So I have big news – for me, anyway… the doggies are getting trucked off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house (aka my parents), and Luke and I are heading to India and Nepal this winter for three months! Starting in early January and returning early April.
This is a dream come true for me, I have had a long standing fascination with India and have always wanted to go there. I am beyond excited.
As many of you know, I used to be a pretty big traveller. In my late teens and early twenties, I went on a couple of long backpacking trips (one of them being a whole year long), visiting Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, Europe, and Morocco.
I lived and breathed travel, it was all that I thought about at that time. My passion for it was really strong – so much so that I actually went on those trips by myself, simply because I wanted to go that bad and couldn’t be bothered waiting to find someone else to go with me.
In the last five or so years, I haven’t been doing a ton of long term travel. A month long road trip through California, 6 months back in Australia… however, the second trip to Australia wasn’t the same.
Luke (my Aussie husband that I met on my trip to Europe) and I were living there trying to pay off his credit card debt, it wasn’t the same quality of travel that I crave – where you have all your worldly possessions in a backpack on your back, moving from place to place on a whim, seeing the sights, and doing anything and everything you please. The entire world is your oyster. To me it feels like ultimate freedom.
The reason I haven’t traveled like that in a while is many reasons – dwindling passion for it; money…. but… oh yeah. That whole severe acne hiccup.
Let’s talk about that a little more.
My experience with severe acne was by far the most traumatizing thing that had ever happened to me. And, of course, I was absolutely desperate to never have that happen again.
So, when you feel like that, of course, there are going to be plenty of tendencies to want to control, control, control everything around you. It feels like the more you control your environment – like your food, your living space, etc – the more you will be able to control the acne… well, actually, control the anxiety about the acne.
But in the end, the world can’t be controlled to a T, and the whole cycle ends up in more anxiety for you. I know, because I was just a bundle of messy nerves on both my road trip to California and my six months in Australia, which kind of ruined both those trips for me (plus I broke out anyway).
It was Canada, and my own home, where I had cleared my acne with holistic methods. Getting out of that comfort zone, and into the unknown, so far away, where things would be different (particularly the food), was terrifying for that reason.
You might have guessed where this story was going:
The whole awful situation basically made me fear that I would never ever ever get to go on a long backpacking trip again.
Even if I did, I was not sure if I would ever feel that feeling of total and complete freedom that I used to feel when I was on the road, because I’d always be trying to make sure I ate a very specific way, and did very specific things to keep the acne away. And frankly, this just isn’t always possible when you are travelling.
This whole reality really depressed me. But acne terrified me. So it was a trade off.
I mean, logically, I knew that I should not limit myself due to fear of acne. But it’s an emotional hurt that slashes at you on an unconscious level. And I felt very trapped by it. I so badly wanted to get to a point where I could have clear skin AND freedom from thinking about it all the time.
So the fact that we are going on this trip for a whole three months is pretty momentous for me. Well, not so much the fact that we’re going, but the fact that we’re going and I don’t feel scared about it.
I think that I’ve healed enough of the emotional hurt that I really think am going to be able to go this time and actually have an amazing experience.
I hope anyway.
I admit, sometimes there is a little tiny bit of anxiety that pops up, wondering how I am going to feel after three months of gorging on oily curries, and samosas, and chapatis, and naan bread all day. And dealing with the famous “Delhi Belly” that travellers tend to get when in India.
Will I be setting my health way back?
Truthfully, I really don’t want to worry about holding back in any way from participating in local cuisine though. So I’m not going to, I am going to go and enjoy all the culinary delights and try to be in the moment, marvelling at where I am and how grateful I am at the opportunity to be there experiencing that amazing culture.
And I am going to thoroughly and completely enjoy the fact that I don’t have to cook or plan meals for three whole months!! 😀
And I think that is the most important part. I want to go to India, and I have chosen it, and I have to accept that for three months, I am going to be eating a lot of food that I have no idea what is in it. Maybe it’s healthy, maybe it’s not. But how do I feel about that uncertainty? Am I stressed about it? Or am I enjoying it?
I’ve realized just how much of a difference that makes. At home I’ve started listening to my body – eating healthy out of desire, rather than fear. I’ve relaxed a lot about my food and come to see and experience that not pushing against the world all the time has a huge impact on my health and happiness. And my skin too. It’s the best it’s been in years, despite not always eating super well all the time.
But, really, the fact that my skin is great now is beside the point. Because the truth is – there is still a good chance that my skin will, in fact, break out while I’m in India. I can’t know that it won’t, and I can’t let my enjoyment of the trip hinge on the state of my skin.
As tough as it may be to see that if it happens, I hope that I can truly harness my own strength to know that in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter if my skin breaks out a bit. It’s not worth ruining a trip of a lifetime over, and I can always, always just get back on track the minute I get home.
As I believe I said in my ebook (Ultimate Secrets to Acne Freedom) – ‘Clear skin is great. But so is having a life’. To me, travel is very important. I am not willing to let acne stand in the way of living a rich, fulfilling life that includes it.
The hard part though is actually getting out of your own way.
I can logically say that I won’t freak out if my skin breaks out, or that I won’t worry about breaking out after months of eating Indian food – but actually managing it is a different story. Logically I knew all this before I went on the recent trip to Australia too, but I still freaked out and tried to control everything.
Emotions are a pretty powerful thing.
However, this trip is the final test to see if I really am over the emotional hurt of acne. My personal victory of finding peace and relaxation about food and my skin close to home (and on numerous camping trips and road trips out of town) brings me great hope that I will be able to also find peace while travelling overseas.
And if I can….. if I can do this trip without a bunch of anxiety about my skin, then I will finally know that I am truly and completely healed. And that will be so priceless.
Are you a traveller? What’s your experience with acne and travel?