When you travel you learn about places, people and things from all over the world, but you also learn about yourself. Months on the road, by yourself, with people in good places and bad you come to terms with who you really are.
You learn things about yourself that you never knew. Some good, some bad.
I have always known that I am organised, efficient, and at my worst: scheduled, but what I didn't know was my issue with control – more exactly my fear of not being in control.
Of course on the road, you plan things and more often than not they do not go according to plan and despite some dismay at this (maybe a few hissy fits) I grew accustomed to things steering off course. I quickly adapted, and put a plan B, C or even Z into place. But even when things don't go as planned, you can stay in control, you can re-direct the troops and carry on, re-focused.
“Go with the flow”
On top of a snow covered mountain in New Zealand, hurtling towards the bottom at what must be record speeds with no plan, no idea, no alternative to my disposal, my nightmare was realised.
My ski instructor told me I had “control issues.”
You see skiing is fun, or at least it is supposed to be, you the skis, a snowcapped mountain and the fresh air. In this game however you have to submit your control, you have to go with the mountain, the skis, ignore your instinct thoughts ... relax ... glide ... smile ... stop.
I wanted to have fun, I wanted to have so much fun with everyone else and enjoy skiing. I wanted to excel through my beginners group to intermediate with my boyfriend, I wanted to show that I was better than some seven year old brat - so I concentrated really hard to get all the moves, to learn how to sweep from side to side and stop before I feel off the edge.
The ski instructor told me I was trying too much, I needed to let go.
This concept was alien to me.
In the videos I look rigid, stiff, my turns are forced, my feet locked into a “wedge” shape. I wore the bruises from the ski lifts for weeks, the trauma of having to hurtle my body forward seconds before I fell to my death across a cliff took longer to disappear. But the effects of not being able to “let go” have never left me.
Over and over, I recall children diving to get out of my way, ski couples huddling in fear, and teenagers gasping in shock as I fly my way down an intermediate slope and throw myself to the ground, as my boyfriend laughs himself into a hoop.
Sometimes having fun can be hard work – I knew I should have picked snow boarding!