A traveller’s thoughts on trust

Authenticity, Health and Wellness Travel, Life Lessons, mindfulness, Self-discovery

I trust people far too easily. It’s something I’m working on right now. Being vulnerable and honest are skills that come natural to me. Actually, I think they’re both traits that attract a lot of good people into my life. But at the same time, they tend to invite a lot of selfish asshats into my life as well.

These leechy people are ones that seem to be drawn to individuals that shine a bright light, simply because theirs is so dim. Us light shiners and energy providers give far too much of ourselves to these people because it’s naturally what we do. We want everyone to be smiling, to feel good and to be their best selves, and we trust that we won’t get taken advantage of while offering up so much of our souls to others.

After travelling more and more, I’m getting better at weeding out the leeches and offering trust and vulnerability to those who’ve earned it and will happily extend it back to me. Trust should be reciprocal.

I’m not perfect though. I’m still learning. Within the last few months, I’ve let my wisdom slip and have fallen back on old patterns, catching myself only after feeling betrayed. But that’s okay. It’s all in the name of learning and self-discovery. It takes time to break old habits, but recognition is key, isn’t it?

The thing about trust is, it’s not as cut and dry as the old adage makes it out to be.

“Trust should be earned.”

From what my short life has taught me thus far, that’s not always true. Like my most recent slip up, when the person in question did take time to earn my trust but still broke it quite harshly regardless.

Or, in a good way, when friends of friends of friends I’ve never met have opened their homes to me, trusting a total stranger. These are some of the most valuable friendships I have, and we put trust in each other without every even having really spoken.

I think what I’m learning about trust is, more importantly than allowing someone to earn your trust, you should always trust your gut. Every single time my insides have told me something, they’ve been 100% right.

“Don’t go out with this group, they’re weird.” They did turn out to be weird.

“Leave this party NOW. It’s not your scene.” It did very much turn out to not be my scene.

“This chick seems manipulative and toxic.” That chick did turn out to be both those things.

And then all the times I did listen to it, even when I was scared shitless and unsure:

“Move to Scotland. You’re scared, but it will save you.” It was the single best decision I ever made.

“Quit this job. You can do better, I promise.” And I did. Much better.

“Write that story about your STI for the world to read. You’re going to feel great.” It is still, to this day, what I deem to be my greatest accomplishment and continues to be helpful for people who find it. Not to mention, it launched my writing career and set me on my path now.

So back to trust. If you’re going to trust one thing I write, trust me when I say you should always trust your instincts. Sometimes it’s scary to trust your gut, but thus far, it has kept me safe and presented some pretty fucking incredible opportunities.   

What a damned ridiculous year – thank god for it

depression, Health and Wellness Travel, Life Lessons, mental health, mindfulness, Toronto

2019 started rough. Really rough. My Scottish partner had to move back home for visa reasons. We didn’t know when or even if he’d be back. I had to hold down the fort, our apartment, on my own, without any idea of how to even function all alone.

Surprisingly, after a couple weeks, I was completely fine. In fact, I thought I felt more like myself than I had in ages. That’s because I was doing what I had done best up until that point – run away from sad feelings, escaping through work and parties and drinking and smoking, and anything I could pack into my calendar to be out and about ignoring everything that was painful.

I stopped writing for myself, using my job as an excuse: “I write so much for work, I can’t be fucked to write anymore when I get home.” But I didn’t realize that neglecting my way of reflecting was causing all my negative feelings to swell up and accumulate into a tumbleweed of unresolved trauma that I chalked up to my depression. “My brain is broken.” Is all I could think. “Why can’t I be happy?”

My relationship eventually ended, and when it did, I went through the motions. I cried. I resented and eventually relented. But I never deeply evaluated why it happened. In the end, we were both shitty to each other. We couldn’t make long distance work because we were both too selfish to properly keep in touch. My addictions (there are a few, less substance, more emotional), got the better of me and he withdrew. I’ve thought about it now, and I know what we both did wrong.

That said, I pushed all those negative feelings away too, hopping on dating apps and immediately jumping into something I forced seriousness on far too quickly. It’s all a cycle of habit that I’ve finally started to work on, with the real tough self-reflection shit beginning on my solo travel adventure in Arizona.

At the beginning of every year, I write a list of all the great things that happened to me in the year previous. On January 1, 2020, I did it differently. First, I wrote down everything I went through in 2019, all the hardships. I faced a lot, more than I could’ve imagined. Relationship issues. Apartment issues. Family issues. Mental health issues (big one).

Really, we all faced intense hardships last year. And every year gets harder. But I’m finding, as I age, I’ve been getting stronger and better at dealing with the shit that’s thrown at me. I think that’s true for everyone too. The key is in being mindful of and grateful for the good things, no matter how big or small. That was what was beautiful about starting with the negatives of last year. In comparison, I noticed that the fun times, the healthy times, the times of self-discovery and self-improvement and times of pure joy, those far outnumbered the painful ones.

So, I implore you to do the same. Write down what’s been hard for you the last little while. Yeah, it fucking sucks, and some of these hardships will sting you for a damned long time, maybe even forever. But never forget, that list of the great shit you’ll write, the one with the beautiful moments and powerful learnings, no matter how big or small it is, should forever be your reason for pushing forward. Beauty lies in the endless opportunities for happiness ahead of us, and that’s a perfect reason to smile and work on getting yourself to a good place.