When is this going to stop?
Updated on January 26th, 2023
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada – Jan 2015
Contrary to what you may think the title suggests, this is not a “woe is me” post about my situation, but the comment made by my cleaner when I told her before Christmas that I was going away (again!) for 2 months to Australia. She looked at me & said, “When is this going to stop?” It was at that moment I realised how my life this last year could look to anyone observing my coping strategy.
The only way I have been able to make it through the first year without Terry is by breaking it up into chunks. I’ve always travelled. We’ve always lived from 1 holiday to the next, focussing on working hard so we can then stop & go away, recharge for the next onslaught. I guess it’s the only way I know. By the end of 2015, I had visited Canada, Borneo, Greece, Hawaii & Australia. I feel like a bit of a spoilt brat. Am I lucky? That’s a whole different discussion.
I’ve been lucky in having friends & family who have recognised this need & been there with invites & suggestions for me. The first time was just after I lost Terry. My friend Vikky (who now lives in Sydney), called to say that she was going on a skiing trip to Whistler, Canada in January on her own. All was booked & paid for, I’d just need flights. I hadn’t been skiing for 20 years, mainly because Terry had been told he couldn’t because of his health, but also because we always just preferred being in the sun. Of course, I couldn’t say “No” & going there coincided perfectly with my sister & her family heading back home to Australia. I would be on my own for the first time in the month since I’d lost Terry. I booked flights, lessons, bought my kit & next thing I knew I was back on the (nursery) slopes. It’s all a blur but it was so different from any other holiday I’d had for a while, it was perfect.
When I got back I had a call from my friend Manda living in Hong Kong. She was coming home in the summer & trying to see the bits of Asia that were left beforehand. Did I want to join her for Easter in Borneo? Of course (except I actually told everyone I was going to Burma – luckily I checked the message again before I bought the guide book!)! Again, it was a very different trip to any I had with Terry who wasn’t really into wildlife (when we went to South Africa, I was allowed one morning on safari – under duress!). It was also the trip where I realised, on a boat heading towards a 3-day safari on the Kinabatangan River, that this is where I was most at peace – the sun, the water, the unknown, the adventure.
Lankayan Island, Borneo, Malaysia – April 2015
Then it was meeting my sister, Al, in Greece for an island-hopping trip. It was when this almost didn’t happen that I realised how important my trips were – breaking the year up into chunks of time, 2 months to get on with a project (house, loft, blog), then off again. This was probably the most challenging in that Terry & I loved our Greek Island hopping trips, so on the face of it, this is when I’d miss him the most. But it was different. It was all new to Al, who had never been to Greece before, and as such a whole new adventure. It was the first time she had really been on holiday without her family (other than visits home to spend time with our Dad – not the same!) and the first time we had spent this much time together, just the 2 of us since we were kids. It worked & I hope it will be the start of an annual pilgrimage to Europe for us.
Santorini, Greece – July 2015
Then there was meeting my family halfway from here (UK) to Australia – in Hawaii where I spent 10 days with them, a week on my own (a story for another day) & then a week with Vikky.
Kalalau Trail, Kaua’i, USA – Oct 2015
Finally, I headed to Australia for 2 months over Christmas. From here on in I recognise that Christmas will be a very different time for me. I lost Terry on 17th December (just – his operation was 16th) & I have a strong desire not to be alone. I need to be with people I love & who love me. So while I was there I figured I may as well make a thing of it & see some bits I’ve never seen before.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia – Dec 2015
I’m now back & have made it through my first year, I am hugely grateful to everyone who has helped me break the time up & make it manageable (is it manageable?). I am now planning the rest of this year & have no intention of stopping my travels any time soon. I am lucky I can do this….but I’d still rather not be.
I love this post!! “When is this going to stop…” is a phrase I’ve heard in my life as well. Our lives may look different than what society has decided is normal.. and for that we get those comments.
I’ve had a very troubling life. One I didnt think I was going to survive, travel almost fell on me by chance. I was given one tiny opportunity and JUMPED on it and havent stopped since. It helped me gain my life back. Travelling has fed every inch of my soul and fills me with immense joy. But we still hear those little comments of ‘running away’ or ‘avoiding responsibility’. I dont even know what it is assumed that we are running from? Everywhere you go, you take yourself with you. And through travel we get to see and explore the world and all sides of ourselves! We really see what we’re made of when we mess up alone in a place we don’t yet know.
Travel is medicine.
Thank you for your lovely posts.
Thank you Kay for sharing your lovely message & for taking the time to read these posts. I agree with everything you say & I am so pleased that you found travel & took the opportunities it presented. It appears we are kindred spirits! I readily admit that some of my wanderlust was fuelled with “running away” but as you wisely say, you take yourself & your challenges with you. I find that I can process things better but also need the distraction of new places & people around me to choose when I do. Thank you again for your message & I hope we can stay connected. Sue x