I’m currently sitting on a plane doing my best panda impression. In about 6 hours, I’ll land in Vancouver and start living my Canadian dream. So why the hell am I crying?
In Flight Entertainment
I watched Lady Bird, a coming of age story about Christine McPhereson. Christine desperately wants to get out of Sacramento, the town where everything is overwhelmingly and infuriatingly familiar. The whole movie is about her wish to get away and start afresh.
Without ruining the film, it’s hard to tell you exactly why I’m crying but essentially the message is that until you give up everything you have, that feels suffocating to you, you won’t recognise just how much you need it.
That hit me pretty hard. I’m currently flying away from everything I love.
Behind The Screens
But you wouldn’t see that, wouldn’t know that, if I wasn’t sharing this. Maybe some of you would. I’d tell you I missed you and that I appreciate you even if I’m choosing to travel for a while and that I’ll make it my mission while I’m out there to show you that.
But most of you won’t. I’d pop up on your Facebook or Instagram all smiles or I’ll get eaten by a bear and you’ll never see me again. Either way, you wouldn’t see my mum breaking her heart as she drove away yesterday, me sobbing into my Oreo cake. You wouldn’t see my dad well up as he so lovingly told me to enjoy myself before making a shit joke to cover up his emotions, as only a Dad would.
Is it worth it?
I’ve run away from enough things to know that being unhappy with your current situation is a shitty reason to leave. Living in a new place is hard, it can be lonely and there’s an inherent fear that people at home will lose touch or replace you. I don’t want to put people off travelling, I just wanted to share the side that people don’t see. It’s a message that just doesn’t seem a fitting caption to bikini snaps and paddle boarding pics.
That’s why it’s easy to see someone else living it up abroad and think it’s the solution to your problems. But the truth is that you don’t become a new person as soon as you step foot in another country. Tragically, my hair won’t suddenly start doing as it’s told, my mind won’t fill like a helium balloon with only happy thoughts and my abs certainly won’t spontaneously reveal themselves through my shirt (but the Oreo cake was worth it).
Learning The Hard Way
I know this because I fell into that trap. Last time I lived in Canada, I was stressed and anxious when I left, dealing with selling off farm equipment from my estranged father’s estate and a doomed relationship. That didn’t suddenly disappear. I had panic attacks because the time difference just made dealing with that a whole lot harder. I didn’t have a support network, I couldn’t call family at any time of the day. It was really hard.
Don’t get me wrong, that changed and I loved Canada by the end of it. But that’s because I changed. I went to the gym most days and loved feeling fitter and stronger. I spent time on my own reading and loved that and, miraculously, I got interested in my studies. That would have happened wherever I was because I changed what I was doing and how I felt about life.
Frankly, if you’re lonely now, you’ll probably end up lonely there. If you’re unhealthy now, don’t wait until you’re in another country to love yourself and treat yourself a little bit better. When you get back and your family is waiting for you, you’ll feel so full of love you’ll want to burst. Imagine that when they’re driving you mad. You don’t need to leave everything behind to appreciate it.
My Two Cents
And if you do decide to head off for a bit, make it worth it. If there’s anything that drives me to do something worthwhile, it’s the pain of upsetting people I care about. That makes me want to get up earlier, work harder and be happier. Because there’s no point spending a few thousand quid to upset your family and end up just as miserable. In other words, I had to check I was running towards something, instead of away.
I wanted to share this as I know a ton of people who are unhappy with their lives right now (whether they’re at home or travelling) and social media has a way of putting others on a pedestal. And yes, I’ll be sharing pictures of lakes (so many bloody lakes) and probably not sharing pictures of me sobbing into my in-flight snacks or videos of me falling asleep in my pizza (happened last night). I wanted to draw attention to the fact that whether you’re leaving or being left, it’s not as easy as it looks.
An Open Invitation
Despite all this, I am super excited to be living in Canada and building a life here for a while! No doubt, I’ll sharing highs and lows on here! But I am already excited to see the people and places I love when I get back. I guess this is just about appreciation of the knowledge that no matter where you are, you’re meant to be there right now.
I would LOVE to hear from other people who have experienced this, to know I’m not alone! Oh, and if anyone wants to visit me in Canada, drop me a message!