How is it that we can be a different person when we go on holidays? One of our young writers, Brenna Dempsey, reflects on her overseas adventure in June this year, and pines for those days again.
'I admire you', I told my friend.
'Why?' she asked me.
'Because you exude confidence and I love that about you.'
I paused, thinking, and then continued, 'Because it reminds me of how I feel when I'm free.'
Alas, anything she might have said after that I wouldn't have heard because I was once again lost in my reflections of time spent travelling and exploring.
Time spent in new places with new people where I felt free to be my true self and where I was free from the clutches of the anxiety and depression that had once held me back.
In these situations I could no longer make excuses or hide from responsibility. I was forced to face my fears and have faith in myself.
Navigating a foreign country and a foreign language seemed scary at first, but how quickly I mastered the skills of pointing and gesticulating to make a purchase or seek directions. I amazed myself at how quickly I grew accustomed to being alone and taking selfies or approaching other tourists to get them to take my picture, something I would never do at home!
I surprised myself at how easily I was able to talk to strangers in my hostel rooms, on tours and in museums and how quickly and easily I made new friends.
I thought about how prior to my trip no one could understand why I would want to travel to Iceland, and I even began to second-guess myself but now I know I was right. Iceland was my favourite of the 11 countries I visited. I loved that the sun never set, I loved how friendly and welcoming everyone was and how safe and at home I felt. I felt wild and full of adventure and excitement and it was the freest and happiest I've felt in years.
I remember travelling to Salzburg and falling in love with the beauty of the city. Here I participated in a Sound of Music tour where I enjoyed the freedom and joy that came with singing along to the film's soundtrack on the tour bus and dancing around the famous glass gazebo without a care in the world. This amazing opportunity allowed me to become a child again and experience the joy and freedom that come with living in the moment.
I recall the excitement of riding a bike from Vernon to Monet's Garden in the next village over and how lost and sunburnt I got but how much fun it was to be so free in the French countryside.
I remember the peace and tranquility of Monet's garden and the pure joy I received from taking beautiful close-up photos of all of the flowers.
And finally I travelled to Ireland. I very clearly remember taking a deep breath of Irish air, feeling it fill my lungs and knowing I was home. Knowing I was where I feel most at home was the best feeling of freedom there is.
I loved the freedom that came with finally being a self-sufficient adult, making my own decisions and I was impressed with myself for having planned such a thorough and well thought out trip. And I was immensely proud of myself for having succeeded and travelled for two months on my own for the first time and survived pretty much completely unscathed.
'But why does it only remind you of when you were free? What has stopped you from being free now?' I was jolted back to reality as I realised my friend was talking to me.
'I’m not sure why it has changed, I just know that having been thrown back into the same routine as prior to my trip, I feel I’ve lost my spark', I said.
'I’ve lost ability to find joy in flowers and street art, I’ve lost my sense of self-belief and confidence and I’m really struggling to readjust to normal life. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to change something, shake things up a bit.'
Perhaps I need to find the person that I was overseas again.
Brenna Dempsey is a member of our young writers community.