Yes… I’ve used the T word.
No… not that T word. The one that makes every travel blogger & enthusiast swoon and purchase the next plane ticket to anywhere.
But that serious and scary T word.
The majority of us have had amazing, enriching, uplifting, life-affirming and confidence-building travel experiences. Most of my experiences have definitely been like that. I felt extremely safe in places that others were convinced were dangerous and I’ve made lifelong friends when others feared I’d be alone.
I wandered the streets of Paris and engaged with locals in their native tongue. I did a safari in Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya and I was lucky enough to see the Big 5. I travelled the Great Ocean Road with new friends from around the world and had a blast. And there are many more wonderful experiences that I’ve had while traveling.
I genuinely believe that travel has the power to educate our minds, expand our hearts, connect us to others and make us better people. And in turn, a better global society. I wouldn’t trade any of my travel experiences for the world and I’m grateful for each one.
However, not all of my experiences have been positive…
One thing that you have to know about me is that I do not use the word ‘trauma’ lightly.
I know very well the weight of that word and only use it when I’m being serious. So when I say that my recent trip in Australia was a traumatic experience for me, I mean it.
Due to some very difficult circumstances that included damaging situations and toxic people, I was experiencing severe anxiety, multiple panic attacks a day and fell into a deep depression. It wasn’t just emotional and psychological hell, but it was wrecking me physically too. I could barely sleep even 3 hours at night, my digestive system wasn’t functioning, I broke out with red, itchy acne and I was living with constant tightness in my chest and shooting pains up and down my left arm.
Going through all that, while also being 13,000 miles from home and having limited access to the support from my loved ones, made something that’s already a nightmare into a very hellish experience!
And as a result, I came home feeling very shaken up.
I’d start panicking at the mere thought of being alone, even if I was surrounded by the people that I loved. I’d wake up from vivd nightmares of being harmed by the toxic people that had been around me in Australia.
But worst of all, because this traumatic experience happened while I was abroad… I even began to get scared of travel as a whole.
Why I am I telling you all this?
Well, it’s definitely NOT to convince you to not travel or something ludicrous like that. I mean, do I really need to keep emphasising how much I think travel is amazing?
It’s also definitely NOT to convince you to not travel to Australia. I mean, come on! I get googly-eyed any time I think about Australia and I’d LOVE to go back at some point to do what I haven’t yet done.
And in all honesty, chances are that you’ll never have a traumatic trip experience, that comes anywhere near to the one that I happened to have in Australia. One that was partially caused by my own underlying mental health issues, and the severe circumstances of my specific experience that ended up exacerbating those issues. Something that can happen anywhere in the world, including at home.
But I AM telling all this to you, to make a point.
Even if you’ve failed, been knocked to the ground or have been cut to the bone… you can always try again.
Despite having developed a bit of a fear of travel, as a result of my recent experience… I’m going to try again.
It takes a lot of courage to stand back up and try again, when you’ve been knocked to the ground.
And if I didn’t love travel as much as I do, I honestly might not have bothered.
But because I love travel so much, I don’t want my recent negative experience to prevent me from having positive experiences in the future. I don’t want it to put me off from travel altogether.
And although I’m still in the process of healing and resolving that trauma, I now feel strong enough to try again.
And this time… I’m going to do things much differently.
- I’m going on a yoga retreat. Yoga, in general, is great for mental health issues and healing trauma.
- The retreat is only going to be 6 days long, as opposed to 1-2 years.
- It’s going to be in the hills of Southern Spain, as opposed to 13,000 miles away in Australia.
- As a result of that, I’ll have easy access to loved ones at home, as opposed to them being inaccessible due to differing time zones.
- I know all the details concerning the experience I’ll have, as opposed to being uncertain about everything.
- I’ll have other retreaters sharing the experience with me, as opposed to being essentially alone.
I’m deliberately and purposefully cultivating a travel experience, that will help ease me back into the travel life.
One that is according to my current needs and boundaries and that I believe will support me in my healing journey.
This is the first time that I’ll be travelling solo abroad since my traumatic experience in Australia and honestly, I’m a little bit scared.
It’s not easy to get back up and dust yourself off, after you’ve been knocked to the ground.
But what other option do I have exactly? Stay on the floor and never try anything again ever?! That doesn’t sound like a life that I’d want to live.
So here I am, plucking up the courage to travel again and not allowing myself to give up on the kind of life that I want to live. A full life where I spend my time on this earth doing the things that I love.
One of them being… Travel 🙂
Have you ever had a difficult\traumatic trip experience that shook you up and how did you gain the courage to travel again? What do you think about getting up and trying again, after something knocks you down?
Be Brave & Be Kind,