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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Road Trip America

After a long,¬†arduous winter a friend and I have decided to take a little time out this summer and do a mini US roadtrip. Nothing major. One week, traveling from Niagara to Savannah. It’s a 2 day drive, so we’ll head down to Virginia on day one, and then continue onto Savannah on day two, where we’ll stay for a few nights. We’ll take an alternate route home, stopping for a night and half day in Washington DC before heading home. It should be a ton of fun, and we’re really excited!

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Since money is tight, we’ve decided we’re going to try and raise the money needed for the trip in a few different ways. We have a GoFundMe page for anyone who might wish to simply donate to the cause. We’re also holding an online rummage sale, with over 100 items available, and at the end of the month we’ll be holding a yard sale (more info coming soon).

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After only just a couple of days we’ve been able to raise nearly $400! The trip itself will cost about $1000, if we’ve budgeted correctly: $190 for a rental car, $250 for gas, $175 for hotels, $250 for food, $40 alt transportation, $100 buffer.

I said I wanted to go somewhere this year that I’ve never been, so I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve heard great things about Savannah! It sounds like it’ll likely been painfully hot and humid, but we’ll survive!

If you’re able to donate or grab a rummage sale item, we’d really appreciate it. There’s even some fun incentives for those who donate:

$10 Donation: A shoutout on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

$25 Donation: A thank you card that we’ll make ourselves and mail to you! Each card will be designed by us, and include a little something special.

$50 Donation: All of the above, PLUS we’ll Photoshop you into some of our photos. It’ll be just like you’re there with us!

$100 Donation: All of the above, PLUS you’re very own¬†custom embroidered wall hanging from Mommy’s Lil Monkey.

$150 Donation: All of the above, PLUS an invitation to hang out with us on one of our future adventures.

$500 Donation: OUR SOULS.

Regardless of whether or not you’re able to contribute, please stay tuned for updates on our trip. I’ll be posting a ton from the road! We plan to hit every wacky water tower, world’s largest ball of twine, moth man museum, and buffet that America has to offer on our route. It should be quite the adventure!

Lake Chautauqua

I spent this past weekend in Chautauqua, NY with my brothers (and dad, who was sick and spent the whole trip in bed). It was a lot of fun. My brothers and I don’t get to spend a lot of time together, almost never just out doing our own thing, so I really enjoyed it.

We stayed at a cottage on the lake. Totally frozen, the lake was covered in snowmobiles and ice fisherman. We wandered a closed amusement park, checked out the Chautauqua Institute, and got lost in Mayville.

5The Midway8The Midway4The Midway3Lake Chautauqua 2Lake Chautauqua 7Lake Chautauqua 6Lake Chautauqua 1Lake Chautauqua – Sunset

12 Days In New York City

I love New York, but boy was I ready to come home after 12 days in it. Had the last 7 of those days not been so stressful it might be another story. But the fact was that I barely had enough money to get me through the 6 intended days, so the additional 7 weren’t overly enjoyable as I tried not to use much public transit or eat out or really do anything that involved spending any money…

But, despite all that, it was still a lovely and much needed holiday!

I arrived in the city on a Wednesday at which time I wandered to Vi’s and collapsed on her couch. On Thursday made my way to Brooklyn to go see the Botanic Gardens. I’d seen someone post about it somewhere, and thought it might be worth a visit. The weather was great, the colours gorgeous, and it turns out there’s not admission cost on Thursdays.

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That evening I headed to Times Square to meet up with Vi. We were hoping to the lottery for a show, but missed it for both The Last Ship and Hedwig. Instead we got omlettes and watched Netflix.

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On Friday I headed down to Union Square where I spent a couple hours getting lost in the racks at The Strand. Paul Giamatti was there. We stood in the ‘Banned Books’ section together. It was pretty cool.

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I then went and wandered around the West Village and people-watched in Washington Square Park. It was chilly, but sunny, so I was happy.

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That night I headed back to Times Square to meet Vi. We lost the lottery for Idina Menzel’s show If/Then, but were able to grab ‘Lottery Loser’ tickers for only $5 more. I guess the show isn’t doing so well… I thought it was okay. I’m glad I saw it, but really it’s only selling points are Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp.

Speaking off, we did stage door, of course! I’ve seen them both before, but it’s always fun!

10422083_935529480984_5726191222963934932_nIdina Menzel

10613008_935529241464_6093073703670348153_nAnthony Rapp

On Saturday I met up with Carly, Sara, and Annie for an excellent 4 hour lunch. We’d never all gotten together as a group, so it was a lot of fun. Eventually Carly had to head to work and Annie to a housewarming party, so Sara and I met up Vi and went to dinner.

Vi and I saw ‘On The Town’. I liked it well enough. It’s a classic, so, you know. The dance numbers seemed a little drawn out, but the music was great.

On Sunday Vi and I went on a roadtrip to Baltimore. She rented a car and got tickets to see Next To Normal, I tagged along. Oh, and I can now say I’ve been to Delaware. Woo!

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On Monday it down-poured so we went to the movies to see ‘The Theory of Everything’. I also dragged Vi from shop to shop in search of a single magazine, as, you know, I do that. The weather cleared up later in the day though, so I went for a nice stroll around mid-town.

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On Tuesday I headed out at some ridiculously early hour only to reach the far end of West-nowhere (aka the Megabus stop) and learn that there were no buses. No one seemed to know why. So, my enormous backpack, suitcase and I hiked it over to Penn Station to see about a train. I got a ticket, all looked well, until it’s announced that all Toronto bound rail service will be suspended in Syracuse. Again, no one could say why. So I got a refund and started frantically texting everyone I knew for a place to stay. Annie was kind enough to offer her couch right away, so I made my way 160 blocks or so uptown to Washington Heights.

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I eventually came to learn about the horrendous storms in Buffalo and every 12 hours or so would get an update that train and bus service remained suspended. That week is a bit of a blur with regards to what happened when, and in what order. Again, I stayed in a lot. I mean I managed to watch the whole first season of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, so…

I did go for several nice walks around Washington Heights and Fort Tryon. One day I took the subway down to the Upper West Side to go to Barnes and Noble, and then took a very long city bus journey back to the George Washington Bridge (if you catch a bus within 2 hours (maybe 3 hours?) of catching the train they don’t charge you again- HEY OH!). Washington Heights was pretty cool though, I’m glad I had some time to explore it.

10339759_935648637194_174245830662665114_nView of Hudson Heights and the Bronx from Fort Tryon Park

10406411_935648617234_5416060134614959295_nHudson River, Fort Tryon Park

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And then of course Saturday was the insane Into The Woods evening. I’m still not over that one! Earlier that day though I met up with the wonderful Jennifer Eolin for tea and trading of horror life stories, and a couple hours later went for hot chocolate with another online friend. All that made for a very nice day. Adding in Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, and an early Into The Woods screening were just icing on the cake!

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I didn’t sleep Saturday night, and had to leave for my bus around 4:30am. Thankfully though when I arrived there was no one advising of a cancellation, and I even managed two seats to myself for the entire journey home.

It all kind of worked out. Sort of. Maybe.