“Where are you headed next?”, asked the man, “Agra? Jaipur?”.
I was standing in the air-conditioned lobby of a hotel in Delhi as I got chatting with the older Indian man. He turned out to be a tour guide for a bunch of elderly western tourists. I turned out to be a big-headed idiot, but I didn’t know it then.
“No”, I said, feeling a little pleased with myself that we weren’t going to the Taj Mahal or the famous Pink City as did everyone else. “We’re going to Haridwar”.
The man gave me a quick look. “Are you going on a tour?”.
I laughed a little as I shook my head. “Nahh. Just the two of us”, I said, pointing towards Marvin who was waiting a few steps away.
“Well”, said the man and returned my smirk with a gentle smile, “seems like you’re diving head first into real India. Best of luck to you”.
“Are we gonna need it?”, I asked jokingly, if a bit startled – but he was already walking away, leaving me with just one of these indefinite head wiggles for an answer.
If only I’d known how right he was.
Migraines are a pain in the ass wherever and whenever they hit you. But there’s just something so specifically annoying about having a day of your holiday ruined by the stone-cold atrocity that is a full-blown migraine attack. Unfortunately, there’s just so many travel-related migraine triggers that make vulnerable heads go crazy.
Airplane travel, a different diet, a change in climate, overnight bus rides, culture shock, nervousness, dehydration, exhaustion – if you’re prone to migraines, really anything about your journey can leave you in a state of desperately trying to stop yourself from smashing that head up against the next wall.
As someone who experiences this on all of her journeys, I want to share some tips on travel migraine prevention for my fellow sufferers out there. There’s hope, I promise.
No matter how hard you study, there will always be some parts of a language that you won’t be able to capture without living where it is actually used. Raised north of the Alps, I have always struggled to grasp certain nuances of my second language Italian (and pretty much everything about its grammar, but that’s a different story). It wasn’t until I went to live in Italy for a few months that I got a little closer to the art of expression that the Italians call their language – and that I finally cracked the one I’d been racking my brains about all my life. About the most Italian of words.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have written and shared several posts about my issues with mental health – something I would’ve never thought of doing in all the years I have struggled with them. After writing about the beginnings of anxiety, ways of dealing with it through my school, gap and university years and my experiences with therapy, I want to come full circle and make some final confessions about what it’s like to live with anxiety now – in “adult life” (haha?).
When you’re away from home for a while, you’re most probably going to have some expectations for your return. That can be things you look forward to, like a loved one picking you up from the airport, or less pleasant outlooks, like getting back to a cold house because you forgot to turn on the heating or whatever.
When I came back home after ten months of travel, any possible expectations I could have had became outdone in both these senses: I was greeted by my family and closest friends at the airport – and by many more beloved people gathered in my parents’ backyard as a surprise for me: A memory I will treasure forever. But what else I had awaiting me was a new level of anxiety, one that so seriously messed with my life that I soon knew I wasn’t going to get back on track without professional help.
If I got one euro every time I saw a blog post title like “how travel helped cure my anxiety” and I’d buy pizza from that money – I’d end up with more pizza than I could eat (a lot). What I’m trying to say is: Travel seems to work magic for many sufferers of anxiety, depression or whatever other mental condition. When searching the internet for contrary experiences though, there isn’t much to be found. Or there wasn’t until now.