It’ll be fine. Oh come on, don’t be like that. You’ve had quite a lot to drink. You can trust me.
You wake up in a pool of sweat. You want to scream but are petrified into silence. Is this what hell feels like? You turn your head to the bunk next to you. How is it that you can travel across the globe and still never escape the nightmares? You’re kicking yourself because of all the progress you made. You’re kicking yourself because after only one week you’re back to square one. They are fast asleep but their slumber keeps you on edge. You toss in your bed and try to shut it out once again. But that’s the thing about fears, sometimes they demand to be felt.
No, I don’t want to. Go away. Why can’t I lift my arms? I’m drunk, please leave me alone. Stop.
You’re walking down the street in a market town. Stalls are set up on every corner and locals greet you hello with a friendly smile. Colours of silk are sprouting in the streets and the joy of bargaining is heard around you. You want this memory to be a good one. You want to be at peace and make the most of your travels. With all your being you want to forget your past. But you can’t. Please don’t talk to me. Please just go grab your beer and don’t say anything. Please please please. They turn around and wave you over to one of the nearby stalls. It’s a trinket of various faces animated onto fruit. They tell you that they thought you’d like it. You fake a smile and do the laugh you’ve perfected over the past couple of years. And then you thank them.
What happened last night? Oh my God. No. no no no. This can’t be real. I must be having a nightmare. Wake up, wake up. WAKE UP!!
Sitting in the lounge of your hostel, you talk to your fellow backpackers. They tell you tales of places they’ve gone and what they’ve seen. Your whisked away into a world of adventure and wanderlust. For a moment you forget. You’re so engrossed in the conversation that you lose track of time. Dusk has transformed into the darkness of 2am skies. Someone mentions bed. A flicker of despair appears in your eyes for half a millisecond. No one notices. You keep quiet as you head to your dorm. Nights are the worse. That’s when they return. That’s when you have to force yourself out of deep slumber because the uneasiness you feel is paralyzing. That’s when the nightmares make an appearance.
Travelling is an experience.
A time to open your eyes to the world.
To open your heart to those around you.
But no one tells you that it also reopens parts of you. Parts that you thought were good and locked away. Parts that you’ve avoided for so long and are now forcing themselves into the limelight.
Don’t scream. Don’t run. Just get through it.