A lot has happened in the last 6 months. I’m trying so hard not to dwell on the past in a negative way because what happened has happened and I’m just trying to move forward. The only way I want to look at the past right now is to see how I’ve grown and improved and that’s why I’ve written this post.
I am really amazed at the changes I’ve brought into my life in the last 6 months and I’m so proud of myself. I’ve had some life-changing experiences, some heartbreak and a lot of mistakes, but it’s all been worth it.
Back in August, I started a new job. I had been signed off for my mental health for a month and then traveled around Thailand for a month, so I felt ready to go back to work. However, I soon realised that maybe this wasn’t the right career for me. I was three years into a degree for something that I didn’t want to do with my life anymore and I was miserable every day going into a job where I felt constantly anxious and exhausted.
I hadn’t gone into work that day with plans to hand in my notice. I’d even been telling people in my life that I was going to hold on until my degree was finished. I hated the job, but I really thought I could push through until I had one day off and the relief I felt that I didn’t have to go to that awful place made it so much harder to go back. That morning I chatted casually to my boss, made plans to fill in a request form for a day off in December and went to work as usual. Then, things started to go wrong and I really just couldn’t handle it at all. I had to leave the room and my boss tried to calm me down. In the midst of my panic attack, I turned to my boss and said: “I don’t think I can do this job anymore”. It was the first time I had admitted it out loud even to myself and after an hour of crying in the staff room, phoning my best friend and my mum, I left and I never went back.
Being unemployed wasn’t fun. I was being rejected from jobs for having no customer service experience because all my experience was in childcare. The temp agency I joined didn’t even have any jobs going and I got so desperate that I applied to my local club as a bartender, even though I knew I would definitely not enjoy that. Then, I started speaking to someone I met while traveling about it and they suggested that I move somewhere else to get a job. I started looking into countries in Europe that aren’t too expensive to live and that I could get some work and I ended up looking into Prague.
When I first arrived in Prague, I was a mess. I still hadn’t dealt with my issues back home, I missed my last counseling session and I was essentially just running away from all my problems. I didn’t really have any friends yet and being far away from my support system was hard. I started applying for secondary jobs because I didn’t have enough money to live on and I ended up working for a Pub Crawl. Going from looking after children to looking after drunks wasn’t that much of a huge change and I really enjoyed meeting and talking to people.
I met some really amazing people through my work in the hostel and on the Pub Crawl, which finally made me feel supported again. I found some aspects of the Pub Crawl stressful and difficult (there was one particular night in the snow dealing with drunks throwing snowballs at me and being assholes, which resulted in me crying on everyone). I had decided that I was going home a bit earlier than planned. However, after I booked my flight I regretted my decision and extended my time in Prague until Christmas. I did this because I really liked someone and I wanted to stay to be with her. It didn’t work out in the end, but I don’t regret my decision to stay at all.
In the middle of my mental breakdown in Prague, I decided to book a trip to India and Sri Lanka. I wanted to have a really authentic travel experience where I could “find myself” and experience a totally different culture to what I have before. That was one of my best decisions last year, along with getting my nipples pierced. I didn’t do that during the mental breakdown I did it just before I came home because I couldn’t think of the right tattoo design and I wanted something cool to take away from Prague. Not your average souvenir!
Saying goodbye to everyone in Prague was horrible. I cried at the tram stop, I cried in the hostel, I cried in the street. I was a mess. I really didn’t want this part of my life to be over. I didn’t know when I was going to come back and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with 2019. It was really bittersweet because I was actually quite excited to return to England and see everyone.
After Christmas, I went on a trip to Paris with my best friend for New Year’s Eve. We met some amazing friends at the hostel and convinced them to come on a New Years Eve pub crawl with us. We visited some beautiful places in Paris, like the Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, etc. and we also went to Disneyland Paris when it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. It was an incredible week and made me so excited to travel with Abbie later this year. Although getting blackout drunk maybe isn’t the best start to the year, as I don’t remember the countdown to midnight, I had a lot of fun (from what I remember)!
Then I decided to book a few days back in Prague, because of the person I was missing there. Again, I definitely don’t regret doing that either no matter how it ended. I was so happy that week, which initially I felt sad about looking back but actually I shouldn’t feel sad about good memories. It’s the memories from that week that have made me cry around Prague in the days following our breakup, but actually, now I’m in a much better mental space to process everything and I’m not sad anymore.
Then, I went to India. Oh my goodness, I have got some blog posts coming for you all about this wonderful life-changing trip. Arriving in Dehli was slightly terrifying and just walking around, I did have a few moments where I wondered what I had got myself into. It didn’t feel real that I was actually in India until I saw a glimpse of the Taj Mahal in the distance from the Agra Fort. This whole trip was unreal. I got to experience the kite flying festival on the rooftop of my tour guide’s family home, camel riding in the desert, beautiful sunsets and sunrises in some of the most beautiful places I had ever seen, every single moment was amazing. I also got my palm read in Udaipur and it was really freaky how much he knew about my life and he also predicted my breakup. Let’s see if he gets my marriage date, number of children and death age right too then!
Sri Lanka was amazing in a completely different way. I arrived alone and struggled for the first couple of days. Once I had some time to lay on the beach and recover from the constant busy schedule of my India trip, I was good to go. That’s the day that my new friends checked into the hostel and we started our adventure together.
I’m so glad that I met them and although, I was still struggling with my mental health at the time more than I wanted to admit, I was so happy to be surrounded by amazing people. We met so many lovely people at each hostel on our journey, particularly in Mirissa where we did a surf and yoga camp. I was so bad at surfing and everyone else seemed to be able to do it, so I was getting frustrated at myself. The first time I stood up on the board and everyone was cheering for me was one of my highlights of the whole trip. We actually decided to get matching wave tattoos on that day and got them together in Ella. I’m glad to say I’ve made some friends for life on this trip.
Heading to Europe with my cousin was next on the agenda, after only 5 days back in the UK. I am so glad that she enjoyed the trip, as she doesn’t travel very often, but I’m proud to say I think I’ve given her the travel bug. It was my first Contiki trip and it’s really made me think that maybe I want to give that job a try when I’ve finished traveling this year. It was a group of about 50 people and we visited Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and Vienna. I’m gonna have to do separate posts about each place, because I did a lot and I really enjoyed it. I did do a post about the food I ate there though if you wanna check that out here.
I never would have had the confidence to take part in a trip like that a few years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of new people. It’s made me realise how much more of a social experience traveling is now compared to my earlier trips where I did a lot on my own. My anxiety does crop up in different ways when I travel, but I’m much more outgoing compared to before. I could do a whole other post on my mental health state while I have been traveling this year, but that’s just giving myself more work to do!
I’ve been back in Prague for just over a week and I’m doing well. I’ve been dealing with a breakup which has been shit, but I feel like I’m actually in a much better place than I was. I’ve spoken about this in more detail in another post, which you can read here if you want. I feel like since I’ve been back I’ve actually taken the time to focus on myself rather than hide from my real problems with distractions and it’s definitely a positive thing.
Looking back over the last 6 months makes me so proud of everything I’ve done. I wouldn’t say I’ve made any conventional achievements because I haven’t done anything in education or with my career for 6 months, but personal growth is just as important.
People always tell me how brave I am to move to a different country alone or to travel alone and say that it’s good that I’m “finding myself”, but that isn’t what I felt when I went. It isn’t until now that I look back on it all and I can see how each thing I’ve done as had an impact on how I live my life now. I wouldn’t say I’ve found myself, I think I’m still working out my place in the world. However, I think that the last 6 months of my life are a very important chapter and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for me.