It’s been incredibly hectic since my amazing two-week trip to three countries (Dubai, Kuwait, Istanbul). On top of catching up with work, friends and family, there’s the usual household chores and other adult responsibilities to handle now that I have returned.
Even though it’s back to the usual humdrum of life after such an amazing experience, I came back with a renewed sense of vigour and I am working on my personal projects even more than before.
Every time I come back from traveling internationally, I always feel like my soul has been refreshed and renewed, which makes dealing with my life and mental state a little better. There is something about being out of your usual element and thrown into new countries and new cultures that has always been a love of mine because I feel like not only am I experiencing something different that helps me discover my true strength and personality, it also gives me a sense of hope that my life truly is worth living. This says a lot, especially as someone who suffers from anxiety and depression.
During my trip to Tokyo earlier this year, I had moments where depression got the better of me. I am incredibly susceptible when I am exhausted, regardless if it was a good exhaustion of exploring and learning new things. I had gone for therapy before my trip, and was doing my best to handle my emotional outburst, but found myself still going back into the same patterns that would eventually lead me to feeling hopeless and worthless.
But because I was out of my element, I saw the patterns of my depression and emotional cues a lot better than I would have had I remained in the same environment. And though I did break down crying during my trip, I saw it as a sign that I was doing okay and needed that little time out. Even though I still failed in controlling the patterns of my depression until the end of the trip, I still came home feeling incredibly hopeful that I was going to get a better grip of my mental illness eventually, as I know the patterns now.
Sadly I was sucked back into my usual state after getting into a car accident and found myself really torn as the patterns of depression came back in my usual familiar environment. The effects of my Tokyo trip faded and I was back to battling anxiety and depression.
The recent trip to Dubai – Kuwait – Turkey was a trip I somewhat dreaded initially. It was going to be longer than my Tokyo trip and I felt incredibly guilty for going on another holiday, especially one so fully sponsored by my parents. But I remember missing out on a trip to America that was sponsored by my parents as well for the same reasons I felt guilty about now, and I regretted that decision. I constantly looked back at that moment and lamented how I missed out on a great opportunity. And though every part of me was trying to guilt trip me about going, I took a leap of faith and went for it.
I’m so glad I did it, because I have never felt so out of my element in such a long time. And it was amazing.
Walking on the hot desert in Dubai as the sun set, tasting the best hummus and bread (IMO) in Kuwait, being able to witness the Hagia Sophia and other great cultural buildings in Istanbul, every minute I was out of my element in a country which I didn’t know the language or understand the culture, helped me learn more about myself, how I feel about the world and my place in it, and I was in turn gifted with a renewed strength and vigour I never knew I had.
I am aware that this energy that I’m running on is borrowed fuel as I plan out and work on my personal projects. That soon, just like after Tokyo, reality would hit and I would be back to square one. But I think traveling has a way of changing you, even if the changes are subtle. After Tokyo, I set out to get started on this blog and though I still falter in updating this and it’s still not in the best state that I want it to be, I still did what I set out to do.
In the same way, those two weeks continue to impact me in a way that I hope will continue to keep me going in life. The effects are fading, as expected, but at least the memories of it all will keep me going for longer.
I cannot deny that I am truly blessed.