The Anxious Wanderer Returns, Take Two

In three short days I’ll be in a rental car driving the Golden Circle in Iceland. I’ll be flying there from Toronto tomorrow, and meeting one of my dearest friends in the world in Reykjavik. Following a few days in the land of ice we’ll be flying back to her home in London, and later I will continue my adventures solo around England, Denmark, and Norway.

While this certainly isn’t my first time heading off on a grand adventure, it will be the first time since my anxiety has become so severe. And that, for me, makes this one of the most important trips I’ll ever take.

To say that the past two years have been hell is an understatement. In that time I’ve been diagnosed with panic disorder, panic psychosis, and severe chronic depression. I’ve been through periods where I was unable to leave the house. I’ve experienced emotions so severe than I didn’t know how to cope with them. I’ve had difficulty maintaining friendships, employment, and my own physical health. And just a few months ago I had bout of depression and anxiety so severe that I tried to take my own life.

In this time I’ve been on a dozen different medications, seen countless doctors, counsellors, and nurses, and been admitted to several outpatient and inpatient mental health programs.

In moments of panic it feels like my mind has turned against me, and convinced me that danger lurks around every corner. My attacks, which had always been unpleasant experiences, have become unbearable episodes of sheer terror. The frequent fear and stress have become all consuming, and over the years has slowly chipped away at every aspect of my life.

Even in periods when the attacks, anxiety, and depression are less intense, I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to enjoy things I once loved, like theatre and travel. In the past few years these things have provided me with little more than fear and nausea. At one point I even thought that perhaps I’d just stop partaking, because what was the point?

But, at the end of day, I just couldn’t bring myself to give up my last semblance of hope. So in the spirit of ‘go big, or go home’, I’ve decided to get over my fears by visiting three countries I’ve never stepped foot into before (two of them on my own). I’m also giving myself London, because it’s the love of my life.

And I refuse to let my anxieties take it, or anything, away from me.

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Backpackin’

Four years ago I started this blog as a way to post updates while I was backpacking around Europe. At the time I was simply posting a few random, unedited photos from the road, all taken with an old Canon point-and-shoot. By the time I returned home I had several thousand pictures, and never really got around to sorting through them all.

Feeling reminiscent this morning, I decided to have a quick scroll through the albums and pick out a favourite(ish) shot from each stop on the trip. Here we go:

EnglandLondon, England

ScotlandEdinburgh, Scotland

Northern IrelandCounty Antrim, Northern Ireland

IrelandCountryside, Ireland

CzechPrague, Czech Republic

AustriaCountryside, Austria

GermanyBerchstagen, Germany

ItalyVenice, Italy

SpainMontserrat, Spain

FranceParis, France

SwedenStockholm, Sweden

FinlandHelsinki, Finland

I desperately hope I can do another Europe trip like this one day. There’s so many places I didn’t get to visit! Berlin, Nuremberg, Budapest, Geneva, Lisbon, Vienna, Zagreb, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Oslo, Sofia, Madrid, Warsaw, etc, etc, etc.

Though I still haven’t written off the idea of going to Germany for a year, so maybe if I do I can knock most of those off the list while there!