There weren’t many things that I knew I wanted to do after losing Jake. Literally all of my plans changed. They flipped completely upside down. Well, almost all of them. Perhaps the only two things I knew I wanted to do were finish my PhD, and to get away for a little while (well more accurately, get away as much as possible).
So I planned a month adventure to Europe, to places I have always, always dreamed about visiting. After booking the trip people kept asking me if I was scared, or excited, and as much as I knew that I was both of those things, I didn’t feel either emotion. Mainly because it didn’t feel real, the trip didn’t feel real, and to be completely honest my whole existence didn’t feel real. I went into autopilot mode in the months after the accident.
But then the day came, and whilst standing at the airport I was scared, sad, anxious, but definitely also excited.
It sucked watching the adorable (too adorable) couples at the airport and on the plane. I genuinely never thought I would travel far on my own, aside from for work trips. I had an adventure partner. So it was a crazy thought to be travelling to the other side of the world by myself for a month.
Arriving to Edinburgh, Scotland (my first stop), was equal parts terrifying and exciting. I was so keen to get out and explore the beautiful city but I was nervous to do it by myself, not because of anything major, more just because of the small things… like eating in a café alone, or having to get my suitcase up a flight of stairs alone. But I adjusted to it, and I even started enjoying the time by myself, particularly snuggled up in my apartment watching snow fall- that was magical!
I soon joined my first tour group, and I was definitely no longer alone, although I was still lonely from time to time. Meeting 50 new people, travelling around Scotland and Ireland, singing Irish pub music, searching for Nessie and doing a million other amazing things was a genuinely fantastic distraction. I learnt that it is true that you can be a different person whilst travelling. I didn’t tell many people I met why I booked the trip, because, for a little while I didn’t want people to treat me differently, to give me sympathy, or to tip toe around me.
I needed to see beauty in the world again. After losing Jake and feeling the most unimaginable pain, it was hard to think of life the same way. I always loved my life, and thought our planet was damn beautiful and completely filled with magic. But loosing Jake made me question all of that. It made me question why things happen, and whether I could ever see or appreciate life’s enchantment again.
However, travelling, exploring, experiencing new places, and meeting new people did help me start to see the beauty again. I realised that Earth is a giant place, filled with amazing things and people. Filled with places so awe-inspiring that you can’t help but smile. Filled with people who are all fighting different battles and people who are more than willing to help me fight mine (even people I just met). I have always believed in fate. So losing Jake was really hard, as I could never believe that it was fate. It was a horrible and tragic accident, not fate. However, I do believe that since then, fate has made me meet particular people. Some people who I told what happened, others who I didn’t. Many of them wouldn’t even realise that the time I spent with them (no matter how short) helped me immensely (I hope a couple of them might actually be reading this).
I have always craved adventure, but I think that craving has definitely grown.
It doesn’t in any way change what happened, but travelling and exploring is soothing my soul.