So, a few days ago I just got back from a three week trip to Asia. And people, let me tell you; It literally changed my life. And I’m not saying this in some kind of 19-year-old-girl-who -just-did-a-study-abroad annoying way (because we all know how annoying they are). Im saying this in a genuine truly deep and sincere way.
While in Asia we were on our feet all day, everyday. Whether it was climbing waterfalls, hiking ridges, walking through cities, or simply enjoying a stroll along the beach with a coconut in hand. During my time in Asia my depression and anxiety were completely gone. Literally.
Like, Zero. Nonexistent, Elvis Had Left The Building!
And I think I know the answer as to why. Here in Auckland Im not living. I have a job that I hate and that honestly pays like shit. It isn’t what I want either. My job is meaningless. It isn’t challenging, nor is it creative, nor is it filled with adventure, nor does it change the world. It is literally everything I dreaded that would happen to my life. A stagnant meaningless pile of shit.
I have no real friends here.
I’m not in a relationship here.
So why am I here?
In Bali, one of the places we stayed on the trip (and probably the most life-changing). There were rice farmers who, by western standards, make salve wages.
But you know what? They’re so much more satisfied with this life than most of us in our well-payed Western Countries. After their work day you would just see groups of friends laying on the side of the road talking. Surrounded by their scooters and the stray dogs that roam much of Bali. Talking. Laughing. Enjoying life. They live in a horribly oppressive and corrupt country. They literally earn pennies compared to what we earn. But then you just look at them; Their smiles. Their joy of just living. You can’t help but realize, that were the ones who are missing out in life.
From talking with many of the locals what I’ve learned about Balinese culture is that they have very intense and strong bonds with their families and friends. Life for them isn’t a rat race like it is for us. It isn’t about making money to get more material goods to impress your next door neighbors. It isn’t about men buying sports cars to be the alpha male. It isn’t about spending a thousand dollars on a Vegas trip so you can fuck some girl at the “coolest club in town”.
Life for them is still a very deep and personal one.
It honestly was beautiful. We, as tourists, have completely changed Bali. We have transformed parts of the coast into tourist playgrounds. We fuel an illegal drug trade into the island, and certain tourists treat the locals similar to how the American South treated slaves. They treat the locals like “the help”. And despite all that, every local will smile at you. They will wave. If they know English they will even greet you with a “Hello”.
Furthermore, it was an adventure. Travel always brings out an increased sense of emotion. Everything is so new. So bright. So vibrant. It always brings out the inner-child inside of you. That person that you’ve lost from the wave after wave of shit in your life.
So, I’m proud to say that I’m leaving New Zealand. The day after I got back from my trip I told my job I was quitting. Im going to be heading back to America for a few months to see family and gather my thoughts. Then, I’m going to work towards a goal. A goal I should have always worked towards because deep down its what I always knew I wanted. I was just too afraid to do it.
I want to do travel writing. I love travel. I love the industry of travel: Airlines, airports, hotels. I love the culture of travel: Meeting all the new people and seeing all the new things. I love the adventure of travel: The good and the bad that creates life-long memories.
From there I would love to do Ted Talks and write books about mental illness. Talk about how I struggle with mental illness but that I don’t let it stop me. Because you know what people, WHY ARE WE LETTING IT STOP US????????
Every day we don’t live our lives. Every time we decide to not do something. All because of mental illness…. Well, the mental illness wins.
Play this and then continue reading!
Just look at me. In 2013 I was living in Australia and my depression, the depression I’ve lived with since I was 10, consumed me to the point where I broke out in anxiety. Which led to health anxiety and agoraphobia. I was collapsing on street corners. I got fired from my job for being too mentally unstable. At one point I couldn’t even leave my apartment. And look at me now:
That photo is of me standing in Ubud, Bali looking out into the beauty of the world.
There is no reason for us to not live our lives. Whats the worst that can happen? We die? Well listen up people, if we never live to begin with then were already dead inside.
AND FUCK THAT.
You and me, were better than that. We have experienced such intense pain in the world. Pain a lot of people don’t get. But you know what, if we have the capacity to feel intense pain, it also means we have the ability to feel intense joy.
And if you ever tell yourself you can’t do it, remember my words:
WE CAN DO THIS. I FUCKING PROMISE.
If I can go from almost dying in 2013 to traveling the world in 2015 then I guarantee you that you can make it through the day. Its all about baby steps people. One foot in front of the other. Then suddenly, we start to move a bit quicker. And quicker. And then at one point you’ll look down and realize you’re running. Faster than you ever thought possible.
As you look up, you’ll see you’re friends running beside you. Maybe they’re old friends. Or maybe they’re ones you haven’t met yet. You are laughing. You are smiling. In front of you is that departure gate for your flight. As you board the plane you’ll feel absolutely nothing but joy. You’re about to take off. Into the sun. Into your new life. A life of excitement, adventure, and the real you.
Fly High People!
~The Dark Horse
(And no this wasn’t proofread! This was written with emotion!!! You can’t proofread emotion! …Well I guess you could….but I didn’t! BAM!)