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When people talk about travel, it’s usually to remark how much it opens up your mind, widening your horizons, making you a better person. It’s about relaxing, coming to terms with yourself and unplugging for a while. Generally, travelling is seen in a very positive light because it serves as a way to get to know yourself better and explore the world. However, as my mood these days is constantly plummeting to the ground, I can’t help but wonder: when does the positive act of travelling turn into an escape?

My whole life, I have been viewing my travelling experiences as a way to constantly improve, not allowing myself to settle down for anything and always on the lookout for more. To me, it was a positive influence which allowed me to live life as a never-ending journey of discovery, eager to learn more about the world and make the most of this short stay on Earth. It was beautiful and I was completely enthralled.

But then life got more complicated, things were not as easy as they were when I was younger and stress started building up like never before. Gradually, I started noticing that, whenever something negative happened, my answer would be to book a flight, pack up my shit and go. Not necessarily forever or to a far way land that no one had heard of like in the movies, but even just a few days were enough to get out of my daily life and fill my head with new thoughts, so that I wouldn’t have the time to actually face reality.

It wasn’t noticeable at first. I would just see it as a chance to “get some air” and reflect on things, so that I could manage them better when I was back. That was my excuse and I was fine with it, because I still loved the feeling of getting to a new place and looking around, mesmerised by the new reality surrounding me. If we all have our coping mechanisms, this was mine and, to be honest, it was a pretty fucking good one if you ask me. But as I kept repeating that to myself, I realised that if some people revert to substances to cover up their issues, travelling was my pill of choice. And as other things, a pretty expensive one too.

Don’t get me wrong – I do love travelling and it makes me genuinely happy to learn about new cultures, meet new people, experience something new. But I also realise that when I talked about being scared of commitment in my previous post, my answer has always been the same: don’t put in the effort, just run away. Slowly, it started dawning on me that I had turned one of my favourite things into a defence mechanism, to shy away from the world and avoid coming to terms with my problems. I just couldn’t stay away from it and would crave my next fix constantly, and more so when something went wrong in my life, in a never-ending search for a reality where all the darkness would disappear.

Yet, with time I realised that in truth, there is no such place. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we can’t hide from ourselves and life is not meant to be escaped from, but lived. And as much as exploring is good for your soul, so is staying and facing consequences instead of moving somewhere else, with a clean slate, and start anew. As appealing as that sounds, if done for the wrong reasons it can lead to regret, loneliness or, ultimately, feeling lost as fuck amidst a sea of missed opportunities.

My message to you all today is: travelling is an amazing experience to come to know different realities, compare them with our own, come back richer than before. But it’s not an excuse to turn your back on reality and it cannot be an eternal escape. At some point, you need to open your eyes and be ready to face whatever stands in front of you. Who knows, you might find out the thing that you were so scared about is actually not that bad!

To top off this blog post, here’s a sad but beautiful song for you all.

I hope you’re all having a lovely day,
Elena

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