9 Mar 2017

Travelling through travels

Cyprus, 1996

When I was a kid, we didn’t travel a lot. We had a good amount of holidays but they were to the same places every year - we never actually travelled in the sense of exploring new places. Holidays abroad would always see us in Cyprus and holidays in the UK would mostly see us in Paignton, Weymouth or Bournemouth. And that suited me fine. I liked my routine and was nervous of change; I liked knowing what to expect and that everything would be good and fine.

(The signs were there, my anxiety says. The signs were right bloody there.)

When I was 17, I went on my first solo holiday. My friend and I went to Kos for a week. All inclusive, staying rooted to the resort, no travelling. The most outlandish thing we did was go on the back of the entertainment teams’ quad bikes one night to their private bar. They soon took us back to the hotel when they realised we weren’t interested in sex, drugs, or drinking. 

When I was 18, I flew on my own to Canada. “HERE WE GO,” you cry. “HERE COMES THE TRAVELLING, THE ADVENTURE, THE LETTING GO.” I stayed with my auntie and never left her side. Sorry.

By the time I hit 20 I was with my boyfriend, Ryan, and for my 21st we wanted to go on our first holiday together. What did I search for? All inclusive. Meals included, transfers included. We went to Tunisia and had a great week. I rode a camel and went paragliding on my actual birthday, it was fabulous. 

Tunisia, 2014

As a slight disclaimer, I should say now that I am in no way dragging all inclusive holidays, familiarity, or routine. Nor am I unaware of how lucky I was to have holidays, and so many of them, as a kid. I just want to give you a sense of what those holidays were like growing up. 

By 22, a lot had changed for me and my mindset had shifted. I wanted to DO things. All the things. Antidepressants had boosted me out of depression and displaced my anxiety, and I had moved out and secured my first job. I was earning money and having to learn to live in a new place, doing new things. I felt responsible, in control, and like I could actually do things without fear. 

Ryan took me to Bristol for my 22nd birthday. I’d never been to Bristol, or that side of the UK at all. We stayed in a B&B and, honestly, I was super nervous about it. It sounds ridiculous. But I hadn’t booked it *twitches* so had no idea what it would be like. I didn’t know the transport system in Bristol or what we could do there. I couldn’t imagine being comfortable and having a good time.

Bristol was fucking great. The B&B was super lovely, we ate some amazing food, and walked and walked and walked and walked… It was the greatest few days. Being taken out of my comfort zone was actually exciting. 

 Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, 2015

And so began my love for city breaks. Fuck it, and day trips. I spent last October quite ill but we said we’d go to Whitstable for the day one weekend so DAMN IT I WAS GOING TO WHITSTABLE. I’ve gone from being in my absolute element staying inside all day, being a total home bird, to getting tetchy like a tired toddler by 3pm if we’ve stayed indoors, needing to get out and go somewhere new. I EVEN LOVE LONDON BUSES NOW. London buses used to terrify me, but now I’d sooner get a bus than a tube or train. You can see more, experience more… and it’s way cheaper. 

This all sounds silly, I know it does. Being nervous of B&Bs and excited at the prospect of going to Whitstable. But… I don’t care. I will revel in anything now that has come from my mental health being taken control of. Getting out, about, and further and further out is a huge part of that.

Little breaks, mini trips, city breaks, whatever you want to call them, became my new thing. Last year we went to Berlin, Bath and Prague for our little holidays. They were all beautiful. So, I want to write about them and all my next adventures. Ryan bought me a world scratch map for Christmas so I obviously have to scratch the WHOLE THING OFF.

Anyone got a penny? 


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