Travelling the road of life

For quite some time now, I have been feeling uneasy and overwhelmed. It has kind of built up over a few weeks (maybe months) with little niggles and annoyances. Things have been slowly but surely getting on top of me. My mind has felt full and jumbled. I have been unable to think clearly and to remain present in everyday life. I have been racing ahead thinking about what needs to be done, diligently crossing things off and moving forward. All the while, standing completely still in my mind.

Finally I have realised what the problem is…………… or at least part of it.

I have stopped writing.

You see, I felt that the whole essence of my blog was supposed to be about travelling and I wasn’t able to travel. So what would I have to say? My secondary blog entitled ‘Covid Parenting’ seemed equally useless. I mean in reality I have no idea how hard it has been for many parents around the world navigating the challenges of lockdowns, I only had to do it for five weeks!! Again, what did I know, what could I say?

Yet through all this time of writing silence, people have been reading my blogs (The Travel Bee and the old ones from Stressaholics days). I had a hit today on a blog post I wrote almost 3 years ago. I was writing about happiness and satisfaction (Happiness and satisfaction – The Travel Bee). Now three things occurred to me when I saw this:

  1. I have been blogging for more than 3 years!!
  2. Random people actually read my blog (admittedly only a few!).
  3. I actually had a point back then and maybe it would serve me well to go back and reread my own writing! I wrote about finding sparks in everyday life. In reference to my blog I wrote; ‘What matters is that I am doing it, fuelling my spark, and that every time I do, it gives me a little more energy and makes me feel a little more alive.

How have I allowed myself to lose that spark?

I alluded in my blog post at the end of 2020 that changing the name of my blog from ‘Stressaholics Anonymous” to ‘The Travel Bee’ may have been a mistake. I had no idea what the world had install for us back then. I wanted to get away from calling myself a Stressaholic because I firmly believed I had moved past that and I still believe I have. However, ‘The Travel Bee’ name has rather restricted me.

Or perhaps I have been looking at this all wrong. I mean what is life, if it is not a journey? What is a journey if it is not travelling? We are all travelling every day. This realisation means I can actually write about anything!

Travelling the road of life

I listened to a wonderful podcast the other day called Happy Place. Fern Cotton was interviewing Robbie Williams. We all know Robbie and his music. We all know he has been through some troubled times but what I took away from this particular interview, is that we are all human and humans have a fundamental flaw. We are never satisfied.

We keep thinking if I just get past this or I just achieve this, then everything will be alright. Of course this is not true because all that happens is we find something else we want! We are in a permanent state of dissatisfaction. To top it off, we forget things! We must constantly remind ourselves of the things that matter, what makes us tick and that we will make mistakes BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN!

It also reminded me that whether we are famous, in high power jobs or the average person going about our day, we face many of the same challenges day in and day out. We have to find the things that are unique to us and feed them in order to make us feel alive and with direction. We also have to realise that happiness is not a constant, it is not something we can achieve and expect it to stay that way forever, we have to work constantly just to feel okay.

For me, writing is an important part of that process and not one I should sideline just because it doesn’t fit nicely in a box or blog title. It is a spark I should fuel, not for anyone else but for me. It doesn’t matter what other people think of it or whether anyone reads it. It matters only what it does for me.

TTB

Goodbye 2020 from Geographe Bay – Western Australia

It has been a tough year for travel blogging (and just about everything else!). I started with some writing about Japan, a wonderful ski trip we were lucky enough to enjoy just before our world changed. Then I wrote of my experiences home schooling and a short trip to Pemberton before trying out my ‘virtual travel blog’.

‘Virtual’ writing just wasn’t the same. There was a lot of research and with research comes referencing. In the end it felt like I was writing an assignment for school or university and we all know, assignments are a chore. Blogging was never meant to be anything I felt I had to force myself to do. The whole reason I love to blog is because there is no right or wrong, it is just my thoughts and observations gathered together for myself and others to enjoy. It isn’t to regurgitate what others have already said.

Geographe Bay looking towards Dunsborough and Cape Leeuwin

This time last year I was excitedly putting the finishing touches to my new website and blog ‘The Travel Bee’. I shut down my old ‘Stressaholics’ blog and filed my previous entries (that could pass as travel writing) into categories, as I dreamed of the trips we had planned for 2020 and 2021. I couldn’t wait to write about the destinations we were travelling to and to share it with friends and family. Little did I realise that our January trip to Japan would be the last overseas holiday for a very long time and that travel writing was about to become very hard indeed. As it turns out ‘Stressaholics’ may have in fact been a more fitting blog for 2020, but I believed I was leaving my stress behind!

Within weeks of our return we were thrown into a world of lockdowns, masks, hand sanitiser, travel restrictions and social distancing. Terms we had never heard of suddenly became everyday talk. Some eleven months down the track and we seem no better off (on a world scale that is). Yes, we have a vaccine but we all know it will take time for this to be rolled out in our country let alone the world. In the meantime we battle on, listening to frightening statistics and news of outbreaks, hoping the next one isn’t in our own backyard.

Shark net swimming area Busselton foreshore

So as 2020 draws to a close, I am sharing with you a selection of photos I have taken here in my own backyard over the last few weeks. Every time I go down to the beach it blows me away how beautiful this place is and I often find myself clicking away as if I was a tourist. The beach, the ocean, the sky and the wildlife. Each day is new, fresh and exciting. This is a place to forget about Covid-19 and the dramas of 2020.

Cloud magic over Busselton jetty
West Australian emblem black swans cruising the bay

I don’t know what 2021 holds for me or my blogging nor for our world and the curse that is Covid-19. I do know that this year has taught us so many things, not the least of which, is that we have to enjoy every moment we are given. We don’t know what is around the corner. We can’t wait for things to change or get better, we have to find meaning and satisfaction in our daily life.

A cloudy day skiing on the bay

‘ We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some canoes and some are drowning. Just be kind and help whoever you can’ don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

We have all had so much taken away from us this year, but this experience has been different for everyone. Some have coped well and others have not. Some have felt they are in their canoe with no paddle, others completely paralysed with no direction whatsoever.

The only way forward is to be making constant readjustments in direction. There are many ways to get to the things we want in life and mostly it isn’t via a straight line. I for one, have always wanted to take the straight line approach and get annoyed when my straight line becomes bendy. I feel like someone is out to get me or that I have done something wrong. This year has been a good lesson in showing me that we are all subject to the bends. No one could get anywhere in a straight line in 2020!

Underwater observatory Busselton Jetty

2021 is our chance for some new hope. We know there will be bends in the road and some big mountains placed in our way, but 2020 has surely given us new skills in negotiating these obstacles. My wish for 2021 is that things ease up for my family and friends that are doing it tough, that we can all make wonderful memories, even in the bad times and that each day we grow stronger and more resilient.

Just like each new day in Geographe Bay, here’s to a new, fresh and exciting year. One filled with hope, kindness and a whole lot less pain.

TTB

R U OK?

Thankfully today I am ok.

But…… yesterday was a whole other story.

I jotted down what it felt like…

Some days I honestly think I am going around the bend. There is so much going on, my brain feels likes it turns to mush. One thing blends into another and then another, then another until everything seems so big and out of control. Much like a snowball rolling down a hill, ever growing in size and gaining speed. At some stage it is going to hit something and the prospect is terrifying.

It feels like there is no time to stop and slow down, to look at the trees or sky or animals. Just got to keep plowing on, faster, faster, faster.

People tell you to breathe. To stop and slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Stop stressing. Some days you try. Others you just let it take hold because trying just feels too exhausting.

What I really could not do yesterday was talk about it. I was on a mission to do anything but, because I knew if I started talking I would break down. Instead I avoided people, I didn’t want to break down and I didn’t want to burden them. I had to wait it out and only then could I talk about it.

I read an interesting article tonight about the ‘R U OK?’ and various other mental health campaigns. For a ‘stressaholic’ like me, it hit the nail on the head. It talked about how in the depths of an episode of anxiety what a person really needs is connection before communication.

Yesterday, I didn’t need to talk about it, what I needed was a connection. I needed someone to show me they were there. To make me a cup of tea or give me a hug.

Today I needed to talk about it.

As I said at the start of this blog, I am ok. I have connected and I have talked about it. I have also accepted that I will have days like this. The best I can do is get through them when they happen, talk about them afterwards and hope they occur less frequently.

The only other thing I can do, is write about it and hope it sheds some light on how to help someone when you see them struggling, especially if they seemingly won’t talk about it. Maybe they can’t.

I find the teapot is a great start.

LLS