2 months today I left home to start my solo adventure and become a Mental Health Travel Blogger. Leaving my family, boyfriend and most importantly my doggo behind to go ‘find myself’ in Fiji and Australia

The first month had its obvious challenges, new culture, different timezones, lack of chocolate! But even though the first week away I ended up in Fijian hospital with sun poisoning, 2 months on I’ve learnt a lot and have finally accepted a small bottle of coke over here is £5+

Hostel living is hard… being surrounded by people 24/7 is very tiring. For someone who struggles to sleep as it is and with sleep being an important factor to keep my mental health in order, having to deal with snorers, sleep talkers!! and that drunk gal that comes in at 3 in the morning, it is a struggle. Ive tried to sleep in earphones and I just cant do it. What I’ve started to do and at the moment has worked well so far is to book a smaller person dorm, or some hostels have female only dorms which are a couple of dollars more expensive.

Another thing I’ve struggled with in hostels is the eating/food situation. My diet is so poor at the moment, alongside food anxiety and lack of good food, which is noticeably affecting my head. Communal kitchens are normally okay, but when you have a pea shaped space in the fridge for your food… you cant really keep much. It means my diet is microwave rice, noodles (just because they are easy to make, not because they are cheap!) and pre-prepared pasta. All these meals means I’m in and out of the kitchen within 3 minutes.  I don’t know what it is about the communal kitchens that give me such anxiety but it is something I need to figure out because I need to start better!

My issues with using other peoples cutlery and plates etc. (especially in hostels when peoples version of ‘clean’ is very different) I have solved this by buying paper plates (which can be recycled) and plastic knives and forks (which I reuse – not trying to kill the planet) so that I can just use my own things.

Living out of a suitcase is shit, going in the shower and then remembering you didn’t bring your towel with you is shit and being in a 10 bed dorm with 2 plug sockets is shit… but it all creates the experience, right?

But one of the saddest things I’ve realised is that even though people ‘travelling’ are very nice people (the majority), you quickly realise nobody has your back and yes whilst everyone, especially solo travelling, is looking after no.1, there is a noticeable lack of loyalty or support. Like I said, you are surrounded by people constantly but I have times when I feel so alone. As if nobody is actually ‘there’ for me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to burden every Tom, Dick and Harry about how I’m feeling but people genuinely don’t care about you and thats kinda sad. I guess its something i’ll have to get used to and I know I have people at home that do care so maybe that is what is important or maybe I just haven’t met the right people yet.

Another thing I’ve learnt is, toxic people are everywhere. Turns out it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, toxic people will be there to try ruin your day. My solution to this was to remove myself from the situation and cut them out of my life, exactly like what i would do at home. My time travelling is too short to spend with vile people. Beauty of travelling I guess, can literally pack your back and move onto the next place.

In all honesty, I feel I’m doing pretty well. The obvious bad days are here but I guess they always will be. Im starting to learn how to deal with certain situations and even though it may include a teary phone call back home, I have started to pick up things I like doing that make me feel better. Being by the sea, going for a walks, taking photos and ticking things off my bucket list….

Oh and I’m also getting very used to wearing ‘thongs’ all the time!

S x

Ps) Top bunk is so much better than bottom bunk!

Like every other millennial who has finished uni and doesn’t want to face the real world and get a job, I thought about going travelling. I have always wanted to travel, to Australia in particular. But since I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I’ve felt like it has been an impossible dream. Every time I would consider going or start looking into flights, my demons inside would shoot me down and tell me I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I am determined to at least try and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t meant to be. But I’m aiming to help others who also might feel they can’t follow their dreams because they’ve been diagnosed with a Mental Illness.

With my Sertraline allowing me to be more constant with my moods and the ending of my masters course I just decided one day to go into STA travel and enquire about going. I’m the kind of person where once I’ve got an idea in my head, it’s hard to let it go and on this particular day I thought back to the person I was before my mental illness and thought ‘I wouldn’t let anything stop me going travelling’… so why should I now?

My trip starts out with a month in Fiji and then onto Sydney where my working visa starts. I had to do a medical before being accepted for a visa which will be explained more in another post. Everything was coming together and I actually enjoyed the times where I could sit and plan my journey.

I have only planned a week in Sydney and the rest I will plan when I get there,. Now those with anxiety are probably like ‘id have to have everything planned down to the day’ where actually for me, I would feel more anxious if I had made a structured plan and for some reason was not able to stick to it. For example if something happened and I wasn’t able to make it to that specific hostel that I had planned, my anxiety would be more concerned that my plans weren’t going to the structured timetable. Also being more flexible means that I can change plans if I need too, if I meet a group of people – I could go where they are going or if I really like a place, I could stay for more days. Don’t get me wrong the flights, transfers and airport pick ups had to be booked and structured down to a tee, otherwise my panic would set it, but once I’m at the first hostel I’m fully flexible! I guess this is down to my own anxiety needs.

So the main thing here is that I’m going on a solo adventure (much to my mothers dismay) but I felt that I couldn’t keep relying on other people and at this stage of my life, my friends had other commitments and I felt like for once, in a very long time, I wanted to be in control of what I do and when. I feel ready to get back to how I used to be where I did what I wanted to do. The only way to do this is to go alone.

I was once a very independent person and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest being on my own or meeting new people. But now my anxiety is constantly in my head making me overthink every single thing. But this is another reason why I’ve chosen to go alone. All because I’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, this will not stop me from wanting to achieve things I’ve always wanted to do. Yes, it is going to be hard, very hard on some days, especially when depression tries to tell you ‘no one likes you’ or ‘those people don’t want to speak to you’ but I feel like this is something I need to overcome and prove to myself that it is okay to be alone sometimes.

An aim I have given myself as part of my self-care whilst I’m travelling is to accept that being alone is okay. To start to appreciate my alone time and realise that not everything in life can be done with somebody else. I have found recently that I have had to fill my spare time otherwise I would sit and overthink and get sad, meaning I cant relax or just have some time doing nothing. But as I’m going to be so busy doing lots of new things and be around lots of people constantly, I will need to have time away from people. This isn’t going to be the easiest thing for me because I’ve never had to be alone. I’ve always had my friends, my sisters and family around me and I’ve always chose to be with somebody else over being on my own. So we will see how this one goes.

I found that once I’d booked my travelling adventure, that any anxieties I had were answered by other travellers. I realised even people that don’t have a diagnosis of anxiety, naturally have similar worries and feelings that I could relate too. This is what I want my blog to become. I want it to not just record my travels and give the best places to go see, but also to give guidance to other people that like me, felt my mental health was a barrier to my travelling dreams. I want to be able to give my own tips on things that are helping me whilst being away. The mental health community is by far the most supportive group of people I’ve ever met and I want to work alongside them to show people that having a mental health diagnosis does not mean you cannot follow your dreams and have amazing experiences like everybody else. You might just need a little more help on the way.

S x

I’m a classic northerner who headed a little bit down south and was contesting it was not ‘Barthhhh’ but ‘baff’.

I had been told Bath was beautiful, ‘stunning’ in fact, so thought to escape for a couple of days from the midlands, we would go see for ourselves.

The hotels were coming up pretty pricey (as expected, I’d also heard it was an expensive place to go) so for value for money, we went for a lovely apartment from Airbnb. The advert said it was only half a mile from the town and the station, and you sometimes think ‘is it though?’ and expect to walk at least 20 minutes, but this place was literally around 2 corners and you was in the main town. The walk to the station took me 7 minutes (and i was carrying a suitcase and a heavy bag). It was a lovely terraced townhouse with the apartment on the 2nd floor up. Basically, it was the ideal place for a few days!

The centre was compact, which was great for pub hopping! It carried a relaxing atmosphere, even though people were going about their day to day activities. There is also red tour buses everywhere, which, if thats your kinda thing, you won’t miss them, but we were very happy walking around at our own pace.

Actually we were very content with just bimbling around (we did look at what there was to do around close proximity, but everything was either a drive away, or super expensive!) We were very sad to have missed out on the ‘glow in the dark’ crazy golf, which finished on the 3rd Jan 🙁 I can see why their main tourists are middle aged, married couples because there were very little to do that would entertain anyone else who don’t like museums. Lucky for us, there were enough pubs to keep us ginned up for 2 days.

The whether was pretty grim, I mean expected in January, but sods law that the day we were leaving, it was sunny and quite warm! These two photos taken in the same place, but a day apart, really shows how much different a place can be in nice weather!

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The question I keep thinking is; is it overrated? Yes it was beautiful, and the many bars and pubs we visited were very very nice, but I think my 2 day stay there was enough. Don’t get me wrong, the Roman architecture was lovely to see (especially coming from Birmingham), and the Abbey and scenery was stunning, but now I can say I’ve been and seen it, I won’t need to be going back in the very far future).

Favourite places that need a mention:

Bath Abbey:

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Bath Abbey

This was beautiful, inside and out. They asked for a £4 donation, (which compared to the £17+ for the Roman Baths next door) was pretty reasonable. You’re allowed to walk around at your own place, and even though I’m not slightly religious, I really did appreciate the beauty inside. I didn’t feel it was the right atmosphere to be whipping my phone out every 2 minutes for photos, so ill leave the insides something to see for yourself!

 

 

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Sally Lunn’s; Hidden down a lil alley way!

Sally Lunns: Historic Eating House

 

We wanted somewhere to go to for a nice brunch, that was only available in Bath (basically anything but Boston Tea Party) so we had a lil Google to find something. We found ‘Sally Lunn’s’ which is famous for its tea and eating house selling ‘Sally Lunns Buns!’ (To me and other midlanders: its basically a big ‘cob’ that you can have savoury or sweet). The building was the original building, where the buns were first made and it even has a lil kitchen section downstairs with a little shop where you can get a bun to take home! Definitely worth a visit!

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My Savoury Lunn Bun! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hall & Woodhouse

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This was found accidentally, we were walking home and happened to walk around the back and could see in, and we were like ‘fancy a drink?’. It was the typical millennial quirky bar, but I loveddd it. I mean, it even had a massive palm tree in the middle? Loads of people in cool hats and laptops were around a table, next to a table of suited middle aged men. They served a wide collection of alcohol bevs, as well had their own coffeebar, so pretty much would suit all tastes.

The Bath Brew House

This was a pub we found from just walking past, it looked busy inside so we went in. I mean £12.80 for a double gin and a pint.. our stay lasted 1 round of drinks but then we saw a sign which said ‘pub quiz’ on a tuesday evening... so guess where we ended up on tuesday evening! It was actually so much fun, and it was super busy with lots of teams, (so id suggest getting there early if you’re planning on going because there was a lot of people having to stand) ..and we definitely came last with 14/60! But either way, a cute lil pub which also has a brewery tour, if thats your kind of thing!

S x