Pushing the Reset Button: The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done for Myself


A hundred tips for traveling the world, safely, wisely and adventurously!

Hi.

Remember me? 

It’s been a while.

In my last post, I hinted about the dissatisfaction I’ve been battling with over the last couple of years and it was getting those feelings down on a screen that finally convinced me to make the changes I’ve been putting off for so long.

I knew I wasn’t living my best life and my health and happiness had been suffering for years. I was in real danger of slipping back to the pre-travel version of myself; the one with all the panic attacks and eating issues, who was too messed up to step outside. So I did the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

I stopped.

I stopped everything.

I stopped travelling. I stopped working. I stopped using social media. I stopped answering emails. I stopped refreshing Amazon reviews of my book. I stopped staring at Google Analytics. I stopped comparing myself to other people. I stopped everything that was making me unwell. I pushed the reset button.

And then I started living.

Slowly, at first.

Carefully, next.

Defiantly, much later.

And it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Here’s what I learned.

Not Traveling Showed Me There Are More Important Things in Life

I’d booked a dream trip, then spent days beating myself up when I cancelled it. I felt so lost: after four years of building an identity that revolved around travel, who even was I if I no longer found it appealing? What did it mean if all I wanted to do was surround myself with familiarity instead of embracing the different?

There was only one way to find out: to stop travelling and start doing what I was craving.

I spent much of the first week at home in bed. Sometimes you don’t realise how exhausted you are until you stop.

When I felt stronger, I began to exercise. I looked forward to my afternoon walks alongside the River Thames with my mum, like a golden retriever who couldn’t wait to explore all of the world right now. Those small moments with my family while I was home were the moments I treasured the most: walking for hours with my mum and chatting about what her life was like when she was my age; bonding with my dad over music and heading out together to see a Cambodian rock band play in Hackney; having my sister take me to her favourite burger joint, then treating her to afternoon tea; and the random conversations that never seem to occur over Skype calls when you only have 30 minutes to share your updates.

River Thames at Sunset

My friend Kurt offered me a spare ticket he had to a David Gilmour show at the Royal Albert Hall. Before my life revolved around travel, Pink Floyd was my everything. A few years ago, a bad breakup with a guy who was well-known in the fan community had led me to extricating myself from that world to focus on something new. It was heartbreaking to suddenly find the music that had got me through every challenging moment in my life could now only surface bad memories.

With several years having passed, I dove back into that world and came up beaming. I showed my friend Drew around Borough Market and Covent Garden, and we ate camel and zebra burgers before the show, and we didn’t talk about travel once, because he rarely travels. Instead, we chatted about music and his job, and he caught me up on what our mutual friends had been up to.

I hung out with Kurt, and we chatted about photography and music and his life in Los Angeles as a kickass visual effects guy for every big movie ever.

I met up with Alex and we chatted about his work as a radio DJ and we excitedly reminisced about our days spent sitting on Pink Floyd forums for hours on end.

David Gilmour Show

And it felt so good to take a break from talking about travel for once.

And the show was incredible.

It was so good, in fact, that I rushed home and bought tickets to the next two shows because I was desperate to recapture my past where something other than travel made me happy.

Lauren at the Royal Albert Hall

I’m someone who always believed her obsessive personality would never allow her to cultivate more than one passion at a time. I jump from one addiction to the next, casting off my old obsession as soon as something shinier comes along.

But my time at home showed me that I can have balance in my life if I work at it. I can go to gigs while I’m traveling — I just need to make the effort to do some research on where to go beforehand. I can fit exercise into my life if I set an alarm to remind me to close my laptop and go outside. I can indulge in my makeup obsession on the road if I throw out some clothes so I can fit my enormous makeup bag into my backpack.

And it’s not just play that I figured out how to inject into my life. It’s rest, too.

Not Working Helped Me Discover What I Want to Work On Going Forwards

When I was writing my book, I’d spend almost every idle moment composing a list of everything I wanted to write about here once I’d finished.

When I handed in the final manuscript and could finally start tackling the 3,000 item list (seriously!), I froze. I was paralysed by too many options. I had two years worth of travel to write about, plus all of the site updates I wanted to do, plus the non-travel-related articles I wanted to write, plus the articles I wanted to write for other sites. Should I start catching up from way back in Mexico, two years ago, when I stopped writing regularly on Never Ending Footsteps? Or should I stop posting chronologically and write about whatever I want? Or should I draw a line under all my travels and skip forward to now, never sharing some of the best experiences I’ve had?

I’m incredibly fortunate that a chunk of my income is passive these days, which means I still have enough of an income to live off of if I’m not actively writing. So, I stepped away. I stopped writing and I stopped worrying and I started reading. And I devoured 23 books in six weeks[!].

Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy showed me that I’m not alone in the weirdass things I do when I’m anxious. It had me thrusting my Kindle into Dave’s hands every few minutes, because she explains what it’s like to have a mind like mine so well.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic helped me to stop obsessing over negative book reviews and inspired me to write because of my love of writing. To be creative again and to stop being such a goddamn perfectionist.

And Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection had me sobbing on my flight to Saigon, which was perplexing because I’ve always been so unbelievably scornful of self-help books. But this book changed my life. Seriously changed my life. I’ve finally taken steps to embrace my imperfections; to learn how to manage the high levels of shame I never even knew I had; to be vulnerable around friends and family; and to show compassion towards myself. I so recommend this book.

Reading books is where rest comes in to my life. Because I never used to do it all that much, but it’s so valuable and so healing, especially if you struggle with anxiety.

Quitting Social Media Helped Me Switch Off

I’d never linked my anxiety to social media before, but deciding to take a break to focus on myself showed me how it can be exhausting. It makes me feel like I have to be *on* at all times: making witty jokes on Twitter; sharing updates of what I’d been doing that day on Facebook; showcasing my prettiest photos on Instagram; Snapchatting everything I do throughout my day. I felt so much pressure to perform non-stop.

Taking a break helped me get my shit together. I discovered that I missed Twitter most, because I feel like it’s where I most get to be myself. Within a few days of quitting, I was back and enjoying it. And I learned that scheduling all of my Facebook posts in advance takes the pressure off and helps me focus on building a fun community there instead.

Not having to worry about sharing every aspect of my life helped me focus on the things that mattered without worrying about whether I had done anything that was interesting enough to share online. I prioritised me. And watching the Great British Bake-Off.

It Was All Kind Of Like a Holiday, I Guess

I’m forever telling people that I haven’t taken a real holiday in over four years, but I can tell nobody really believes it.

I’ve definitely taken breaks from work for a week or so to lie on a beach, but I’ve never 100% switched off during those times. I’ll always end up discussing my site with Dave and brainstorming new projects and coming up with new blog post ideas.

This break felt like a real vacation, because I managed to stop. I didn’t care what other travel bloggers were doing, and I had no idea how many people had visited my site that day or how many copies of my book I’d sold or how many Instagram followers I’d gained. I guess I was being mindful, or something like that.

Then I Reunited With Dave and We Flew to Southeast Asia

I had a panic attack the night before my flight to Bangkok; just like my Seychelles trip, I didn’t want to go. I flew from Madrid to Abu Dhabi and had another panic attack at the airport. I flew from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok and had a panic attack on the flight. This wasn’t looking good for me and travel.

But then I stepped into the sweet Bangkok air and a weight lifted. Humidity felt good. Healing, even. There was something about being in Thailand that made my anxiety melt away.

We checked into a gorgeous Airbnb apartment, and I spent the next week surrounded by some of my favourite people — Jodi, James, Stuart, and Diana. I ate delicious food, and Jodi helped me discover that I don’t actually hate Thai food — I’d just been eating the wrong things. And it was weird, because I started to feel like myself again.

No panic attacks. No anxiety. No fears. No stress.

I was happy.

Lauren and Dave in Tatai

Cambodia Was Better Than Ever

Cambodia is one of my favourite countries and this visit was one of my favourite trips ever.

tatai river floating hotel

We kicked things off with a stay on a floating hotel on the Tatai River, in a remote area of jungle, only accessible by a thirty-minute boat ride. We were blissfully offline, spending our time sunbathing and tubing on the water, reading piles of books and taking cruises at sunset.

otres beach

Another highlight was returning to my beloved Otres Beach and staying at Tamu Hotel, which is easily one of the best places I’ve ever stayed. Just look at that view from our balcony!

lauren at angkor wat

We flew to Siem Reap and told our tuk-tuk driver to take us to where the tourists aren’t. We spent a day at Angkor climbing ruined temples without anyone in sight and found some kickass places I can’t wait to share with you. Walking along the walls of Angkor Thom was a definite highlight, as was a quiet sunset at Angkor Wat.

My time in Cambodia was so wonderful because I finally was able to put into practice the stuff I’d been thinking about at home. It was all about practicing play and rest. Travel didn’t feel too fast-paced when I wasn’t spending every single spare moment working. Everything felt manageable. Balanced.

Screw anxiety.

Vietnam Was Just As Good

Lauren with an Egg Coffee

I was concerned about how I would manage Vietnam, because Dave and I were going to be showing his parents around and I didn’t know if I was strong enough to handle it.

I felt this overwhelming pressure to perform and try to come across like a normal person who isn’t still dragging herself out of a breakdown.

Because what would happen if I got anxious and had a panic attack? Or if I couldn’t eat and it made me look like I was anorexic? I’ve seen the looks people give me when I don’t eat a meal and I know what they’re thinking.

hoi an tam tam cafe

But I needn’t have worried, because I handled it like a pro, with only one bout of anxiety that was due to doing too much in one day (and drinking Vietnamese egg coffee until I had heart palpitations, ha) — there’s that need for rest again.

I visited Hanoi for the first time and fell in love with the chaos and confusion. I re-visited Hoi An and marvelled at the beautiful lanterns. And I returned to Saigon to drink avocado smoothies.

The fact that I experienced very little anxiety on this trip when previously, I’d had a major panic attack over Dave and I having friends staying for one night in our apartment in Madrid shows me how far I’ve come. I’m starting to feel, well, normal, for the first time in a long time.

Screw anxiety.

I’m Finally Ready to Start Writing Again

I said in my previous post that I desperately wanted to find a way to get back to my old self. But as my friend Kate gently suggested, that wasn’t what I wanted at all. Instead, I needed to find a new self. A version of me that is post-travel and pre-book in terms of anxiety, but who has also found a way to add play and rest into her life. Who doesn’t work so hard.

I won’t say I’ve found that version of me yet, but I’m the closest I’ve ever been, and I’m feeling incredibly optimistic about it.

Normally, I’d end a post like this with a huge list of all the exciting things I’m going to write about over the next few weeks, but I’ve learned my lesson now.

No pressure.

 

Have you ever pushed the reset button on your life? How did it work out for you?

Previous Confession: Anxiety Caused Me to Cancel My Dream Trip
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79 Comments

  1. Andrea Anastasiou
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Great to have you back, Lauren! I’m so happy that you’ve taken time out to figure out exactly what you need right now.

    Funny that you mention self-help books. I always used to think of them as ‘self-hell’ books until this year – cue a messy breakup and I devoured dozens of the things. My motto was ‘if it might help, I’ll try it.’

    They actually helped A LOT – I have yet to read that particular Brene Brown one that you have but I definitely will now!

    • Lauren
      November 11, 2015
      Reply

      It’s good to be back! I highly recommend the Brene Brown book :-)

  2. Ferna
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    I pushed reset buttons not just once but couple of times, it’s like making myself know and learn or relearn what should I be doing or what my goals really are. I think it’s quite normal to me. There are times that I just rent a place far more than my daily budget and close the door, stay, sleep or doing nothing in the room, no social media, no phone’s open (I just go out for food intake) I isolated myself sometimes to 5 days and anytime I’m done, I feel so refresh and alive! It made me who I want to be. :) Great Post! This can relate to many out there.

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      It’s definitely something I want to start doing regularly in the future. It’s so hard to remove all of the distractions from your life these days, but it can be so beneficial.

  3. Bri
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Yayyy! So great to have you back! I have pushed the reset button before as well, in July 2014. I had started to become so obsessed with growing my blog (something that had really just started out as a writing outlet, a online scrapbook and my happy place), that I’d hired a personal trainer I couldn’t afford, was snapping at my boyfriend for making me look fat in photos and had started to consider expensive, extensive plastic surgery because I was convinced my blog would be better if I was prettier.

    All of it was batshit insane. BATSHIT. INSANE.

    It took a lot of recognizing the anxiety when it bubbled up and a conscious effort to almost do the opposite. Nerves telling me that I should probably review that product I didn’t like at all for the compensation? I sent an email to the company telling them why I couldn’t feel good about promoting it instead. Nerves telling me that my posts were too lengthy and not funny enough and no one was going to read them? I reminded myself that I wanted to attract readers like me to my blog and if they were like me, they would think my dumb puns were funny.

    You gotta do you. I agree with your friend. I think the ever growing, ever evolving you should not be looking back to the past, but instead to the future. I love love love this post Goldfish Kiss wrote recently. I have it tacked up on my office wall: http://tmblr.co/ZZ6_zx1wvLpq3

    xo,Bri

    PS- Did you ever get around to reading Spontaneous Happiness?

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Oh, social media can make you so crazy, can’t it? I struggle to have a healthy relationship with it, because it makes me feel so competitive, and there’s so much pressure to behave as if I have the perfect life. I love that post, too! I’d never thought of it like that before :-)

      Spontaneous Happiness is on my Kindle! Will get to it soon :-)

  4. Amanda
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    There’s no shame in what you’ve done! I admire your writing and I am glad you are getting back to it. Thanks for being such an inspiration ;)

    • Lauren
      November 11, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Amanda :-)

  5. Antonio
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Welcome back! Sometimes we need to stop and reset our life and mind.
    And re-connect with ourselves, with the others and with the world.
    Happiness to you (and Dave).
    I ll keep following your really nice posts and gorgeous photos.
    Cheers
    Antonio

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Antonio! Happy to have you as a reader! :-)

  6. Diana Edelman
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    I am SO SO proud of you. I know all the breaks weren’t easy, but I’m thrilled to see this post and how happy you are now. Hopefully, you will be just as happy next time I see you. Miss your face and love watching you grow and evolve every step of the way. Keep it up, gorgeous.

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, lovely! So sweet :-) Hope I get to see you soon!

  7. Traveler
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Hi. I would also suggest a Vipassana retreat for inner balance. Take care!

    • Lauren
      November 11, 2015
      Reply

      It’s on my list — still a bit intimidated by the thought of one, but hopefully next year I’ll get around to it!

  8. Jodi
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Yay! So glad to read that your time away from writing and thinking was a good thing in the end (not that there was any doubt) and that you’re feeling reinvigorated. Great to spend some time with you and feeding you in Bangkok xx

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      It was so great to hang out with you! I still can’t believe I love Thai food now, haha :-)

  9. Milica Kolaric
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast as much as the book. You should definitely listen to it.

    • Lauren
      November 10, 2015
      Reply

      Added it to my list!

  10. Karina
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren, your site has been amongst my favorite for the last couple of years. You are such a talented writer and I’m glad you’re feeling better. Sometimes, things can just get so exhausting and we have to slow down or change course. I wish you all the best and look forward to continuing to learn from you and be inspired by you.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Awww, thanks so much for your kind words, Karina! :-)

  11. Maddy
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    This post is wonderful! I think you’re doing all of the right things to help get yourself back into a good place, and it seems like the first step is acknowledging what you need versus what you think you should be doing to feel better.

    I’m kind of in a similar space — I feel like I should be blogging more, should be doing social media more, should be trying to lure customers in at all times (my side gig is a knit shop and this is my “season”) but I just don’t have the mental energy to do it all at once. I’m trying to remind myself it’s ok to listen to what I “need” as opposed to what I “need to do” right now! :)

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Absolutely. It’s not worth making yourself unwell over it. Take a break, regroup, think about what’s most important to you, and get back into it feeling stronger than ever :-)

  12. Lotte
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Great to have you back:-) I would like to give you a hug and say: you are an amazing person!

    • Lauren
      November 11, 2015
      Reply

      You’re so sweet! Thanks so much, Lotte! :-)

  13. Amy Rodriguez
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Oh my gosh I was at the David Gilmour concert on October 3! Were you there on that day?

    • Lauren
      November 11, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, no, I was actually there on the 2nd! I wanted to go to the 3rd as well, but it was my final night in the UK and my mum wouldn’t have been very happy! What did you think of the concert?

  14. Yok
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    The invitation remains open! If you pass through BKK and I am in town, I would love to chill. Showing you some kickass Thai food!

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Yok! I really appreciate the offer! Hopefully I’ll make it back to Bangkok soon — I had such a good time there :-)

  15. Keir Briscoe
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren.

    Great post. I recall reading in one of your previous posts about how happy you were that your book was out and that you felt that things could get back to normal, like before you got the book deal. I thought to myself, wait a minute… your life was full of anxiety and mishaps then so how would that have changed?

    I am glad you were able to take a step back and completely reset things. Sounds like you are on the right track. I’m looking forward to more great stories in the future!

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, well, I actually only had about half a dozen panic attacks in the three years of travel after leaving — I wasn’t very anxious at all. Mishaps, yes, but no anxiety. Either way, happy to now have a pretty good work-life-travel balance, and feel in a much better position than I was before!

  16. Marg
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    I Lauren.So glad to see you back on deck,and have things sorted.!! Sometimes it pays to take time to” Smell the Roses ” !!. All will be good from here on.. Good Luck and stay Healthy and Happy, and happy Travels.. Cheers Marg

    • Lauren
      November 10, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Marg! Things are going great so far :-)

  17. Lexklein
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    I’m not exactly in your position, but my life (and blog, coincidentally!) are about maintaining a healthy balance between stability/rest/routine/HOME and the insatiable urge to roam/wander/experiment/TRAVEL. I happened upon your book a few weeks ago (enjoyed it a lot) and came to your blog though that introduction, so it was not even apparent to me that you’d gone on hiatus! Life in general is about balance and moderation, and I’m happy you are finding that equilibrium!

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      I think it’s something a lot of travellers struggle with — once you know how much is out there and how easy it is to just pack your backpack, buy a ticket, and leave, it can be hard to stay still for any real about of time.

  18. Jodie Young
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    All of this. I can relate so much. Trying to juggle everything like a balancing act isn’t healthy and I’m so glad you have had the time to press the reset button and start again from the bottom. I think it is really important to switch off often and not put too much pressure on yourself.

    I certainly feel like I’m heading for a burn out but reading this has given me ideas of how to stop it from happening.

    Thanks for sharing Lauren.

    • Lauren
      November 5, 2015
      Reply

      So glad it resonated, Jodie! I’ve been through many burn outs over the past few years, but never took the time to stop what I was doing to head down another path. Making the decision to do so is probably the toughest part :-)

  19. Carolina
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Yay, you’re back!
    I love reading your posts, and it doesn’t even matter if they’re sporadic at times, because that’s just life. Having dealt with anxiety and crap myself, I feel so inspired reading about your travels and all the cool stuff that you do, so a random blog post every now and then, just updating all your fans and readers about what’s happening in your lie, well, I think that’s just swell.
    Keep up the fantastic work, and feel free to say hello if you’re ever in Melbourne, Aus. It’s a pretty great city, with a lot of cool things to do and see. :)

    • Lauren
      November 5, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much, Carolina! I’ll actually be staying in Melbourne for all of December! :-D

  20. Natasha
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Really great and inspiring read. It’s important to take time for yourself and step away from everything that has been in the way. Maybe some day I’ll get rid of my clothes so I can get more makeup in. That stuff is pricey around the world!

    • Lauren
      November 5, 2015
      Reply

      Ha! Thanks, Natasha :-) One of the reasons why I haven’t updated my packing list this year is because I’m now carrying so much makeup that it’s ridiculous!

  21. Monica @pigletandbear.com
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Great to hear again from you Lauren! Don’t let the pressure of social media, work or anyone else get to you. You are on your own time.

    It’s wonderful to see you healthier and enjoying life again. Remember everything in life goes in cycles and feelings are never permanent. When I feel anxiety I just tell myself not to take it too seriously because it will go away, it won’t stay forever.

    And also remember this…”It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up”. :)

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Monica. That’s great advice. It’s funny: whenever I don’t feel anxious, I convince myself that I’m over it for good, and whenever it comes back, I’m certain I’ll be stuck with it for life. I need to remember it’ll come and go, probably forever, but that it’ll hopefully lessen in time.

  22. James Clark
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Good to see you in Bangkok! Hope we cross paths for more duck beaks somewhere else :)

    • Lauren
      November 5, 2015
      Reply

      Me too!

  23. Katy
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Great to have you back! Your post was a timely reminder for me that it is ok to stop and recalibrate, that it’s ok to change your mind and try living life a different way. Thank you for your honesty.

    • Lauren
      November 10, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Katy! It feels great to be back :-) I’m thinking I might try to recalibrate every couple of years from now on — it’s been so good for me and I highly recommend it.

  24. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    So glad you’ve done the right thing for yourself, Lauren! It can be so hard to figure it out sometimes. But it’s great to see you happy again! :)

    • Lauren
      November 11, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Clazz! It’s great to be back :-)

  25. Aisling
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren, welcome back! The rest did you good you look fantastic! Love the hair cut too!

    As much as we all miss you here, its important for you to look after yourself! Keep enjoying travels and enjoying life!

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Awww, thanks so much, Aisling! I had eight inches chopped off! Happy to be back :-)

  26. Dayna
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    LOVED this post! This was me earlier this year and it has been a huge process to get to a place where I’m happy but it all started with taking time out to reflect and figure out what was working and what wasn’t.

    Clearly it worked for you – it reflects in your writing and photos! You look so happy :)

    • Lauren
      November 10, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much for noticing, Dayna! :-) And congratulations on your journey as well!

  27. Beth Meyer
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Loved this Lauren!! I’ll have to get the Brené Brown book. I’m obsessed with her TED talks! :) xx

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Beth! Definitely get the book — it’s so good :-)

  28. Dominique
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Great post! I’m so happy to hear you’re on the road and feeling better! Whatever you do, always keep an eye out for yourself. Don’t listen to pressure from outside. Listen to yourself rather than others!

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      That’s great advice, Dominique, and definitely something I’ve been a victim of before! :-)

  29. Ali
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    I’m so glad you took the time you needed to unplug, relax and reconnect with some of your non-travel interests. I really need to do something like this, but I guess my own anxiety still has its grips on me because all I can think about is how I’m struggling enough as it is to make enough money without taking a break from working. But I do need to fix something here. Thanks for sharing this, and good luck with finding the new version of yourself!

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Ali! I don’t think it needs to be a huge change like I did. Just simple things like taking an hour away from your laptop to have a nap or to read or to go for a walk can do wonders for anxiety.

  30. Mia
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Breakdowns sucks but at the end of it you do come out as a better version of yourself! I loved this post and how you manage to describe how you are starting to change your life. You are defiantly one of my major inspirations to write during my travels. At the moment I’m traveling alone and I realized that the blog is a great way to share your experiences with people when you don’t have a physical person next to you. Tomorrow I’m off to Uganda and it’s going to be so much fun to share my experiences on the blog!

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Mia! Thank you so much for your kind words. I agree — sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can make the big changes in your life. Hope you have an amazing time in Uganda! I’ve wanted to visit for ages :-)

  31. Katya
    November 5, 2015
    Reply

    Sometimes I have an almost criminal thought, what if over-passionate travelers are merely people who want to escape from lives where they can’t succeed, can’t find love, self realization, happiness? But then I think of my own constant traveling aspirations and realize I do have them for various reasons. Escaping is one of them. Yes. But there are others as well. Just as I long for buying a plane ticket when I feel sad, I long for it when I feel happy as well. Any strong emotion evokes traveling thoughts. Yap.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      I think we all have different reasons for travelling, and for some people it’s just as simple as wanting to see the world. I’ve wondered many times if I’m travelling to run away, but I think I’d be just as happy at home. When it comes to working and the choice between freedom or being in a cubicle, I can’t stand the thought of the latter!

  32. Aaron Jade
    November 6, 2015
    Reply

    Great stuff Lauren! completely understand where you are coming from (and have been!). Balance is very key to living a fulfilling life. It’s so easy to get lost into work, especially when it is a passion, and forget that it’s the journey of life that we need to be enjoying. Great work on re-energizing, I think retreat and re-balancing is something that everyone needs to do at various times, it’s part of living a vibrant, healthy life.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Yes! Something just as simple as adding “take a nap” and “explore XXX neighbourhood” to my to-do list each day has made such a difference to my life :-)

  33. Luis
    November 6, 2015
    Reply

    The last paragraph was so telling and awesome!

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Luis! :-)

  34. Ash
    November 10, 2015
    Reply

    I feel you ALL TOO WELL. These last few months have been especially hellacious for me as things I’ve been struggling with over the years (and didn’t even realize I’d been struggling with), came to a climactic neurotic explosion. I’ve been a complete and total wreck. The crying was uncontrollable, spontaneous, and hit me just about everywhere. I had some huge insecurities flair up. Things I thought I had healed from came back. Things I thought I was over were staring me in the face. It was hell.

    It’s quite ironic because this last year I set about making my dreams come true and putting the past behind me. Well, I got EXACTLY what I asked for with matters from the past coming up like sharp shrapnel. And while it was crucial that my body be purged from the threat, it posed great dangers to my well-being.

    I’ve FINALLY come around. It’s been a process requiring some small steps as well as some huge ones. It wasn’t easy and I questioned my sanity and will to live, but the lessons I learned… Wow. The biggest thing I’ve walked away with from these last few months have been that my life is entirely up to me. I see what I choose to see, and that is what creates my reality. Moving forward requires looking forward, and getting to where I want to be means knowing where I want to go.

    And so, I listen to what my intuition/heart/soul is telling me. If I feel happy, I know I’m on the right path. And I no longer allow myself to get down on myself, especially not based on what others think (or may not think, as is often the case). Instead, I focus on what I want, what I’d like to do, and how I can make that happen. Letting myself feel like shit gets me nowhere, and it sure as hell doesn’t help my relationships. Instead, I have to have some faith in me and do what makes me happy. Simple as that sounds, it’s easy to forget. But I’ve got it now. :-)

    I’m so happy for you and where you are in your journey. There’s no doubt that there are many lessons ahead for the both of us, but what a great place to be. Here’s to what’s ahead! <3

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Ack, that sounds awful. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to go through that :-(. It sounds like you’re definitely on the road to a happier place, though. Not worrying about what others think is so tough! I’m still working on it.

  35. bernie
    November 13, 2015
    Reply

    Yeah good to see you back!! And doing well!! Read your book, its a great read!! Really good!! All the best to you and Dave

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Bernie! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed my book :-D

  36. E
    November 25, 2015
    Reply

    I love your website and book Lauren. I’m have 3 children and not much spare money, but travel when I can. I have been a very anxious person for most of my life, this ended in a break down and developing chronic fatigue symptoms. I can really relate to the panic attacks you describe. I find asking myself ‘what’s the worse that can happen’ quite helpful. I also (try), and tell myself to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’ Although I do go through life slightly terrified, I try not to let it stop me doing anything! I think for sensitive people taking daily nap/rests, and breaks from social media (and esp news) are really important. Have you tried rescue remedy? I find it helps if I take it when I can feel a panic/anxiety attack threatening. Anyway, this is a ramble! Glad to hear you’re feeling better now. Take care of yourself :)

    • Lauren
      November 25, 2015
      Reply

      Thinking about what’s the worst that could happen helps me a lot — give my bad luck in travelling, quite often the thing I’ve been worrying about has happened, and I survived, and it was never as bad as I thought. Thinking about that always helps calm me down a bit :-)

      I love rescue remedy! I haven’t used it for a few years now, but I’m thinking about picking some up now.

  37. Sinead
    December 11, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren, I could not have read this post on a more suitable day! Having spent the past few years going through life at what seems like a thousand miles an hour constantly, this post was exactly what I needed to read and has inspired me to do something about it before my anxiety and stress levels boil over, so thank you!!!
    P.S I read your book recently and loved it! Well done, definitely worth all the hard work!
    Now I just need to convince my other half we should ditch our jobs, sell up and travel the world :-)

    • Lauren
      December 13, 2015
      Reply

      I’m glad to hear my post could inspire you, Sinead. It really has been the best thing I could have done for myself. And thank you so much for the compliment on my book! I’m thrilled to hear you loved it! :-D

  38. Karen
    January 12, 2016
    Reply

    Without me sounding like I am trivialising things, when I have needed ”time out” recently for reasons of my own, I found your book the perfect distraction for me. It made ma laugh, cringe and smile. It actually is fairly reminiscent of my own disasters, it made me feel less alone. I too suffer anxiety and reading your book in some ways, reassured me that I CAN DO THIS! I have booked my SE Asia trip and hell, if I get caught in a Tsunami so be it.

    • Lauren
      February 11, 2016
      Reply

      Ah, that’s amazing! You’ve made my week, Karen! You can definitely do it and you’ll have an amazing time :-)

  39. Jeremy
    June 12, 2016
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,
    I’ve just pressed the reset button on my life. I’ve quit my job and I’m going traveling in Asia and Latin America for a year, possibly more from August.
    I have similar hangups to you but I will be using this as an opportunity to understand myself better and learn to manage it.
    Cheers
    Jez

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      Congratulations! I really hope it all works out for you, Jez :-)

  40. Katie
    September 18, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    This post is inspirational. My partner and I are in the process of setting up a blog but with so many things to think about alongside my teaching career, we are learning to find time to just stop.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and problems, it is valuable and encouraging for us blogging newbies.

    Great job!

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