I've never used travel as an escape. Sounds odd, I mean to most people a trip, rather a vacation, is an escape pure and simple. But for me a vacation was always more for exploration and discovery - nothing was less attractive to me in a vacation than just laying around doing nothing.
In March of this year I fulfilled a years-long dream of going to Mexico. All it took was a lodging recommendation from a friend. I was in dire need of a change of scenery and I needed to go on my own. I was lucky enough to be steered to La Posada del Capitan Lafitte in Playa Del Carmen. (Thanks Robert, you're a genius.) This enchanted, extremely low-key place, was exactly what I needed. Even though I didn't know it. Talk about a lucky turn of events.
I spent 6 days in a literal heaven on earth. No tv, no radio, no PHONE, no internet. Plenty of quiet, peace, beautiful, indescribably beautiful scenery such as I've never experienced before. So beautiful I couldn't believe it wasn't some sort of Disneyland creation. I discovered I LOVE lying in the sun. I always shunned the brightness before, but in Mexico the sun may be blazing - but is a caressing blaze that makes you relax and you feel embraced rather than assailed. I felt wrapped in a hug of sunlight and warmth and it was glorious.
I read, I wrote, I baked in the Caribbean sun (moderately... I'm as white a white girl as you can imagine and despite it feeling fabulous, too much of that sun would have had me in the hospital the color of my favorite nail polish "high heel red"). But it was glorious, every single minute.
On the third day there my best friend called my cell phone from New York, where it was something like 27 degrees.
"You had it, down there?"
"I mean aren't you ready to come home? Aren't you bored yet?"
"Ready to come home? I don't want to leave!"
For a someone who dreamed of nothing more than living in New York City her entire life, for me to admit to loving the quiet and solitude was a shocker to my friend.
I actually shed a couple of tears the day I had to get on the plane to come home. I promised myself I was going back - and soon. But about a month ago I was informed that this fantastic place was closing (after over 30 years) and moving further down the beach. I was crushed.
This 'quit the damned job already' mania that I've been going through was very much what I was going through in March. Unfortunately this time it's a bit stronger. In March I went to Mexico and de-stressed enough to buy a few more months of not quitting. In September I'm going back to Mexico, I don't know if it will keep me from quitting before the end of the year, but it can't hurt to try. Mainly I just want to stay at Lafitte one more time before they close. This time I'm staying for 9 days and I know in my heart that that will still not be enough... but it's the best I can do right now. So I'll take it.
The plane is booked, the room is reserved... yet I still have the tension headache I've been harboring for the past 5 days. I guess it will take more than action to cure that. But at least I did something, something positive that will be fun and healing.
While I was in Mexico in March, pondering existence and what I want to do in my life I wrote in my journal every day about how happy I was to be alive. To have had the chance to come to this amazingly glorious place. I think back on that woman I was almost two years ago. When I do cry nowadays it's almost always for her, the me who was so sad, so very ill and hopeless that she saw no other option but suicide. Who hid that sadness so well that not even my closest friends knew how very bad things were. I laughed and joked and faked every single minute. And not one person knew. Oh they knew I was depressed, but not the extent of my illness - there was no one who could see it. I made sure of that. I didn't want anyone to have the chance to try to talk me out of suicide: it was the only salvation I could see back then.
But I got lucky, and I had an epiphany that changed my life. My Mexico journal is full of pages and pages of the gratitude I feel to be alive, not to have missed the shockingly wonderful things there are in this world.
When you're sick, when you're in that horrible black pit that is depression, it's so impossible to see anything outside of the darkness. But oh please, if you read this and you see nothing to hope for - please trust me: there is a beautiful sun that wants to shine through that darkness and open you up to what you can't see. If you feel you've given up, that there is no hope, before you do anything rash: do this - go to Mexico, see the wonders of this beautiful earth, let that wild yellow sun wrap around you, step outside that awful darkness for just a few minutes and see you CAN heal, you can. I know, because I did.