“Illusion never changed into something real” – Natalie Imbruglia.
I promised I would write some more about the mental and psychological aspects of my travel lifestyle and I will but just a quick one today on a wet Sunday in Kaliningrad City, typed live from the Kruassan WiFi Cafe in Victory Square. Hour on hour, day on day, month on month I become more lost, more depressed, more disillusioned by this whole lifestyle. Let’s be frank about this – travelling the world impresses NOBODY. It’s boring. It’s unrewarding and it’s completely over-hyped (even by myself). It’s easy to do and provides short term bliss, and that’s all.
“Maybe just happy” – Kurt Cobain.
I go down the pub and tell my friends about my travels. They are so bored. They fall asleep faster than they would watching a modern film. Same goes with my family. I send my brother postcards and get my Mum fridge magnets from hundreds of places. I only do that to show I care about them and am thinking about them when abroad, but really they don’t want these gifts. Which again, pains me. And then there are my travel friends. Even they are not impressed by my travels, as they’ve been there too. Yes people who travel don’t even get excited about travel anymore! The whole lifestyle the last few years have turned me into some kind of monster. Nobody is impressed and realistically all I have to show from my travels is this website and a few folders of momentos I kept from over 140 countries (debated or not).
I’m seeing a psychologist at the moment in the city of Gdansk in Poland. I had to do it – it was the right move. Days became too depressing. Real friends didn’t seem to exist. The friends I made in Poland also seemed to ignore me, some of them not even excited about how cool I thought their country was, and when I visited obscure towns in Pomerania, none of my Polish friends thought it was interesting! There was me, working hard, being myself and the rewards were a night on my own crying into a pillow. In a town I’d never heard of.
Depression has been on and off for me down the years, but this year has been the worst since 2009 (the Hungarian dancer saga). So at least I’m in good hands and hopefully there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t hide my depression any more. I felt I had let myself down as a human and had turned into a bad person. I made some new friends who led me to believe everything was OK again.
There are other people out there who have contributed to my depression and I won’t name them, but it will be people that I think I can rely on, people I think would be great company for a coffee and a chat. Only then they shun me and I’m sipping coffee on my own, contacting hospitals. It was a fast downward spiral of events, the last six months or so.
During the last few weeks, I missed Daniel Evans wedding. I couldn’t believe I could miss it. Dan and I lived together in Australia, we travelled together and even headed to crazy Ladonia together in 2015. I had a year’s notice for his wedding and I let him down. The real reason I couldn’t go to the wedding was depression. I didn’t want to go and see everybody being happy yet I was sad myself. It didn’t seem right. Daniel got married the same weekend I backpacked alone in Tczew and my ex-girlfriend Panny Yu had her first birthday in 6 years without her Northern Irish boyfriend.
Travel become boring for me. I was disillusioned by it. I’m justified to say this – over 800 towns or cities into my journey, places can become uninspiring. I was back in Amsterdam recently and realised how much I hated it. Same went for Paris. It was only really when I backpacked through Leba, Starogard Gdański and Pelplin that I reignited my travel spark.
To get inspired by travel these days, I need to visit places nobody else has heard of. Otherwise it’s boring. The amount of backpackers I met the last few weeks heading to Berlin and Krakow upset me. When they asked me about things to do there, I basically told them not to go there. There’s nothing to do there. I can only be honest to myself. Nobody who shared my dorms the last few weeks really inspired me that much. Probably because I also don’t inspire them. Nobody thought writing about Afghanistan, Gorno Badakhshan, Uzupis or Adammia was interesting. Yet I buzzed off it and was even on Afghan news this week. I love the unpopularity of it and I still detest travel blogs on Thailand and New York city.
Perhaps I’ve become a travel snob, but no apologies if I have. At least I’m real. I’d far rather whackpack through Karakalpakstan, Kaliningrad or Xinying than tour (yawns) Bangkok, Rome or Buenos Aires.
I was disillusioned by travel and that’s why I headed to these remote parts of Poland, and now to a remote region owned by Russia.
“He could preach the bible like a preacher, full of ecstasy and fire.
But he also was the kind of teacher women would desire” – Boney M.
People see my smiles, my happiness and my articles and stories and must thing this is all keeping me happy. But these are distractions. They are temporary smiles. Like the Euro 2016 football tournament. It was really just a cover up for my depression and a temporary high in a low.
“Love remains the drug that’s the high, and not the pill” – Seal.
Being in a five year relationship with Panny Yu also now seems like a distraction. It was all bliss with Panny, but that was surely a cover up for my unhappiness.
Somehow in the madness of it all, I met two other girls at the end of my relationship with Panny and I aim to write more about this. Neither of these girls were of any interest to me at all. Initially. But somehow in the madness of it all, I managed to fall in love twice again. Yes, twice and I couldn’t shake it. It was again a temporary distraction. I hate dishonesty in life, and hiding things so I told both these girls my exact feelings. They didn’t like it at all. In fact, I think it somehow turned a love into a hate in a single moment and I had to pick up the pieces, again. I felt like the devil with an angel’s mind.
So I study Polish in Gdansk now, I’m looking for a flat here and I might even get a part time job on top of my travel writing. I’m seeking happiness again and it is tougher now, than it was before. Backpacking the world and becoming a professional travel blogger sure as hell changed my life – it gave me money, time and freedom. Yes, it gave me that hat-trick. But it didn’t yet bring me love and happiness. That remains the dream and I will go seek it. On every corner on every street.
I’m in Kaliningrad today and yes this place is brilliant, I love it. It was a challenge to get here and to write about it and I’m thankful I had a great Hotel, my trusty Ibis for the first night, and two nights in the Crazy Dog Hostel. So there are a lot of perks and nice people to meet in this lifestyle. But things are not totally right in my mind.
For the first time this week, I properly looked through my back catalogue of photos and videos. Just quickly, but I realised how many places I’ve really been and really seen. That much is staggering and is probably the best thing to think of as I try to escape this depression.
“Everything in love got broken on the road to Mandalay” – Robbie Williams.