Battling Depression….. With Travel

“30 days of not eating because I lost my appetite….30 pounds lost. 30 days of only getting up to shower and lay back down. 30 days of functioning clinical depression that went undiagnosed because I didn’t want to be medicated. 30 days of smiling behind the pain and pretending like I was some semblance of myself since happiness and depression wear the same face. 30 days of remembering how 6 years could break me in 1 minute so that for 30 nights I wished the pain would end forever. I wished I could close my eyes forever, so I prayed…but let’s rewind… I wasn’t always like this… I didn’t always feel like this….but I’ve always traveled….and that was my solace”.

Before Mental Health started being discussed online, I had a family predisposition to end up depressed in life. See, depression runs in my family. My grandmother has bipolar. I remember her walking outside in the dark past midnight one day and shouting at my parents window. She forgot she walked 15+ blocks there but I saw her manic episodes 1st hand…. Also, I have other family members that are on medication for anxiety/depression. How does travel come into play you ask? For me….It’s air to my lungs.

A few years ago I started traveling solo after a 6 year relationship left me single, childless, and heartbroken. I was single when all of my friends were getting pregnant, getting married, or moving in with their partners. I was at a really dark place in my life and I needed to reset my mind, heart, and life. I was left to find a new meaning of life and to find out what made me happy….as Single Kira….That’s when I decided to WAKE UP and smell the roses with a new great idea…self medicate with travel.

I realized that travel always made me my happiest and healthiest form of myself. Seeing new places, being immersed in new cultures, being calm because there were no pressures from work, friends, no family. There was NO DRAMA only SELF CARE. Essentially Eat, Pray, and Love….so I planned.

I decided that life was for living, so I decided to do the one thing that always brought immeasurable joy….travel. I started researching places where the was a great male to female ratio with great weather, and chose San Diego, because if i was going to be single, at least I wanted favorable options. However, I always thought of traveling to Australia ( I can be a traveling therapist anywhere around the world) in a New Continent, so I planned to visit both…alone….and just prayed for safety and health.

Why did or do I travel alone? Solo travel happened by accident. No one wanted to take the 21 hour flight to Australia with me, but I learned so much about myself from it. I learned that self care and self growth for me was inevitable when I traveled alone. I was able to focus on my wants and needs without having to put others first, so basically I was able to be selfish for once in my life. Any one that is selfless or very nurturing to others, should take a solo travel so that they can just put themselves first for once.

I was able to come of out my introverted shell and socialize and befriend new people around the world. Traveling solo is great for an introvert, because you can decide how much or how little you want to socialize with other people. I was also able to go on dates with men that were preplanned thanks to dating apps like tinder. These dates with international men gave me insight into their cultural norms and their outlook on life. I realized that dating outside of the United States might be a better option for me opposed to men in my own country because of the open mindedness of men in other countries, plus their refinement/planning for dates are unparalleled. It will definitely leave you with a smile on your face long after you go home to your own country.

I was able to let my zest for adventure manifest into a reality. I have become the ultimate explorer. I am able to troubleshoot any dilemma logically and without panic. I no longer let drama enter the conversation when I am feeling frazzled. I have allowed myself to grow, breathe, heal, and live on my terms, all thanks to self medicating myself with a life of travel.

Travel has become a way for my mind to grow, be at peace, reset life for me with every step I take into a new place. Travel has become synonymous with my breathing because it is an extension to my heartbeat. Travel makes me feel centered regardless to what life challenges I face.Travel is my medicine.

So the next time you are feeling down, book that flight, take that trip, and breathe.

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