For those of you that have read my story, you’ll know a lot of this already but today is a special day and I wanted to be able to show that whilst you may struggle, things can change for the better, it just takes a little time and determination.
We all struggle in life. We have bad times, lost times, sad times. You don’t want to look to your past because it’s painful, you feel bored living in the present and the future looks just as bleak as you feel. You don’t think your life is ever going to change and you’re right because nothing is every going to change unless you make the first step towards it. Life is about learning through making mistakes, not perfect decisions.
A couple of years ago, I thought I would never be happy. I knew there would be moments where I would experience it but I didn’t think I would ever be able to say that I was content or happy with my life; I thought that only happened to other people. I didn’t think I would ever know what I wanted to do with my life, or feel driven but then, something happened. I experienced something that altered the course of my life and I wanted to share it with you…
Two years and 1 day from today, I was in London by myself for the weekend visiting the Adventure Travel Show and scared to death but extremely excited about my three months solo around Asia which I had planned for March 15 2010. Life felt pretty damn good. I was also, although unknown to me at the time, pregnant. One day later, two years ago to this day, I found myself in a random London Hospital, alone, having a miscarriage. My world stopped and all that happiness I felt was within my reach came crashing down. I was at one of the lowest points in my life.
On the way home, I wrote a letter to myself, as a promise to the ‘future me‘, that I now carry with me wherever I go to remind me of how bad I used to feel so that I can appreciate how far I’ve come and how much life has changed. It’s deeply personal and I’ve never shown or told anyone about it but I want to prove to you that if I can change my life, you can to:
I miss you.
I’m not sure why you left or even where you went but I want you to come home; I need you.
Life hasn’t been the same since you went. I’ve made so many mistakes and lost so much; I can’t help feeling that if you’d stayed, none of this would have happened.
Did I say or do something to upset you? I wish you would tell me so I could fix it and you would come back to me.
You know, I thought I’d found you last year?! I was so close to reaching you but I fell over and when I looked up you had gone again. I’m still looking; I haven’t given up but I’m finding it harder to keep going, the more false leads I find.
How long has it been? 10? 11 years? I can’t even remember what you look like anymore and worry that when I do find you, we won’t recognise each other. I’ve changed. No matter what I’ve said in the past, I do need you. I know I pushed you away and I’m sorry for that; I just didn’t feel as though I deserved you.
I hope we find each other soon. I worry that the longer it takes to find you, the less likely it is you’ll want to see me. I’m not very well right now but I know that seeing you again would help. Even if you said ‘hello’ and left me with only a forwarding address, it would be better than nothing. Just knowing we were back in touch would put a smile on my face.
I hope you can forgive me?! I just want, no, need you to give me a second chance. I promise I won’t push you away again. You will be my top priority and I won’t let anything get in the way of our friendship.
I feel incomplete without you; life doesn’t feel worth living. I promise to respect, love and celebrate you if you’ll just come back to me Happiness.
Where have you gone H?
I miss you.
I need you.
It brings tears to my eyes writing that letter out knowing I felt so low but….
How have things changed since? Firstly, I took that first step to change and got on the plane to Asia. I’m not going to lie. Getting on the plane when I felt so scared and heartbroken was one of the hardest things I ever did and I didn’t have the ‘time of my life’ in those 3 months; I struggled. I cried beside pools, on the beach and booked private rooms just to be alone BUT I experienced moments of happiness so great that I knew I could keep going and that I should.
Life isn’t measured by the amount of times you fall down but by how many times you get back up again. When I had the moments so happy only my heart could measure, I knew that travel (and writing about it) made me happy, really happy. The type of happy that words fail to explain. That’s when I knew that despite everything that had happened in the past, travel and writing were my future. I was on the way to mending my heart and I began to feel that I could be content in life.
I won’t lie, coming home broke my heart all over again. Every street reminded me of my ex, every guy I bumped into looked just like him and friends announced their pregnancy at times I should have been expecting her. My heart ached with grief for six months before I finally felt ready to let her go and move on. We said goodbye when Sweetpea captured her own sunset…
That’s when my life really began to change, when I knew that I would be happy in life because I felt ready to live again.
So I began to prepare for my next trip…six weeks overlanding through Africa from South Africa to Kenya a few months later. I felt so much stronger heading into the trip and although the sheer thought of it scared the hell out of me, I knew I could do it.
Six weeks travelling through 7 countries was hard but incredible. I spent hours on the truck thinking and couldn’t sleep for all the thoughts running through my head; I was working through all the baggage in my life. The pain in my past, the routine of my present and the unknown fear of my future. But then it happened, I ‘found myself’ and suddenly everything in life clicked. It felt like I suddenly found the key to unlocking everything about myself. Right there and then, in that moment, I knew that, not only, was travel and writing what I was meant to do in life but I knew I could make it happen. I’d never known such confidence and self-belief before and couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about the endless opportunities ahead.
Travel did the talking. It allowed me to quietly unpack all my emotional baggage and gave me time to put it all back together neatly and in that, I found my own level of spirituality. I’m not sure I could have ever achieved it or truly appreciated it if I hadn’t gone through such hard times before I realised how happy travel makes me feel.
You can take the same journey. You can do something out of the ordinary and push yourself to achieve your dreams. It doesn’t have to be big; it can be something as simple as trying something you’ve never done before such as taking a day trip to a place you’ve never been. Knowing it’s something different and new can give you enough confidence to take on something bigger and better for the next step! I’m not travelling at the moment and I have a few big obstacles standing between me and my next trip but you know what? I’m ok with that. Before Asia, I would have just given up; I think, if I’m honest, I would have given up before Africa too but now that I’ve experienced nature at its finest? I feel whole and a whole heart can take you a long way in your life journey.
Two years ago today I lost Sweetpea, never thinking I would be happy and whilst I can still cry over my loss even today, I am content in my life.
If you think your life will never change and that you’ll never find your way you’re wrong. Take the first step and your feet will find the path for you.