Three Things I Learned While Abroad

 Smiling woman wearing sunglasses in front of wheat field
 Close up of field of wheat in Belgium

I went to Belgium, took hundreds of photographs, and ate ice cream every single day. It was great, thanks for asking.

You might have noticed that I've been a little quiet over here and on social media recently. I won't bore you with the details, but my mental health took a turn for the worst last month and I've found it really difficult to get anything done; including writing blog posts and filming videos. But when I went to Belgium two weeks ago to visit my friend Charline, I ended up taking hundreds of photographs and even filming a vlog; so I'm going to try my best push past my own self-doubt and upload everything from my trip.

If you've been around for a while you might remember that Charline came to stay with me in Manchester while she was doing an internship here last year. She quickly became part of the family and I think of her as my little sister, even though we're not related. Her family offered to let me stay in Belgium with them, and as I hadn't been abroad for five years I was very keen on the idea. The trip turned out to be very well timed and gave me a much needed escape. Here are a three lessons I learned about life and travel while I was away.

  Charline looking at an installation called 'Twijfelgrens' by Fred Eerdekens in Borgloon, Belgium

Charline looking at an installation called 'Twijfelgrens' by Fred Eerdekens in Borgloon, Belgium

1. depression can follow you around the world

I was hoping that once I'd faced going through airport security and been on a plane by myself for the first time, I would step on the ground in Brussels and feel like a whole new person. Actually, I felt pretty much exactly the same, but very tired as I'd been awake since 4:30am. Fortunately I did start to perk up after a few days, but I was very aware that all my problems were still going to be there when I got back to Manchester.

 Two men walking through field of wheat in Belgium

2. When Simon Cowell was 32, he only had £5 in his bank account

One of the many things I beat myself up about when I'm Depressed is my feelings of failure and inadequacy. I compare myself to my friends and people I look up to, and think things like "when x was my age they had y and I don't, so I'm a failure."  If someone else said that to me, I'd remind them that everyone's path is different and that comparison is the thief of joy, but I can't seem to take my own advice.

While I was away, I was scrolling through Facebook and someone had posted a link to an article about Simon Cowell. Apparently, when he was 32 he only had about £5 in his bank account, which he spent on a taxi fare to move back in with his parents. My second thought when I read that article was that I had a lot more time to screw up than I thought I did. (My first thought was that if he was that broke, he should have probably taken the bus or asked his parents to pick him up.) 

  Exploring the 'Reading Between the Lines' construction by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh in Borgloon, Belgium

Exploring the 'Reading Between the Lines' construction by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh in Borgloon, Belgium

 'Reading Between the Lines' construction by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh in Borgloon, Belgium
 Ceiling in 'Reading Between the Lines' construction by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh in Borgloon, Belgium

3. Travel is good for the soul

Yes, Depression can follow you around the world, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see it. I found that my time away helped me remember how much I want to get back on track and start creating content again. I've missed it so much, and the strange thing is I have so many ideas for posts and videos... I just get overwhelmed when it comes to actually making them. But I guess this is a good start?

I'll be back very soon with a vlog from my day in Antwerp, and more pictures from the rest of my trip. I don't know if I'll be going back to my regular schedule straight away, but hopefully things will get back on track in the next few weeks. 

 

My photography equipment:


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