How Travel Helped My Recovery

How Travel Helped My Recovery

As regular readers of my blog will know, I have struggled with anorexia for over 5 years. This is a mental illness, of course, which means a great deal of work has to be put into psychological recovery and I wholeheartedly believe that travel can become a part of that.

For much of the past 5 years, travel has simply not been possible due to my low weight and erratic eating patterns. I must stress that physical recovery is paramount. During the months of wellness I experienced, of which I had a few, I have been able and lucky enough to venture abroad.

My first trip, with a friend, was in 2014 where we flew out to Sri Lanka to teach English.

10577215_920003388016896_1557671888567850005_n
At the top of Sigiriya

Out there I learned that I could be of use. I was needed, I could be helpful, I could be useful to other people. That meant so much to me because I had spent an awfully long time convinced there was no place for me.

It didn’t matter to the people I met out there what size I was, or what I looked like, it mattered that I could speak English and that I was open to helping and educating.

Alongside this, I managed to learn to escape from my own mind. I was exceptionally busy and had to keep that way. I saw the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka and I was truly grateful for being able to experience it.

I realised what recovery enabled. It enabled life.

I contrasted this to the months I had spent stuck in an inpatient unit years before and I took a sigh of relief as I looked at where I was and what I was doing.

Last Summer, I was lucky enough to be offered a position teaching English in China for two months. Crawling out of a severe relapse, I used it as motivation to get better or at least to keep my weight stable and it proved to be a very effective technique. I arrived in Shanghai slim, but healthy.

And I had the time of my life.

I truly learned how to live and be independent. I took charge of my lessons and in turn took charge of my life. I laughed. I embraced the day. I saw so many cool and extraordinary things.

DSC01990
Shanghai’s Stunning Skyline

I made friends with people who had no idea about my previous struggles which proved to me that I was made of more than my illness.

I thrived. After my teaching, myself and two fellow teachers travelled to Taipei and Tokyo. We explored and got lost and met people from all over the world. I gained confidence and I couldn’t have been happier.

I arrived back in the UK safely and with such incredible memories. My weight was the same as when I had boarded that first plane two months previous.

I ate foods I had never previously heard of, I ate all my meals with chopsticks, I tried new things, I put myself on center stage twice a day teaching…

20150824_130708.jpg
Chopsticks in Japan

If I could do that, I could do anything.

Travelling gave me confidence and it showed me that outside the thoughts and insecurities in my mind, there was an entire world.

 

 

 

Like, comment and follow for more positivity!

~Alee

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “How Travel Helped My Recovery

    1. It may do! I definitely recommend it. Obviously do what is best in consideration of your mental & physical health though. If I had gone whilst severely underweight or struggling emotionally I wouldn’t have had the amazing experiences I did. Best of luck x

      Like

      1. Lots of ppl have said this to me but my problem is I want being away to help me to get healthier physically and mentally without having made any changes first cause I just don’t no how 😥

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s