Visiting South East Asia is something I’ve always wanted to do… as a young girl my bedroom was painted red and white and trimmed with golden Japanese ‘symbols’ as I used to call them. I would collect ANYTHING vaguely related to South East Asia and cover my shelves and ANY surface with it. Even those paper covers for chop sticks that you get in Chinese restaurants graced my walls. It was exactly what my older brother would call ‘tat’.

…But I never thought it would be possible to go alone…

In 2014/15 I went through a difficult period. I was extremely anxious and low. I had lost all self confidence and my nerves went through the roof. I was having panic attacks, I would sweat profusely whenever someone would talk to me (work colleagues, housemates, strangers), I would go over and over and over the ‘stupid’ things I had said to people and lived in fear of embarrassing myself or saying something stupid. I would avoid eye contact or speaking to others if I could. I was referred for guided Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and started antidepressants. I did not believe I was ‘bad enough’ to see a therapist but I went along with it… anything to stop the misery.

My therapist completed various assessments and it turned out I had social anxiety. After the initial disbelief, lots of reading, listening and reflecting I accepted this. As part of guided CBT I began to challenge myself to do the things I never thought I could [in VERY small steps of course!]

  • Having a drink in a cafe alone
  • Watching a film in the cinema alone
  • Ordering food alone
  • Going to a gym class
  • Singing in front of another person
  • Auditioning for a musical theatre society
  • Singing in part of a choir on stage

This travel adventure is the last one on my list. I have aways ruled it out (“I could NEVER do that alone”) and when I tell people now about it they ask “are you going with someone?” “no” the response is always shock. Time to change that! Time to challenge that…