There is this misconception that when you travel all your problems are left back at home but that is not true. You can’t run away from your problems. You carry your problems with you. When I decided to sell all my possessions and travel full-time it didn’t change the fact that I was still going through a divorce, that my children’s lives had fallen apart, and that I had lost my two bonus kids. All of those things were very much still apparent.
I booked flights to Puerto Rico but almost immediately upon arriving I found myself depressed. I didn’t want to get out to explore. My anxiety was beyond belief. I knew my soon-to-be ex-husband would be joining us so I figured we would wait to explore when he got there. You see. We had worked out this deal that the girls and I could travel but that he was always welcome along with a free place to stay. That was the deal. What I didn’t realize then was that this was just another cycle of me getting taken advantage of. We were not ready to be co-parents then. There were still too many feelings involved. Too many emotions. We are still not ready to be co-parents. You see. Not everyone can have a co-parenting relationship. There are some situations where it just won’t work. That is my situation. Sure I can keep him updated about the girls. I can be kind. I can send pictures but I also have to have very clear boundaries to protect myself.
I was not myself in Puerto Rico. I was not embracing the culture. I feared trying to speak the language and trying to interact with the beautiful locals. My co-parent and I fought all the time. At one point he had jumped out of a moving car and walked aimlessly around the island for hours. This was not what I envisioned when I set out on this journey. Not at all.
After Puerto Rico I found myself defeated. I wanted to give up before our journey had even begun. I found comfort in being back in our old city. And then I found comfort being back in our old neighborhood surrounded by friends. One of the girls even talked about going back to school. We all talked about buying a house and just traveling every once in awhile. We quickly fell back into our old routine. We were unhappy. We were bored. My co-parent was around a lot yet I felt more and more tired. My adventurous spirit dwindled. We were still arguing. I was still struggling with my emotions. The pain was overwhelming.
The last argument we had was a blessing in disguise because I snapped out of the spell I was under. I realized that I was right back in the nightmare I had so desperately tried to escape. I was losing myself. Even the girls were not themselves. What had I done? As a mother, we try to do the best for our kids but I was once again subjecting them to hell. The illusion that I had escaped was just that- an illusion. I remember that last argument. It was all through text. His mind had got the best of him and no matter what I said his mind was not going to let him believe the truth. I am so thankful for that last argument because through his anger I was freed. His true character was once again revealed breaking the chains clenched around my soul.
As the girls and I progress in our cross country road trip, I realize just how strong those chains were. It has been almost two months since we have seen him and in those two months I have seen a transformation in both myself and the girls. I can’t even begin to explain the happiness that we feel on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean that life is perfect. At times we are still at each other’s throats. At times we get frustrated. However, my adventurous spirit is back. I even rode a horse up a mountain with the toddler. That is not something this anxiety driven momma would have done before. My energy levels are tremendous. I feel alive. I feel confident. The girls have stated that this trip has been the best trip so far, and I can’t disagree with them. We are embracing life every day and experiencing things we have never experienced before.
Depression still creeps at my doorway waiting to envelope me into the familiar darkness. I have to constantly be on my toes removing things from my life that do not bring me joy. I have to continually speak positivity into the air in order to fight against the negativity that threatens to pull me back in. Traveling keeps me on my toes but it also brings its own stressors. Your problems travel with you and our magnified by all the things that can go wrong while traveling. It is up to you to face them no matter where you are. Traveling teaches you to be flexible, strong, confident, and makes you able to conquer just about anything. Travel on!