Reflection | #siantreksamerica
Last night we settled in for our final night of Trek-living. You could tell emotions were running a little high, as after we had finished our last meal together, and had surprised Nik with parting gifts, we all sat quietly around two picnic tables we had pushed together. Nik went around each Trekker one by one, and asked for us to share our highlight of the tour. After enjoying every moment, I couldn't think of anything besides meeting the incredible people I had the pleasure of sharing the trip with.
Our final morning together was spent cleaning the bus, collapsing down tents, and loading our bags into the infamous trailer for the final time; all before we chose our seats for the final van ride to San Francisco. I experienced feelings of reluctance towards all of it. I could have gladly lived in this bubble of travel and laughter indefinitely. Isn't it strange how I was so apprehensive about meeting a group of people, all of whom went on to make the trip exactly what it was?
On our way to San Fran, and the final stop of the tour, we parked up for a bite to eat. Suzy and I ended up grabbing food together from a Panera Bread branch. Somehow or another, we got onto the topic of mental health and mental illness. Before I knew it, I was gabbing on about myself and answering any questions she had. I am always so grateful to anyone who shows an interest and is willing to ask questions. I appreciate them not being afraid to start a dialogue about a still heavily stigmatised subject.
I explained the diagnosis I received last year and why I had decided to embark on the trip. Much like Nik on the first day of travel, she was incredibly kind and praised my efforts - which really meant a lot. What really got me though, was how she said she would never have guessed that I suffered with social anxiety, because of how much I had involved myself with every single part of the tour.
Even though I know that mental illness manifests itself differently in everyone that suffers, and that attempts to mask it from the world due to fear are not uncommon, this made me feel so powerful. At one point social anxiety had taken over my life - so much so, that I couldn't even bring myself to laugh in front of people I knew or am related to - but, now? Now I was 5,000+ miles away from home, and being told by someone I had only known for around a week, that they had no idea I was trying so hard to face my fears.
I had done it; I had kicked anxiety's ass, and it meant more than I could ever explain.
If I'm honest, there isn't much more for me to say about the Trek right now. Not only did I achieve everything I hoped to, I also learnt that it was okay to take breaks on holiday due to feeling mentally unwell. Admittedly, when the trip ended, I felt so drained. I often do after a holiday anyway, but this one left me feeling like I needed to slow down and completely reevaluate my life for a little while.
After having a taste of excitement, and establishing a newfound sense that nothing is impossible, I want to create and live a life I truly love... And now is the time for me to figure out how to go about doing just that. So, on that note, it might be a little quiet around these parts in July, but I promise I'll be back.