the morning, but more of a tinted moisturiser with some lashes (I work for Eylure, I’m a PRO) whilst-on-the-coach–with-5-minutes-to-the-destination type of girl.
I finally felt comfortable to be in my own skin and had the courage to be my own person.
It wasn’t until a week into my trip around Europe that I reached Switzerland; where I walked steep roads and climbed a load of stairs to reach the most spectacular view, which overlooked the city and the Swiss Alps.
It feels so hard to explain, but when I was there looking out and taking in the views – I felt overwhelming emotions, almost a sense of relief… as if I could breathe again.
It felt like my heart was breaking and glowing at the same time. It was breaking because I was so upset with being a prisoner of my own mental health, but glowing too, because despite my anxieties I packed up my stuff and travelled on my own to get there. I didn’t need anyone to hold my hand.
I honestly felt like I could breathe again and that for the first time in maybe eight years, I was finally ‘living in the moment’. This whole trip, I was in the moment – staying in the present.
Since then, I’ve really noticed a difference in myself; appreciating the little things in live, a desire to live and enjoy life.. but the anxieties are never too far..
I worry that I’ll forget that moment, that I will forget that feeling.
It’s been nearly 5 months since I went to Europe and I’m sorry to say that – the feeling is slowly fading. I’m back into old habits; overthinking and losing myself in past & future scenarios. I question life and the reason for existing.
But that is my inner fight and I am motivated to keep fighting just so I can remember how it feels to stand on a hill overlooking something spectacular.
Not that I need the reassurance (well maybe I do), but there is one sentence my Contiki-friend Brent said to me which has really stuck to me and honestly? It is probably the best thing I’ve ever heard…
The sites were nice but they were just a backdrop to the people. FWIW – You’re a fucking riot.