Updated: Jun 15, 2020
A friend of mine asked me why I did not mention traveling as a form of self-care during one of my workshops I hosted.
I used to always say that traveling was a joy. It's what moved my soul.
It still does but...
Looking back, I was mainly traveling to get away from my unhappy life at home.
I was using travel as a form of escapism.
I was unhappy with the location in which I resided but I was mostly unhappy with my life in general.
I've always wanted to move to another state. I have before.
My living arrangements have always failed because I always left my hometown for the wrong reasons.
I wanted to leave(even vacation) because I had no self-worth and no purpose.
Running away from my environment would surely make my life better, right?!
In reality my problems were still there, every single time I returned.
Unfortunately, it took me a few trials and errors before I figured all of this out.
I was even going to move to another state with my secret boyfriend (see previous blogs).
The powers that be didn't allow that to happen.
We had little luck finding affordable housing.
Frustrating at the time but such a blessing looking back now.
I would've just carried those same clouds with me.
New environment, same ol' me.
I have moved across the country for an ex-boyfriend (not the same ex as mentioned above).
Flashback to the year 2005, I was living in Florida. My roommate situation wasn't working out and my boyfriend at the time was living in California.
We were both from the same town but decided we had things to accomplish in separate states.
Also known as, we were just miserable and wanted to run from the nothingness we felt had back home.
So I moved to Orlando and he moved to Los Angeles.
Yep, he was across the country. Homeless.
He had gotten evicted from where he was living for peace disturbances. He ended up living in a friend's broken van.
Because I thought I could rescue him and because I wasn't content with my living arrangements; I packed up my clothes, loaded down my car and left Florida in the wind.
Yes, my young 21-year old self, drove from Florida to California ALONE.
I made it in 48 hours. I only stopped for food and gas. It was the most exhausting, scariest adventure I have been on to date.
At one point, I had several panic attacks due to lack of sleep and had to pull over in restaurant parking lots.
When I reached the state of Texas, I had no cellphone service and there was nothing but cactus and dirt for miles.
I was in the middle of the desert in the pitch dark of night.
Imagine if I would've had a flat tire or car trouble.
Dark, isolate and afraid!
The things we do for "love" and to escape our lives. I'll never understand.
This boyfriend that I was planning on "rescuing" was an unhealthy person too.
An alcoholic turned meth-addict. He hid the meth use from me at first. I was aware of the alcoholism, as I too abused alcohol back then.
It wasn't until long after I had gotten to California that I had caught him snorting ICE(a from of meth) in the bathroom.
When I first arrived, he told me some girl, that was a friend of the family he was staying with, wanted to meet me.
The day after I arrived in Los Angeles, we went to her job. I met her. Nothing out of the ordinary, a friendly, normal African American female.
She always came with us when we went to clubs and bars. In my car.
One night, I overheard a conversation she was having and put two- n- two together.
She had slept with my boyfriend before I got there.
Of course, I got angry and argued with him. He admitted it. I forgave him.
Again, the things you put up with when you don’t know your worth.
We both got jobs at the same telemarketing call center. He got terminated during the first week of training for not passing an open book test. *eye rolls*
This left my minimum wage income as all we had to survive on and California is not cheap.
With no home, we bounced from motel to motel until finally, we ended up sleeping in my car.
We'd wash up in public restrooms or at a friend's house of his, he had met before my arrival.
We couldn't sleep at the friend's house due to their landlord living in their backyard in a trailer.
No freeloaders allowed.
As if being homeless and broke wasn't enough, I suffered abuse from him as well.
One time he locked me in a motel room, barricaded the door and subjected me to verbal abuse.
He had picked a small branch off a tree and hit my bare feet with it. Then took off in my car, leaving me in Hollywood, to fend for myself overnight.
Lyft and Uber didn't exist then and he had no cell phone, which meant I had no way to reach him.
That night I knew what "He is driving me up a while" meant. He literally made me crazy along with the half pint of tequila I kept in my purse.
I spent any cash I received I spent on gas, cigarettes and alcohol. I was unmotivated to do any better myself. With my self-esteem shot, I felt worthless.
Finally, after many of nights sleeping in my car, in one of the roughest areas of Los Angeles (Watts) might I add, I had a mental and emotional break down.
I couldn't fend for myself or this grown man any longer. I knew I had a home to go to in Illinois.
So, I finally decided to save myself instead of trying to save him. I called my mom, told her I was coming home. (Silly me, I could've went home at anytime...)
I broke the news to my boyfriend that I was going home and he could come if he wanted or he could stay.
Either way, I was leaving.
He decided to go back to Illinois with me. We made the 24+ hour drive back home.
We stayed in a relationship once we got back home, however, he ended up cheating again.
*Gasps* SHOCKER!! *Insert sarcasm here*
The girl keyed my car one night when he was driving it.
He was honest and told me what happened. Just as he had before with the previous infidelity. He didn't lie too often. I'll give him that.
This time, we went our separate ways. It was one of the best things that could've ever happened to me, even though it didn't feel that way at the time.
I'm sharing this story to say, "MOVE FOR YOURSELF not for a partner!"
When I relocate in the near future, it'll be for positive & healthy reasons.
It'll be for myself and no one else.
It'll be a place that fits MY needs and wants.
It'll be where I want to live, not where I move to for someone else or to escape my life.
When I vacation now, I appreciate the surroundings for what they are and not for what I can escape from at home.
These days I'm excited to get home at the end of a trip.
I'm not running from my life anymore.
I have purpose and value, no matter what city I'm in.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still moving out of Illinois soon, as I feel I've accomplished all I can accomplish here.
But this time, it's for all of the right reasons such as: opportunities for growth and new friendships.
Escapism should be short-term. It should include things such as: going to a yoga class, reading a book, watching a movie, going for a walk.
NOT moving to another city.
You can't escape your own inner-issues, they'll always be there waiting for you until you actively take the steps to be a healthier you.
I'm thankful for therapy, life coaching and my loved ones.
Life is a blessing for me...no matter where in the world I'm physically planted.
Certified Life Coach
"Because you the sh*!
Strong. Honorable. Independent. True."