Longing For Paradise

What a strange week it’s been! 
I didn’t think, for one second, I’d ever be mentally or physically strong enough to travel to another country. The fear of airports, airport security, the feeling of restriction, of flying, the pressure of remaining calm and the ‘what if I get ill’ thoughts consumed any idea of me ever enjoying a week abroad in a warmer climate. 

For some time though, I’ve craved travel. Scanning through images on friend’s Instagram at beautiful poolside areas, sea views, stunning landscapes and food wrapped in culture, all I wanted was to experience it myself. When I was of a sound mind, I took for granted the ability to travel the world, and since my mind became less clear I regret that choice a lot. 

Earlier in the year, I was looking at a milestone birthday and felt the time was right. I wanted to go on holiday, I wanted some heat, I wanted to hear the sea, walk along a beach, and I knew what it would take to get me there, but I felt ready. 

The time rolled around, we left booking anywhere until the last minute to make sure I was absolutely ready. I wanted to not only make it special, but wanted to pay for anything that would make my life easier, which resulted in a 5 star holiday in Croatia, with extra leg room on the plane for space and private car to and from the airport. All seems extravagant, but I skint myself on these small things which for me would be one less thing I would have to worry about. 

As the the holiday got closer I was losing sleep, fearing the worst, feeling ill and dreading what was to come. I spoke regularly with my girlfriend who offered me reassurance of not having to do anything that I didn’t want to, and to take my time. The difference this time was that I DID want to. I looked at pictures, I scanned reviews, planned the airport, everything I needed so I knew exactly what was going to happen. 

We got to the airport and anxiety kicked in. We checked in quickly, sailed through security and I was in the waiting area fighting back thoughts of ‘you can no longer get out of this’. After preparing myself to head to the gate, the flight was delayed. I’d built myself up and was suddenly knocked back down into nausea and uncertainty. My anxiety was very high, but so was my determination. I fought on, ate a little food and waited for the time to roll round – and then the gate was open and we were ready. 

The rest is standard anxiety, I was trembling while boarding, legs of jelly and a mouth as dry as Ghandi’s flip flop – but behind me was determination. 

I boarded, we flew, we landed and we climbed into the car heading to the hotel. It was that straight forward. The flight was pleasent, the staff were great, the arrival airport was small and friendly. I’d done it.  

It wasn’t until the day after I could sit and reflect on what had happened. Through anxiety, I’d pushed on and believed I could do it. I’d fought any anxious feeling with pure determination of wanting to experience something new. Laid in the sun, I could feel the warmth on my face, hear the sea behind me, smell the incredible food and stunning views that left me constantly in awe. 

I’d spent 4 years knowing I was unable to take the leap and feel the freedom to learn new cultures, new languages, taste new food, feel sunshine that can only be felt in another country, see the crystal blue sea and meet people. 

Yet here I am, laid pool side with a drink, sun on my face, and I’m able to understand that what I ‘knew’ wasn’t correct at all. With the right training, attitude and defiance I’ve longed to regain, I was able to another country filled with beautiful food, music, views and people. I’m slowly beginning to learn that nothing is out of reach, and to never take anything for granted. 

Be defiant. Be determined. Be successful. 

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