It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in a concrete jungle or if you are living in a little wooden shed on the beach – if you don’t know how to be happy and how to deal with your pain, you will hurt no matter where you are.
Note: English is not my first language. Sometimes it feels more natural to me to write in English though.
Apologies for any mistakes.
Music I listened to while writing this article:
Today I was randomly checking the time I have spent traveling so far: it’s been 499 days. Which gives me just reason enough to celebrate the upcoming 500th day with another post.
It is now, that for the first time in my life, I feel like I can be totally honest with myself and with whoever reads this.
Day 0 – 365
From day one of this trip and even before that, I already knew that this adventure wouldn’t be the poster-type journey you can buy in a holiday catalogue.
The first step I took to prepare myself for ‚traveling the world‘ made me realize, that at some point I will have to deal with whatever is lingering under the surface of my positive outlook on life.
For over a year I managed to travel and work and keep up the smile that connected me to so many of you.
And don’t get me wrong- I was mostly happy, it’s just that the moments where the pain was hard for me to handle got more and more frequent over time.
I know it may not come as a surprise to the one’s I’ve been closer with, but especially in the last 6 months, I was struggling a lot.
Not only with my attempt to make enough money in Australia to go on traveling, but moreover, with the pain that was building up inside of me.
I know and I’ve heard that it might seem quite absurd to see someone who is seemingly enjoying themselves so much, traveling the world, having all the freedom possible, to say: I’m not that happy.
And that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the countries, the people and the cultures I’ve decided to visit, the experiences I’ve made, and the people I’ve met. It has nothing to do with that. I love traveling more than I can describe and I am so happy I went on this adventure.
It is never about the place, it’s myself that I bring everywhere I go that is causing me to have moments of deep pain rooted in past events.
It is when I was in the midst of the pain that the world seemed so dark and life seemed to be without hope. There was this vague emptiness that lingered on my spirits; the kind of emptiness that seemed to take it all away and sucked the energy right out of my body.
In my late teens and early twenties, I was dealing with an eating disorder and depressive episodes because I never felt home in a society that builds itself up on hatred and fear. Pushed into a system that didn’t allow any freedom or space to grow (besides the usual path they advise you to take once you leave school), I built up more and more resentment against that kind of life, while still trying to somehow fit in.
(Don’t get me wrong- this is not an attempt to criticize anyone who feels home and ok within this system. This is purely my experience.)
Day 356 – 449
The moment it peaked for me was when I found myself in a place spiritually and locally where I could not see myself grow out of my pain. I felt as if all that is in me is pain and hopelessness and the knowing, that I cannot thrive and live happily in a system that undermines spiritual/health related growth (that is at least, how it felt and still sometimes feels to me).
My eating disorder crept back into my life, stronger than ever, bringing up massive amounts of pain and leading me straight back into a depressive state of mind.
Accompanied by some things from the past that I haven’t dealt with enough, it grew into a cocktail that I just wasn’t willing to drink anymore.
What I failed to see at that point was, that the seed for me to grow and to overcome these feelings, was and has always been rooted deep inside of me. All I needed to do was to find a ray of light that would tingle me just enough to make it sprout and grow and blossom into something amazing that has been with me all along.
In the darkest hour of that journey, I did not want to go on living. I had lost hope for change, because past experiences had shown me that I will always end up in a dark room, cold, covered in blankets questioning my all being and disliking my state of mind.
It was then that I realized something. Something that inevitably came with the thought of not wanting to live. If I would give up on life, I would give in to death. And although for a brief moment that thought shocked me, there was also hope and a feeling of relief.
I reached a point where I had nothing to lose.
There it was. That ray of light I was so desperately longing for.
A slight feeling of hope began to grow, that if I dedicate myself to healing my wounds – no matter what it takes – then maybe, just maybe I will find a way out of the emotional state I dreaded to be in.
The Only way to get through it, is to get through it.
It was then that I finally opened up to my family, who never knew what was going on. I wanted to handle everything on my own, always. I didn’t want them to worry about me, especially with me being on the other side of the world.
Telling my family and letting go of „always being strong“ was the hardest and the best thing I could’ve possibly done.
We cried and talked for a long time and it brought me closer to them than ever before. Asking for help was never something I was good in, but facing the darkness that nearly led me to a place of no return, I overcame my ego and reached out for help.
Day 449 – 499
One and a half months ago I came back to Chiang Mai, a place that has been my home since the day I set foot here in September 2015.
It was a life-saving decision to take 3 months out of my (traveling)life to really focus on myself and let go of all the things that would distract me from healing.
Facing the half-time of these 3 months now, I can wholeheartedly say that I feel better than in a very, very long time. I broke out of the chains that held me hostage and I opened up to a ‚Me‘ that I had long forgotten about.
I am falling in love with myself all over again, learning to appreciate whatever feeling comes up, and how do take care of myself.
Being surrounded by like-minded people is one of the most amazing things on this journey and it shows, that there are and will always be people I can count on and who will be there for me as much as I am there for them.
Mom, Dad, Katti, I wouldn’t be here without you.
Chiang Mai, I Love you.
Joe, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Everyone I’ve met so far: Thank you. You couldn’t have made this experience more amazing.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t seem to find hope, I really hope that there are people in your life that you feel you can share with. If you don’t have anyone, you can always write me a message.
Share your thought’s in the comments with me.
Feel like sharing my words? I will be forever thankful.