Regular readers of my blog will know that my ‘other half’ is an avid landscape photographer, and last week he’d had the foresight to book a few days off to take full advantage of the good weather conditions at both sunrise and sunset.
The first part of the week was devoted to nearby locations, but I knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with that, and sure enough, at the mid-week mark, he announced that he was planning to travel much further afield to one of his ‘must do’ photography locations – down to Dorset to capture the sights of Corfe Castle and Durdle Door.
His plan was simple, throw a few things into an overnight bag, bung a change of clothes and camera equipment into his trusty Land Rover and head off. It literally took him as long as it took me to write this blog to pack, set the Sat Nav and go…
And this is where we differ! I would love to be impulsive and live a little ‘in the moment, but sadly I was obviously elsewhere when they were dishing out spontaneity! When even the thought of changing from my regular delivery slot for my Tesco DotCom delivery sends me into a mini melt-down, you know that the nearest I’ll get to an impulse is to use it as body spray!
So, being home alone got me thinking, just how do people deal with sudden requirements to travel when it’s out of their comfort zone, what is the real impact on someone’s mental state, and what help is out there.
I’m a list-maker, I like lists (there I’ve said it!), there’s a section of my iPhone dedicated to my many lists, and I’d be lost without one. And yes, I DO have a packing list, honed and refined over time, and always ready to be called upon.
“You’ve got a list, what’s the problem then?” you might be forgiven for thinking, but it’s not as simply as that, what if I’ve left something off the list? What if the list hasn’t taken geographical or meteorological factors into account? The list is only the starting point, I must be ready for any eventuality that a trip away might throw at me. I may not have sewn so much as a shirt button on in years, but heaven forbid I should embark on a mini break without a sewing kit in my case (and of course the kit MUST contain at least half a dozen safety pins, you can never have enough safety pins!)
So you can see my dilemma, I’m hoping some of you will be sympathetic, better still, empathetic; but I get there’s a good few of you thinking I should be booking in for counselling! And I get where you’re coming from, I really do!
So what did I discover when I looked into the subject in more depth. Well firstly, and most importantly, “I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS LIKE THIS”, and that’s worth a shoutout!
For many, travel is the ultimate therapy, for others, the thought of travel is enough to send them into therapy – I think I’m somewhere in the middle! Even if the destination is a tropical getaway, the sheer effort to actually get there is a strain to both mental and physical well-being. Having to deal with situations beyond our control, such as delayed flights or unforeseen, last-minute changes are factors that can contribute to travel-related stress. Of course everyone can experience a degree of anxiety or stress whilst travelling, but it can be especially trying on those people who live with mental health issues – particularly if changes to a personal routine throw mental health out of balance.
Remember my own love of lists, well travel can throw any amount of planning into upheaval – even when travel is meant to be fun! There may be numerous challenges to face, ranging from petty annoyances to bigger disruptions.
Now if I’ve given you the impression that I’m completely neurotic about travelling – I’m not, but, I have previously worked in environments where taking a holiday means working twice as hard in order to take two weeks off. Worse than that, it then takes at least halfway into week one to finally relax and unwind, with my anxiety about returning to normal life kicking in mid way into week two – hardly a beneficial break! And then of course, that cliche upon return…”ooh I need a holiday to get over my holiday”. Ever said it? I certainly have.
But I did say right at the start that I lack any spontaneity, well sometimes, in that parallel holiday universe I have had my moments! I’ve camel-trekked across the Sahara, skinny (well not so skinny-dipped!) in the Caribbean, spent a month in Canada, and had countless other wonderful experiences, and they were all worth the anxieties and stresses of getting there.
And as for my impulsive partner – here’s what his spontaneous trip produced…
We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!). An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.