How Negative Experiences Lead Me to the Best Decision of my Life
Post written by Rhiannon Robertson
Street Art in Georgetown Penang
Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by different culture and how different people lived in countries all around the world. When my cousin and I played with our barbie dolls – hers would have a big white wedding, a house, a husband and lots of children. My barbie wanted to travel the world, trek through jungles, stay with tribes in the Amazon or help build houses in Africa.
I desperately wanted to travel after I left college but nobody else was interested. I barely had an ounce of self confidence when I was younger and nobody encouraged the idea if I spoke my mind out loud.
I got a job and still spent my days dreaming of travel and adventure; I settled into a mis-matched and eventually rather destructive relationship.
Things came to a head after that. The month after my relationship ended I took a 4 week break from work and backpacked with an old school friend in Thailand and Cambodia.
Once I realised it was nowhere near as terrifying as I thought it would be, I started to wonder, could I really possibly do it on my own?
View from Mount Bromo (Java)
I scoured solo female travel blogs and met a few friends that actively encouraged me to pursue it.
I had already been planning on leaving my job for some time but I was still lacking that final push, a reason that made me take the leap.
Well, the final push I had been looking for eventually came from a series of unfortunate experiences. Some tragic incidents in my family, overworking to the the point where I felt close to a mental breakdown and with my mother chronically ill – something had to give.
I was depressed and constantly on the verge of tears. I am a very strong person, and it takes a lot for me to ask for help, a lot for me to say “I can’t cope”. When I didn’t receive the support I needed, it was the final straw that broke the camels back.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces (Bali)
I knew I needed to leave for several reasons:
1. For my mental health.
2. For my physical health.
3. To pursue my dreams.
4. To achieve my goals.
Little is known about my mother’s condition (a severe type of Rheumatoid Arthritis) but some research suggests that it could be hereditary. After blood tests showed my rheumatoid levels were higher than average, I knew that I was on the verge of making the best decision on my life.
What if I did what other people suggested? What if I stuck it out at a job that didn’t pay me well, overworking myself, being miserable, making myself tired and sick. What if I bought a house? What if I settled for the wrong person and had children just because I was “supposed to”?
What if I listened to people who said, do all of those things, and travel when you’re retired?
Koh Lipe, Thailand
What if I did all of this, and like my mother, then have a sudden onset of a progressive and chronic disease that would leave be disabled before I was even 50?
There was no guarantee this would happen, doctors assured me there was an equally good chance that I would lead a perfectly healthy life, but the fear was still there. The fear of a life of unfulfilled dreams, and being bitter later in life for not taking that one leap of faith and having the courage to just do it.
I had to get over my fear of failure and accept that, maybe I would come back earlier than I wanted and broke but at least I tried. Or it could work out perfectly, the way I wanted it to, meeting amazing people, getting once in a life time opportunities, experiencing new cultures, witnessing awe inspiring beauty, traveling and working on my own business…
Which it has.
The Canyon, Pai (Thailand)
I’m in my 8th month of backpacking Southeast Asia, funding my travels with my Freelance business (writing, content creating, social media management). I have seen and experienced things I never could have imagined, met the most amazing people, and healed myself mentally, spiritually and physically.
The road hasn’t always been smooth but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
About the author…
Rhiannon is a freelance writer, content creator, copywriter and social media manager. She is currently in her 8th month of backpacking around Asia, has just finished her motorbike journey from South to North Vietnam and is looking for her next challenge!Originally from England but still searching for the country where she feels “at home”, she is a lover of adventure, budget exploring, red lipstick and whiskey on the rocks.
You can follow her adventures on her blog The Gypsy Heart Travels, on her Instagram or Twitter channel.