• neelammistrythaker

Oh Covid....Lost dreams, mental wellness and moving forward


The leaves are falling around me and its pouring with rain but in my head I’m sat on a beach in Asia getting lost in the sound of the waves. Reality is hard to face. Some people probably thought we were mad to continue with our plans to travel. We remained positive, optimistic and probably naïve thinking that things would suddenly change. We left jobs, our home and any form of stability to chase our dream. All whilst there was a global pandemic happening. We spent excessive money getting all the necessary equipment, vaccinations and insurance. To now be sat back in a cold and grey England. But with the love and safety of our family.


We were lucky to spend three special weeks exploring Turkey. It was a compromise from our dream of starting in Malaysia. But one we don’t regret. We set off with our backpacks, a lot of faith and a budget designed for Asia. After about a week of bliss, exploring the stunning Cappadocia and the busy Istanbul, we looked to plan our next stop. We got stuck. The only place we could realistically travel to was another area of Turkey. There was still no concrete news about any borders opening in Asia. Again we remained positive and booked time near the beach. This in itself proved difficult. We spent endless hours trawling the internet for any suitable accommodation, finally finding the perfect apartment. If you didn’t know already, travelling through Covid is far from glamorous. Walking the streets donning a face mask in 35 degree heat, having your temperature checked in every restaurant or shop you enter, being so limited on your next destination. We even lost money after booking a flight to Italy but then realising 2 days before that anyone flying from Turkey would need to quarantine for 2 weeks. The rules and regulations we have found are so unclear and often changing. Key thing here, please make sure you do thorough research before you book anything as the rules are constantly changing. Remember to check the specific country guidelines along with the FCO before booking anything


The world is struggling. Every country is responding in a different way. Until you have travelled during Covid it’s probably hard to understand just how challenging it is. After moving on to Dalyan in Turkey (our 4th destination), we decided to call it quits and feeling slightly deflated we booked a ticket home. We had family and friends telling us to go anywhere just not to come back to the UK. But that’s much easier said than done during Covid. In all honesty we saw it as a pit stop to give Asia a little more time to open. But reality has drastically begun to sink in.


And now here we are nearly two weeks since being back, with faded tans we have been discussing our options. We feel like our dream has completely slipped away from us. And mentally that is so challenging. I’ve had days on end of complete confusion where my mind just can’t focus. Feelings of being completely defeated and being lost from any sense of purpose. This past week has been really tough. We hopefully waited for any news about the new Thai visa, but as we kind of guessed it is only open to those countries less affected by Covid.


As many of you know, I left my career in the summer out of complete exhaustion following a dead end path that wasn’t for me. I saw travelling as a way to, as cliche as it sounds, find myself a little. Take a break away from normality, routine and a pressure to have things figured out. In my mind I should have 5 more months to detach from everything. But in reality we have to do that now. Whilst being away I had been journalling, but apart from that I had lost touch with any mindfulness or meditation practice. This week I started again and I was left afterwards feeling dizzy and fuzzy with thoughts. My mind can’t seem to process everything at once. So instead we’re taking to list making to try and get some sort of order in what we are doing. I’ve also committed to some form of exercise every day to get back into a routine, whether it be a walk, run or YouTube workout. I am trying 10 or 15 minutes of mediation in the morning to help bring some calm and clarity. And in general we are trying our best to use this time to find our feet, find our options and not waste this time we have.


For those that do follow me on social media you have probably seen I have been pretty quiet. I guess my creativity and need to be socially active just wasn’t there. Even communicating with family and friends I have been finding difficult. I almost just wanted to shut myself away from the world. Even writing this has been difficult but kind of liberating. I’ve had thoughts around travel, the future in terms of career, a home and a family all running through my head. This unnecessary pressure to have things all figured out is driving me a bit mad. Especially when it’s all during a global pandemic that has new surprises every day! Can you relate? I’m sure a lot of people are probably feeling the same in some aspect of their life.


It’s been pretty therapeutic to write this all down and share it with you, so thank you for reading along. I still don’t entirely know what the next 5 months holds for us, but we’re working on plans to make this time worthwhile! First, I need a mental re set and time to take it all in. I'll continue writing about the journey because its something I have really enjoyed doing over the last few months. Keep posted as we share news on what we plan to do next.


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