In 2009, aged 23, I realised that I’d spent the last 4.5 years of my life in a relationship with a man I only thought I loved. So I did something truly outside my comfort zone and bought a round-trip-tricket to South East Asia for three months the following year.
I’d like to tell you that it was the happiest time of my life but since I appreciate and value honesty, I won’t. I will say I had some incredible times and met some amazing people but after suffering with depression for 10 years and having my heart broken just weeks before my departure date, I was in no mood to appreciate the adventure. However, as the saying goes, we don’t always get what we want in life but instead get what we need and Asia was exactly what I needed.
I cried tears of laughter and tears of sadness. I danced the nights away in frivolous fun and learned that there is no better feeling in my life than diving. I made mistakes and I made friends. And though, on the whole, it wasn’t a trip I look back on too fondly, it did help me realise three fundamental truths about myself:
I am a traveller
I am a listener
I am a writer
Asia did, however, awaken my love of travel, diving and writing which, a few weeks after returning home, caused me to book my 7 week overland trip through sub-Sahara Africa. Little did I know when I handed over my card to pay for that trip just how much my life would change.
Those 7 weeks travelling from South Africa to Kenya were the hardest yet most rewarding weeks of my life and there isn’t a day goes by even 3 years later that my heart doesn’t ache to go back to the Motherland. I learnt so much about life, nature and myself that, though I still looked the same on the outside, I felt a totally changed woman who finally understood herself and came to peace with the person I had become.
I came face to face with myself, my mistakes, my life and it was incredibly hard especially when I was surrounded by strangers but I became so much stronger for it. My heart cried tears I had held back for years but I cried even more happy tears experiencing nature up, close and personal. Nothing comes close to falling asleep under the stars or watching a herd of 30 elephant at a watering hole in the middle of the night.
Africa wasn’t about the other people I met on my trip but the experiences that affected my soul and I’ve taken those lessons with me every day since.
On returning I sadly had a breakdown which set my life and travel plans back a couple of years but I knew what I had to do…
Pay off my loan, book a ticket to Australia and continue to make travel a huge part of my life.
And I did it! So in October 2013, despite an immense amount of anxiety and fear, I got on a plane with a one-way ticket and never expected to look back. Life happens when we least expect it however and Australia and Sydney were not to work out. I was depressed, poor and, unknown to me at the time, extremely sick. And so, I flew home as an emergency, unable to accept just how abruptly my ‘dream’ had come to an end.
I spent four months at home adjusting to the news of my diagnosis, taking medication and attempting to work out what it meant for my life and how it affected my dreams of travel. I spent countless nights awake wondering if I could or would make it back to Australia and what that then meant for myself.
It’s September 2014 now and I’m happy to say that I’m back in Australia and working on my 2nd year visa so that I can head back to Sydney to make it work for me this time!
What’s in a name?
My website has a special name with a very personal meaning behind it. When I began writing here I already had 10 years of depression behind me and I had made so many mistakes and had so many regrets because of its consequences that I wanted my website to be my mission statement. That after losing so many years of my life to the illness, it was time to start reclaiming my future.
Since I love to write honestly and emotionally about all things, not just travel, I recently started a new website called Reclaiming Your Future; a place with thought-provoking pieces and advice for everyone from the 20-something not sure about life to the 50-year old suffering with depression. It’s something I’m exceptionally proud of and hope you will be a part of it.
So who am I really?
I’m just a girl.
A girl determined to change her ordinary to the extraordinary by facing her demons and living life to the full.