Travelling is like being inside Howl's Moving Castle
Travelling is hard. Manoeuvring through unexpected and difficult situations that are completely out of my control can leave me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
After 2 months of travelling I hit a hard wall. Barely a quarter of a way through my world trip I burned out. I quickly had to find a way to create space outside of reality so that my mind could have a well earned break. Visualising myself in one of Hayao Miyazaki's films, funnily enough, did the trick!
Howl's Moving Castle is the story of a young girl who is cursed with an old body, and in her search for a spell to lift the curse, finds herself on board a flying castle with the wizard, Howl. The castle's doors open, each time to a different land of cities, mountains, lakes, oceans... It's an amazing, visually stunning film.
Mexico is a huge country and I planned to see as much of it as I possibly could in 2 months, spending on average 3 or 4 days in each location, with 5 - 13 hour bus trips in between. I wanted to be on the south coast for Christmas, see the humpback whales in breeding season and witness the butterfly migration.
I don't know whether it was because we had just left the intensity of Cuba, or because the weather when we arrived in Mexico was miserable and we had to rush through the Yacatuan state in order to get to Palenque, squeezing in one of the wonders of the world - in just 5 days, but something - maybe a combination of all of the above, made me burst into tears on a bus that was taking a 13 hour detour into the next state. This was just all so hard! After my stressful job and the years I spent saving, I just needed to rest!
I think a lot of people get to this stage when they're on the move; Travel Burn Out. I was lucky to have had Seamus with me when this happened. He reached over, put his arms around me and asked me what was wrong. I explained that I was tired and my head was just too full of everything I had seen and that I hated the fucking bus! What the hell was I doing here!? He just laughed and held me some more. Eventually he said:
"Just imagine you're sitting in the living room of Howl's Moving Castle, and that the front of the bus is the doorway to all these different lands. Wherever we stop will be some place new and exciting."
I felt instantly better and safe - just knowing that I was on an adventure, and to treat it like the magical, fairy-tale experience that it was. I closed my eyes and visualised myself inside the castle walls, sitting by the fire, watching the flames dance as the castle powered on to its next unknown destination.
Now whenever I'm on a bus and I'm tired and negative feelings begin to creep in - I imagine I'm sitting inside Howl's Moving Castle.
I remind myself of the adventure i'm on.