Day 1 on my big Down Under trip. To say it was hard, and my anxiety was trying me is an understatement. My flight didn’t leave until 6 PM on March 1st so my mind had all day to freak me out. My heart was racing and I was nauseous and light headed. I contemplated cancelling the Australian and New Zealand parts of my trip and only going to Bali. Of course what was going to stop my anxiety from rearing its ugly head 2 weeks later rather than now.
I have been seeing lately that the use of trigger warnings can actually slow someone’s healing who has all sorts of trauma. If you avoid what makes you have an anxiety attack or makes you depressed, you aren’t pushing yourself and inevitably babying yourself. In the end you never learn to deal with the anxiety.
I finished over 400 pages of a book in the span of 24 hours. I realized how it distracted me from my anxiety and I didn’t want to put it down. When I went to India I used lavender essential oil in my scarf. Lavender is known for calming but the act of breathing deeply and slowly also is incredibly helpful. I did bring lavender this time too, but I know breathing techniques thanks to that trip to India.
When I arrived at my hostel, I was 7 hours early for check in. Since I was so tired from flying all night I just stayed in the hostel lounge and read. I could feel my anxiety kicking in as everyone started waking up and making brekkie. All these different languages and I noticed basically everyone was in a group. Finished that book (which sucks being only 1 day into my trip) and checked in. Turns out the other 5 girls in my room are all in a group, their suitcases are everywhere (here’s where the OCD is rearing its ugly head), and they are speaking to each other in what I think is Chinese (although they do greet me in English and point out my locker and bunk to me).
I started feeling much more alone and secluded than being thousands of miles away from your family and friends already does. But I took a shower, and made my way to the grocery store. The second I was outside in the sunshine, I remembered how I like being alone to a certain extent and started scouting out restaurants for dinner.
The first day I think will be the hardest (knock on wood), and I feel much more equipped to take this month by storm
Day 2. Before I left everyone told be how brave I was, a world traveler, free spirit. I didn’t feel like it since every other thought on my mind was “Why am I doing this?” “Going alone?” “Just cancel” “Just go to Bali, that was the reason behind the trip anyway.” I was riddled with fear. How could I be brave? Why did everyone think I was so brave?
Even though I have heard the quotes about fear and bravery like:
“Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important.” -Mark Manson
It makes sense abstractly, but when you are in that “weak” self-deprecating state, the last thing you think you are is brave.
Bravery is what hero’s in stories are, heading to battle ready to give their life to their kingdom. How can a 23 year-old-California-born-and-raised-barely-a-real-adult be brave?
I think it clicked for me today. I was feeling homesick after talking to my dad and had a brief thought, “Why don’t I just fly home? I would be so happy and cozy back at home.”
But what a waste. I, like I think a lot of people, have become so accustomed to the comforts of home, they never do anything crazy like travel in another hemisphere for a month. I have noticed that tendency in me and, while I love being at home in my comfy bed, you aren’t able to see all corners of the world from there. Not really.
I mean Virtual Reality isn’t that good yet, right?
While I am a little lonely, I am ok with that. I read some (a lot) more, sat by the pool at my hostel, and got a sunburn before going to a delicious sushi dinner, braving (see what I did there) the thunder storm that had hit.
Day 8. This time around I think I know what I need for my anxiety. These last few days in Melbourne have been great, and feel like the “real” start of this trip. On the third day in Brisbane I was out and about a lot more and that help jump me into exploring Melbourne right off the bat.
I feel much better being alone, I have walked over 21 miles in the last 3 days just checking out the city. I remembered how much I love museums and parks.
This is only the beginning of my trip but I can already tell it is going to fly by!