Travel Blog Archive: The Personal Side 30/5/12

I’ve been dithering about whether or not to write this post. A lot of the research I’ve done about travel writing says that you need to keep the emotional/personal stuff out of it, but I’ve decided that my story needs that stuff. My story isn’t just a solo female traveller visiting as many states as possible in 80 days. It’s also about me overcoming a lot of history and issues to be able to manage such a feat. I’m of the opinion that without the emotional/personal stuff, my story wouldn’t be complete. (PLEASE, by all means, correct me if you think that I am wrong. I value every piece of feedback I receive from my readers and followers.) So… a little background. At the moment I’m 29 years old and I live in Staffordshire, England, with my three cats. But I’m a Hampshire girl, born and bred. For you international readers there are a couple of hundred miles between Staffordshire and Hampshire. I ended up here in Staffordshire after a few years of big fallings out with all of my family. Between the ages of 15 and 21 I lost contact with my dad, my stepmother, my three stepbrothers and then my mother. I’d like to be able to say that all of those relationships are repaired now but they aren’t. My mother and I get on a lot better, and I’m talking to my brothers again. I think I’ve lost my dad completely. That time, and the years that followed it, were filled with depression, loneliness, self harm, suicide attempts, bouts of agoraphobia (fear of crowds and open spaces) and a lot of misery. For months at a time I wouldn’t leave the house, and the only people I’d speak to would be one or two extremely close friends (who hopefully know who they are) and people online. The internet has been my salvation. Completely. I don’t know if I would have survived without it, and I don’t think I’d be able to keep surviving if I lost it now. Life currently is better, in some ways. I can leave the house. I’m not afraid to go out and do things and see people anymore. On a recent trip to Liverpool with a friend I even managed to speak to a few strangers – something that induced panic attacks in me just a year or two ago. I’m still struggling with depression. Really badly. The medication that I’m on isn’t quite right and my doctor is a bit of an idiot. I’m moving soon, back to Hampshire. My relationship with my mother is better, and I want to be closer to my two sisters, my brother-in-law, my brothers and my aunts and uncles. I have numerous little nieces and nephews (and a young generation of cousins) that I want to know who I am. Hopefully this move will help in a lot of ways. Getting me out of the house more. Having more people to meet up with, and people to help me go to counselling and appointments (something I have a tendency not to do). Yes, things are definitely better than they were a decade ago. But this trip is still going to be a significant effort for me. Not to mention a chance to redeem myself. Ever since I can remember, my biggest dream has been to go to school in America. A couple of years ago I had that chance. I was part of an international exchange with my university, and I spent four months at USM in Maine. I blew it. Completely. Within just a few weeks I had a big depressive episode and I stopped going to class. My RA spotted what was going on, and made me go to a counsellor, but I did what I always did and never went to a second appointment. I was in the country of my dreams for 4 months, and I spent it all hiding in my dorm room. I even spent most of my money on take out food, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the dining hall. I failed on that trip so badly that when I got back to the UK I didn’t deal with my university and I dropped out. That is the biggest regret of my life. In the 3 years since I’ve watched the people I met over there rejoice on Facebook about the memories they have, and the frendships they still treasure. I’ve watched my classmates graduate and move on with their lives. And I’ve been ashamed and afraid of America. This trip is my chance to give America the proper respect it should have gotten the first time round. It’s the country of my dreams. The place I want to emigrate to, and become a citizen of. And while I was there I ignored it. This trip – these 43 states in 80 days – will be my chance to appreciate America, to prove to myself that I am over my fear of the outside, of crowds, of strangers. It’ll be my chance to prove to myself that despite my depression, I can still do something. On a final note, I just need to let you all know that since I started planning this trip, this blog, and the book, I’ve felt like I have a future. For the first time since I was fifteen I’ve felt like I have a reason to exist, and a future to look forward to. The fact that people read this blog, and comment, and follow my progress, validates that feeling. This new future that I’ve just found isn’t just for me. There are other people that care about it too. Thank you. — I’ll try not to get quite as emotional/personal as that in future.

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About Colette Horsburgh

A 30-something creator/baker/writer/doodler/crafter living with several (but not enough) scatty animals.
This entry was posted in Health, Random Ramblings, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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