A not so small reminder about gratitude found in Bosnia
Coming into my 12th month of consecutive travel has meant I have observed an array of emotions. At times I feel on top of the world and soaring high, whilst other times the thought of moving myself on to the next destination leaves me in actual tears. Sometime during my 8th month of travel I made the ridiculous statement about how I was surprised I wasn’t ‘over it’ yet. Within a week of those words leaving my mouth I found myself in a rut that has taken me another 4 months to get out of. Travelling the world had become dragging my feet around the world and today I finally got the proverbial boot up my butt I had been praying for. So what did it take for me to feel gratitude again? Nothing short of spending the day with a survivor of war.
You may or may not have noticed that I have been much quieter on the blogging front the last couple of months. Make no mistake this has not been for lack of words because sharing my opinion is something I am quite fond of. Instead it has been due to the fact I was increasingly aware the only things I wanted to write about were complaints. Complaining about my seemingly endless fatigue, my relentless lack of appreciation or motivation and my intense desire to be doing anything except what I was actually doing (which in case you don’t know was travelling the world). However I had booked myself in. I had RSVP’d to weddings, booked travel with friends and had flights booked months in advance. Worse still was should I choose to stop travelling I literally had nowhere to go. It was cheaper for me to live my travelling lifestyle than to reenter the real world where I would then instead face the grueling and depressing task of finding a job, a car and somewhere to live. Nope. Travel was my only viable option and I hated myself for hating that. It felt like an internal battle of which my not so smart brain was constantly winning.
I rested all my hope on my recent visit to London. The place I consider home and a month with a free schedule was surely enough give me the strength and the positivity I was after. Surely enough after a few weeks I was starting to feel better, positive and willing to continue my journey and I was so happy to be finally feeling this way. So you can imagine my anger when I was struck down by tonsillitis in my last week and spent the last 6 days before continuing my travels bedridden. My 4th case this year among other ailments. I had just begun to feel rested and sure enough I was flying to Eastern Europe feeling sick, miserable and as negative as ever. Of course it didn’t end there. In that first week I developed a chest and sinus infection, got attacked by bed bugs and woke up one morning unable to see because my eyes were completely gunked closed. I couldn’t believe that my body was doing this to me, I had done all the right things. I barely drink, I get plenty of sleep and I take it easy and yet my body was literally shutting down. If I didn’t laugh about it I would have cried.
Determined to feel some positivity I made an effort to look at what I am grateful for each day. I had been lucky enough to have spent the last week beachside on a beautiful Croatian island so if this didn’t whip me into a more positive version of myself, nothing would! While this instilled immediate happiness into my life I still wasn’t sure I was to my core grateful. Instead it was during my time in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina where I spent the day with a survivor of war that I felt myself feel genuinely blessed for the life that have. My perspective shifted. My hardships are being tired, sick and the demand of constantly living your life each day in a new location and I was feeling sorry for myself? Shame on me. I do often refer to my problems as first world problems and it can be embarrassing to admit out loud that I feel the way that I do. Yet I do because I know I am not alone. We are all guilty of wanting more for ourselves and neglecting to feel grateful for what we have. To come from a country where there is never a threat to your own personal safety, to have food and water available to you and to be capable of obtaining employment and supporting yourself. Even if we have very little or not as much as we believe we need, we are in fact truly blessed. None of this is new information and as you read this I am sure you already knew this deep down. What this is instead is a reminder. Let’s all take the time to remember how inherently lucky we are and how blessed each of our lives are and be grateful for today. I know I personally am feeling immense gratitude.
NB: If you are travelling to Sarajevo, I cannot recommend War Hostel highly enough. It is not just accommodation but a war experience given to you by some of the most genuine people you will ever meet.