This New Adventure…

Life has been far from what I thought it would be when I headed back to the UK, but after weeks and now months of returning, I now realise that’s it’s all just one big adventure. I may not be in some far off distant land, but I am still ready for whatever adventure comes my way.

While I still dream of all the places I could have visited, all the money I could have saved, I also remind myself of all the things I didn’t want. The reasons I came back.

It’s been strange readjusting to your own culture, I cried, went into denial and mourned the loss of a country who made me so welcome. I thought I might never see the UK in the same light again. But i was wrong and now it seems it’s all coming back to me and if anything I should be proud of all I achieved there and all I have achieved since then.

Since August I have now managed to get enough work to tide me over, covering my very bare essentials. Yes I have spent a lot of my savings, but with some luck, I will still have some to sit in my bank account. After all, that was what I had planned to spend them on.

The thing I am struggling with at the moment though is motivation. I have ideas, plans and opportunities, but I don’t always use them to the best of my abilities. I have found myself stuck in a rut that my brain desperately wants to get out of and my body just wants to sleep past.

Sleep is an issue. I got blood tests today to see if I had any problems that have caused my ability to almost sleep through the day. If I wanted to I could easily stay in bed all day. It’s a symptom of my looming depression, but after this long could be another problem altogether.

I think the thing I miss most is being able to see friends all the time. There was normally a few people I would meet with during the week who I thoroughly miss and in England it’s so different. People are working so many jobs, so many hours, have partners and it’s a chore to put the time aside to see people.

The biggest realisation though is that I am not on that husband, two children, house in the suburbs, pension, death route. Though my Facebook may be filled with marriages, that’s not me. I need to find a way to sustain myself, I want to be able to own my own home, but not some huge bricks and mortar building, but a little space. My latest thoughts are a narrowboat home, which I’ll design with my friend. The dream would be a tiny house on a little piece of land. I’m researching all the time and I hope I can find something that will help to support it.

I’m starting to think of all the alternatives in my new life. Does having kids require a partner? Does everyone have to have a full time job? When do I stop waiting for this mystic man to come forward? What is it that makes me actually happy? Like ME. Not someone else’s standards, but me? It feels alternative, but really isn’t it just realistic? Couldn’t it just be one more adventure in the time we call life?

A Letter to Myself.

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Dear N,

Remember who you were in Hong Kong. Remember that confident and resilient woman you were. Remember the friends you made and the people you now cherish.

I know England is hard for you right now, because life has become hard for you right now. There’s a certain way you used to be in Birmingham which effects who you are right now. But that’s the old you, that’s not who you’ve become. Embrace England with a fiery passion in your belly and a kind spirit.

Noone knows your personality like you do. You’re hilarious, witty (sometimes) and altogether kind. Remember that. Be that person you want to be, smile at strangers, be kind to the people around you and live life to the fullest. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in or who’s around you. Do this next step for you. Make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt and love yourself ever the more for it.

Remember people don’t know what you’re thinking. Ask for help when you need it and take notice of what’s going on around you. Be the strongest you, you want to be.

You know you don’t always love yourself. In fact often it’s quite the opposite, but the only way you can get through this is to be true to yourself. Use everything you learnt and be the traveller N. Right now there’s not much difference between you and her. Take that as an opportunity.

It won’t always be easy to read this letter without crying your eyes out or wishing you didn’t exist, but remember it’s always here. To care for you on the dark days and lift your spirits on the bright ones.

You need a new start and that all happens with you. Sit and write those applications and tell them everything you love about yourself, about how when you’re working with Young People you can’t think of anything else you want to do in your life. They make you happy, they give you life and without them you don’t have that. So get it.

Now, stop reading and get on with your life. Live it, to the full.

Best wishes,

N

The Final Asian Adventure

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So I just got back from Singapore to see my best friend and to be a tourist for a bit. This was my final Asian adventure before I return to the UK in August. Hopefully I can get to go to Dubai on my way home, but we’ll see when the time comes.

Honestly, it was the most relaxing holiday I have had for a while. I was anxious when I woke up at 4am on the day of travelling, but after taking half a Xanax, I was free for the rest of the day. My flight was incredible, I slept on the plane and when I got to Singapore, I could eat. This is incredible in my journey to lower anxiety. I find it hard to eat when I go away as I’m so anxious about what I CAN eat being Gluten Intolerant and a bit fussy. My friend was a legend though, she was googling Gluten Free eats all over the place and I had my fair share of options giving my health and well being a good old top up.

The entire time I was in Singapore I felt an overwhelming sense of calm, perhaps it was getting to be with my best friend again, maybe it was because I’d been before or maybe, just maybe I was achieving something new and exciting.

I went out in the evening to places I’d never been to before and experienced the wonders of Singapore. I found myself in forests and new places, got lost and I think found myself a little. I don’t know about you, but I wish my everyday self could be my travelling self. She’s a wonderous girl, she gets up early, eats well, lives life to the full and takes everyday as a huge adventure.

It’s hard to keep up though and when money is tight as I try to save for going home. I just have to think of all the people I will get to see again and how lovely it will be to be near to some wonderful people I love and yet so far away from my very best friend.

 

There’s always ying to your yang but you just have to make the most of it. 

I want to run away…

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Every time something big happens to me, I just want to run away. You can tell I’m at a definitive point in my life because all I can think about is where I could go in the next 48 hours.

This isn’t out of character, just before the end of university in 2007, I ran away with a guy I’d only met once to the Lake District. It’s a beautiful place and it was liberating. To be sure the relationship lasted the couple of days we were there, but not much longer. Last year it was my trip to Taiwan whilst I was having a stressful time working and trying to get my friend to commit to coming away with me. I booked it and was on a plane in less than 24 hours.

I’m not sure why I do it, I’m not even sure what the urge is inside me, but it’s always to get somewhere else. From reading my Taiwan blog, it’s probably my sense of self which is rejuvenated when I have to make a step by myself and become reliant on only me once more.

I’m already worried about going back to the UK or wherever the wind blows me. Everything is so uncertain and though I can be brave and I always say never to be afraid of change, sometimes change is something that gets to me. It’s the unknown in all that lies before you.

So here I am, a 27 year old woman, sat on her sofa with her two cats asleep beside her, googling frantically looking for deals on getaways. Perhaps a hotel, a simple change of scenery could do it. Whatever it is I need it and bad.

If you could jump up and do anything, what would you do?

Everything’s about to Change.

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It’s a few months away yet, but I have made the decision to leave Hong Kong. There’s just not the breadth of opportunity I need here when it comes to my career and I have known that for a while. It’s time to return to the UK or to find somewhere else to call my home, at least for the time being.

I’m not scared of the move, I’m starting to save money and look at the posts that are coming up and if I’d be suitable for them. It’s hard though to go from a full time job to something I can’t really plan for. I’m starting to make my CV look good and think about who I am and how I can present myself. Think about my USP etc.

An anxious mind is not what I need in this situation and for the most part i’m doing good. As I mentioned before my anxiety is near to nothing which means I can take these steps without feeling like I’m doing anything wrong. So far it feels like the right move. I’ve told my work and I’ve told my friends, even my Mum and that’s huge! Now I just have to survive the next couple of months.

It’s funny you know, now I’m in my late twenties, I should have this shit down. I’m the person with 3 years experience, a breadth of knowledge and experiences under my belt. But will they want me? I now have everything that a few years ago I wasn’t getting anywhere because I lacked it. This is a forgotten moment in any person’s life.

Theoretically I should have a family, a house, a car and a pension building up…so far that’s not the case. You know what though, I feel like I’ve lived, if only for 3 years, I’ve explored, I’ve sought new worlds and new experiences that not a lot of other people have. There’s no engagement ring on my finger, but you know what? There’s time for all of that, I still feel like a teenager when I look at other people ‘adulting’ but I feel like my mind is more rounded. My perception clear and my body ready for this next chapter.

“Adulting isn’t all it’s made up to be anyway”

Snap chatting my way through Taipei.

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So I haven’t written on here for a while. Some would think that’s a good thing. I’m not altogether that sure. Writing on here though makes me write down what’s in my head and helps me to process it all. Something that anyone with anxiety will understand or should try.

So at the moment, I’m in Taipei. The picture above is the view from the balcony of a beautiful little apartment I found. It is the perfect place to get away to and I’ve found myself sitting on the balcony for the last 1-2 hours listening to podcasts and breathing in some fresh air…something that isn’t that easy in Hong Kong.

So why am I here? Firstly it’s easter and one of my aims this year was to explore Asia. I finished work on Saturday after what was a LONG few weeks. I had time off at CNY but it didn’t feel like it was enough, so really, I’ve been working none stop since Christmas.

This year has been difficult so far. I’ve put on a huge production with 39 children, started tolerating being gluten free and continue to have horrific stomach upsets. It’s been really tough, I won’t lie. I’ve found it hard to find the positive in things and I’ve begun to rely on other people rather than being independent.  I think these trips away, which I’ve discussed before, are good for reminding me that I can do things by myself. I’m a very strong person and am perfectly capable of doing whatever I set my mind to. But that’s easy to forget.

This holiday I was supposed to go to Singapore,  my best friend and house mates boyfriend has just moved there and it honestly sounds like the place I should be living! There’s adventure sports and men who might actually want to date (I have my priorities straight!). But they were having some problems and it didn’t happen. By the time I looked at flights again it was too late, everything was crazy prices. Then, on Saturday I found a flight to Taiwan for $900 (£75)! After a little researching I found this apartment for £44 a night on Air bnb and I was sold. So I’m here spontaneously, just how I want to live my life.

I’ve specifically stayed off Facebook, something that is the bearer of many an anxiety and before I left I started a Snap chat story. I’ve begun to watch more videos by vloggers on YouTube,  I don’t know the science of it but it’s probably massively anxiety enducing too. One of my vloggers is of course Zoella. Though many young people will watch her as she gives them hair and make up tips, I watch because she’s someone who has massive anxiety attacks. She’s started vlogging again recently and a comment from her boyfriend was that it was good for her mental health. If she blogged then she had to find interesting things to do for the vlog, therefore giving her a reason to get up and get out of the house and be active. So with my snap chat story I thought that it would be a good way to do the same, also it gave me something to do when I felt alone or anxious which always helps. It’s helped a lot and although it shows me physically that no one is actually watching, it gives me a reason to get out of bed and be active.

So I’m here, snap chatting my way through Taipei and being the me I want to be, the person I wish people could see when I’m back home, but it’s not that easy.

I know I want to leave Hong Kong now, it’s suffocating to be in the city so much but I definitely don’t want to go back to England. I’ve been given another two years on my hk contract and who else has that knowledge to sort out the next step? I work in a company that is 100% understanding of my difficulties but there’s negatives about it too. At least the page is empty for me to write whatever I like on and I love that freedom.

Give yourself a chance to be yourself.

Who knew I was so strong?

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Since I started this blog, I knew I wanted it to be somewhere where I talked about the positive and not just the negative. So I am writing this post to show just how positive things can be, we may have peaks and troughs in our emotions, but there’s always a time when you feel good or notice your strength, even just get suprised about the way you handled an event.

This week one of my best friends visited from the UK someone who I find strength in, love to pieces and trust deeply. When her and her boyfriend arrived a weight was lifted as I gained an adrenaline rush from their presence, I steamed through Hong Kong taking them to Causeway Bay, through Central and into Sai Ying Pun. I was showing them my city and just how proud I was of it. I breezed through it all and felt awesome.

Slowly throughout the week my friend got more and more negative and lagged behind me when walking. I realised she relied on her boyfriend a lot, getting into emotional tizzes easily and waiting on him to pick up the pieces. It was so out of character and it worried me. The week continued in this vein with me feeling pretty miffed that my friend who had been so full of positivity and life was being so grumpy.

On the last day, we went to go Kayaking at the beach, two paddles in she declared ‘ I’m too scared, I can’t do this.’ By this stage I had little sympathy thinking she would just be going back to sit with her boyfriend.  So I watched her get out, explained I was going to go out anyway and waved at her from the sea. I had every conversation possible with her whilst in my kayak, going over every scenario in  my head, something I do quite often so my emotions aren’t bottled up.

When I got out I returned to the beach to be told by her boyfriend she was pretty upset and I should probably go speak to her. In my head I was fuming, I hadn’t done anything wrong. I approached with caution and asked if she was ok and in the next few minutes I slowly realised and she admitted, that she now suffers from anxiety. She gets panic attacks and gets scared doing activities she would normally relish. This girl is a fearless surfer adrenaline junkie. As she explained the way she felt, the way her head had changed, I started to tell her about my own symptoms and she suddenly began to realise that she wasn’t the only one. There’s a big perception that you’re going insane when it first happens and I could see in her eyes a door opening as she realised it wasn’t just her. This is the most important element in all of this. You are not the only one.

My friend explained she’d never known what I meant when I told her I was anxious and instantly said sorry. She told me that I was such a strong person and had done so well to go so far. I explained I was proud of myself, but not everyday was like this week. I admitted that I felt like a phoney in Korea after having spent a lot of time at the hotel.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, but I’m not the only person who can do it. I find that you need to really listen to the voice being drowned out. Think, what do they want? Then sometimes just bloody get on with it. If I let my anxiety get the best of me, and don’t get me wrong there have been several times when it has, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning, be working abroad in a job I love and I wouldn’t have met such lovely people out here who guide me everyday with their support.

If you’re only just beginning in all of this, yes it’s scary as hell, but the first step is just to admit it. I told my friend I was always here, but she wasn’t using me, the anxiety queen, well enough. I recommended she go to councilling as it’s a great first step in all of this, but it’s only you who can control it. Find a good friend,  don’t go overboard on the details as it’s a hard thing to understand, but just ensure they understand you sometimes need a little bit of support.

One thing my friend asked was if it would ever go away. To be honest, I don’t think it ever will, but that’s not the end of the world, unless you let it be. When you look back on your life you won’t highlight the moments of anxiety, you’ll think about the amazing adventures you had, so get up and get on with them, leave your comfort and defy the second voice.

 

 


Positivity is key in life. You should always look for the ways that it improves you as a person and gives you an opportunity to grow.