Taking the leap
280 days. 26 flights. 6 countries on 3 continents. 41 cities and islands. A countless number of new experiences. Scuba diving, skydiving, bungee jumping. Traveling by car, motorbike, scooter, jetski and boat. Bull sharks, great whites, manta rays, millions of fish and beautiful creatures underwater. Kangaroos, koalas, monkeys, and many more animals on land.
Hundreds, if not thousands of people from all over the world. A whirlwind of emotions. Happiness. Sadness. Loneliness. Belonging. Fear. Braveness. Disappointment.
One day, I wasn’t able to take another step. The next, I could climb mountains. I fell in love and was loved. I learned to trust – others and myself. I found myself heartbroken, and I found a new me. But more importantly than anything else, I got to see how beautiful this world is and how blessed I am to be able to experience all of this.
I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 14 years old. Naming the things that happened to me helped, but it didn’t get easier. I was still a child and some things just didn’t make sense. Even if you fight as hard as you can, you depend on the people around you. To help you. To be kind. Growing up and being an adolescent is hard. Growing up and being an adolescent with an indisposition seems impossible at times.
Therapy sessions, psychotropics, and helpful advice are good friends. But even a good friend can betray you and all these measures can lead to a false sense of security. While you can learn to handle the symptoms, you might never really learn to trust yourself again if you avoid difficult situations and face them on your own.
Have you ever traveled on your own? Without knowing anyone? Maybe even without speaking the language of the country, you were visiting?
I always felt the need to move. To explore new places. To see new things and to keep my mind busy. Traveling on my own was the perfect solution, but it always involved challenges. While I liked this part when I was younger and felt mentally stable, it scared me when things got stressful or I was overwhelmed by opportunities and decisions I had to make.
If you would ask me when or why I decided to leave my home country without a return ticket, my answer would always be ‘I just knew’. I trusted my gut and it was the best decision I ever made. I did not have a plan. Where would I go? How long would I stay? Neither did I know what to expect.
It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a plan or a goal I wanted to achieve. For the first time, I did things just for the fun of it and not to prove anything.
Traveling offered me new experiences, new choices, and new ways to see the world – every single day. It allowed me to discover new sides of myself and to make peace with old ones I had previously rejected. It taught me that not everything is the way it seems and that there are endless perspectives you get to choose from. That I get to make new decisions every day without having to justify them. That a ‘no’ can become a ‘yes’ and that the flaws we see in people are often just a reflection of our own insecurities.
Most importantly it taught me humility, that perfection does not make me happy and that I can find comfort in the unknown.
The Healing Power
Over the years I often felt like leaving this world was my only option, and I was okay with that. But seeing all these beautiful places, hearing the stories of all these wonderful people, and realizing that I made it through hundreds of difficult situations all by myself gave me hope. It gave me faith and confidence and the deep-seated conviction that I was capable of everything and anything that was yet to come.
I finally wanted to stay again.
Interview: In pursuit of truly slow life at The Kip in Sri Lanka
Cabiner: A cabin in the woods in The Netherlands
Estancia El Bordo de las Lanzas