Confession: I don’t want to go to Australia

Being that I write online; the internet affords me the luxury of lying or at the very least; pretending to be something or someone I’m not. And yet, despite this, I have decided to be open with you more than ever.

You see, I don’t want to go to Australia. Correction, somewhere deep inside my soul I know that I do and I NEED to go but if you ask me as I sit on this coach on the way to the airport, I will tell you that I don’t want to go and what lies ahead fills me with nothing but dread. I’m not proud of that but neither can I just ‘get over it’ as I so desperately want to do.

Some people are able to take huge physical and emotional journeys in their stride and I commend them but I am not one of them. I am the person that sits in the airport wondering how much money I’d lose if I don’t get on the flight. Some of that stems from the fact that I am an emotional person by nature which means I feel the highs and lows of life greater than others. Some of it stems from the fact that more people than you realise suffer the ‘The Travel Meltdown’ (that’s another post for another day) and I am part of the majority. But most of it, this time, stems from the fact that I am still recovering from my breakdown last year in which I was stripped of all my confidence, lost my self-esteem and any threads of positivity were crushed; I am attempting to be strong at a point in my life where I feel the weakest.

And yet, my inability to cope at the thought of my impending trip has surprised me. I expected the travel meltdown because I didn’t feel strong enough to get on the plane. What I wasn’t expecting was Australia to break me before I had even arrived at the airport.

I tried to tell people how I was feeling but they never understood. I had to ask friends and family to stop asking about Australia because I didn’t want to think about it since when I did, I would be in tears but it never went without more questions.

“Why don’t you want to talk about Australia?”

“Why aren’t you excited?”

The more they asked, the more upset and embarrassed I became. At a time in my life when everyone wanted to know what was going on with me and what my plans were, I couldn’t open my mouth without tears forming. No one knew the extent of my despair. No one except mum. The woman who would cuddle me until I was so exhausted from crying I would almost be asleep. The woman who couldn’t cry in front of her daughter or tell her she would miss her because it upset me too much to see her sad. The woman who felt every bit of sadness, anxiety and stress I went through and never asked for anything in return. She became the only person I could truly be myself with; the only person who would allow my tears to fall without judgement and questions.

Rightly or wrongly, since my breakdown and the fallout of it over the last couple of years, my mum has become my best friend, my confidante, my world. The thought of not being able to hug her each night or snuggle up on the sofa to watch some TV has crippled me. That may sound like dramatisation but it’s the truth. I had no idea how I was going to leave her because the thought terrified me. Even on a weekend in London I ring her 2 or 3 times a day. Suddenly we will be thousands of miles apart and we will have to coordinate our calls; I saw nothing but sadness at the prospect of saying goodbye. I am suffering from separation anxiety like a toddler going to nursery. It’s not hard to see why. When I was so ill, she went from being my friend/mum to my care giver. Short of washing and feeding me, she had to do everything which meant I relied on her emotionally to an extent I could never describe so I am struggling more than ever to leave her and begin a life without her physically beside me.

Taking a risk as big as Australia is not something that comes easily to me. I was brought up to be logical, sensible and to think things through before I made decisions which would be fine; except once you add depression and anxieties, suddenly the unknown becomes a concept that terrifies you to the core particularly when, aside from staying in a hostel for the first few days, everything is truly unknown and I’ve not coped well with it. In the dark of night, when I have nothing to distract me, my mind wonders to places I can’t always come back from and so I worry, not just about the next 4 hours or 4 years but the next 40. I wish I didn’t but it’s not something I can control, however much people want me to. I am plagued by the worry that I’ve made the wrong decision. That I have quit a stable job (however much I hated it), packed up my life and moved as far as physically possible and it won’t work out or I will realise it was the wrong decision for me.

I need to take this trip in the only way I know how to; baby steps. It might be a snails’ pace compared to others but I need to look after myself and if I need to take tiny steps to keep me moving forward then that is what I need to do. If this turns out to be the wrong decision for me afterall then, well, I will try and face it but I hope that this trip is everything I not only want it to be but need it to be. I desperately want to be happy and although I know my mental health won’t magically be fixed, if I can get anywhere close to happy despite my illness, I’ll consider it an achievement.

So whilst I now sit in the airport waiting to fly with my stomach in knots with heartbreak and anxieties, my only hope is that what lies on the other side of the flight is the ability to fix my broken soul.

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20 comments

  1. Toni being worries is totally fine – I was shitting it when I got on that plane.
    All you need to do is give it a chance, see where it takes you and open yourself up to possibilities.

    What’s the worse that can happen – you go home and have to start again? That’s nothing less than you were going to do in oz so it’s fine, you won’t come back defeated or anything like that.
    Travel helps give you perspective and the chance to see things from a different angle, if that means you decide you want to be back in the UK then go back to the UK, it’s a personal journey and you have to live life how you want to, not how others expect you to.

    Give oz a chance though, it’ll offer up some amazing places, people and opportunities in return.

    You won’t need it – but good luck 🙂 xx

    -1
  2. lynda lucas_Villar

    Hi my dear Toni, don’t be scared my darling, it saddens me you are scared what the future holds,you are a beautiful young lady with a very caring heart, and I know where ever you go people will love you dearly, mum has done a wonderful job and I know she is very proud of you.I am so sorry I wasn’t around to watch you grow up, but curcomstances did not allow that to happen. I will be out in Australia soon and I will look you up.Please contact Matt and Naomi, go on face book and type in Matt lucas and request tobe a friend, he knows you are coming to Sydney.You have a great time your loving godmum Lynda xxxxx

  3. Toni, when I did the same as you (quit my job, sold everything I owned) and went to Australia I was absolutely terrified. AND I’d never been on a plane before.

    I know it doesn’t feel like it right now but Australia will be fine. There are opportunities, new friends, new places and new perspectives to be gained from a change in scenery and direction.

    You might regret not going but you can never regret giving something a go. Right?

  4. Kerri

    I just thought I’d leave you a wee message, beautiful, to tell you how proud I am of you 🙂
    Take as many baby steps as you need, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. No one will judge you.
    I know you can do it. I know you can live your dream and then some!
    Life throws some major curveballs just to test us, to see how strong we are and how we’ll come out the other end.
    I know I haven’t been in touch recently (we have loads to catch up on!) but trust me, moving away from home is absolutely terrifying! I still have wee panic moments about being away from home, but my god it is so worth it.
    You might think.. What the hell am I doing? Why am I leaving? What have I done? It’ll all come clear as time passes.
    Time might feel like a bitch at times, but she’s also the best healer 🙂
    Love you honey! Thinking of you 🙂 xxx

  5. Mum

    Good to see you write again! Told you hundreds of others have/are going through the same! Really proud of you!! Love you so much xx

  6. Alison

    You are a brave girl to pack-up and leave home for the otherside of the world. I know I would be scared shitless if it were me. Just remember you are not alone. You have family and other connections in Oz, don’t be shy of using these if you need to (who knows where they may lead?) and, if things don’t work out for you, it is only a 1 day plane ride home. But it will work out for you Toni, I just know it will. Believe in yourself and the choices you have made. A xx

  7. Haleigh

    Toni,

    I know you have been terrified of this trip, but I think it will be good for you! You deserve and escape to paradise and a little break from reality. I know that you will, in time, find that it was worth it! Keep your head up and your imagination open! Your opportunities are endless!

    Follow your bliss!
    Haleigh

    P.S. Think about it this way, if you do end up back in the UK you get to spend all the time you want snuggling on the couch with mum!

  8. Hey Toni,

    I can relate to your post. I’m always second guessing myself, and wondering if I’m making the right decision. Some people hate their jobs every day, but “suck it up,” and repeat day after day. You, however, realized that you’re worth more then the just an office job or any job that doesn’t add any value to your life. The difference between you and them is that you realized it and did something about it. You took action. You made a plan. And you’re following through. GO YOU!

    Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means you’re scared shitless but do it anyway. You’re worth so much more. You’re worth Australia.

    P.S. I just had an eh day where I should be on the floor crying but I’m not. I just lost something I didn’t want in the first place, and I SHOULD be crying on the floor feeling like a failure, but I’m not. And this line “I am attempting to be strong at a point in my life where I feel the weakest” explains it all.

    Hugs

  9. I moved to Oz 6 years ago. I’ve now left, it wasn’t for me. I told everyone I’d give it 2 years, if I didn’t like it I’d be back. There is no shame in trying something and finding you don’t like it. You can always go home. Good luck, give it a chance, a few months at least.

  10. I can’t claim to know exactly what you’re going through, because everyone is different, but I have made big decisions in my life and been so scared that I had to take each and every day as it came, rather than thinking too far ahead. Just last week I made a huge decision which terrifies me, and I swing between excitement and fear. Just digest each day as it comes and if you love it in Oz, soon you won;t need to even worry about the future anymore.

  11. The fact that you are just going ahead and doing it is great! I’ve just arrived in Brisbane and have suffered a small bout of reverse culture shock after 7 months in Asia. I spent the first day holding back tears. Everything seemed so different but so familiar.
    I wish you the best of luck, Australia really does seem like paradise! Everyone is really friendly, the weather is beautiful and the cities are clean and organised, not stressful like elsewhere!

  12. You are amazing and brave and every single step you take is making you a stronger person. Bravery isn’t being able to jump head first into new experiences without batting an eyelid, bravery is doing what scares you and carrying on against the odds.

    You are amazing.

  13. I don’t think you realise how brave you are – not just in making this huge move in going out to Australia, but also in exposing all your fears and worries to the world and showing people that it’s not easy to do these things. Hopefully by now you’ll be arrived safely in Australia and the adrenalin of all the new sights and experiences will have taken over from the fear. Take things easy, do it your way and whatever happens I’m sure you’ll never regret trying x

  14. I’m sure you’ll love it. There were times where we were traveling and I hated the transportation. It was just so terrible that it made me angry about the place we were traveling to. But, waddya know, the destinations ended up being my most favorite places. Now, I know that’s a lot smaller than packing up and going to a place for a long period of time. But, who knows, it may just be your favorite. =)

  15. Chris – Good to know that I wasn’t the only one who was worried before getting on the plane (despite the bravado) lol.

    If I can’t find anything here in Sydney, I’ll just keep moving North until I find something and take it from there or head to Asia where evertyhing is super cheap until I work out a different plan.

    I think you’re spot on; it’s a personal journey and we constantly change as people so what is right for me now may not be what’s right for me in a few weeks or months so we’ll see how it goes and what opportunities come up. Thanks for the good luck hun! 🙂 xx

  16. Lynda – thank you for the lovely comment. I’m sure it will get easier with time. Mum has done an amazing job and I love her to bits for it 🙂 It’s just very overwhelming and scary right now but hopefully it will get better. xxx

  17. Beverley – I can’t believe you came all the way here without ever being on a plane before!! You are insanely brave!

    I’m sure it will work out eventually; it’s just crazily overwhelming right now but trying to be positive and remain hopeful. As you said, at least I can say that I’m giving it a go 🙂 xx

  18. Mike – it is indeed 🙂