Updated: Oct 28, 2022
(Live your dreams)
Travelling is relatively new to me. I've always loved the idea of visiting new countries but the anxiety has always got in the way. I love learning the language, learning different cultures, the wildlife definitely, but I worry about it far too much and talk myself out of it. Anxiety is real and the more we talk about it, the more we'll understand. The more the people around us will understand the more we can work around it.
I visited Paris a long, long time ago, when I was in art college, I could already speak French because I learned it at primary school, and as my dad reminds me, I used to speak it fluently, until I had to learn Welsh, now I get mixed up between the two and end up speaking a kind of Cymr-aise or Franc-raeg...which is fine if you can speak Welsh too!
(Nowadays I can speak bits of lots of languages, which is probably more frustrating.)
After having children and not a lot of money, travelling abroad was not an option, but now the kids have grown up, I suddenly found that I could.
Marienplatz - Munchen - Germany
As long as I could get over the fear of airports.
Too many people, too much information, too many documents to remember to have and not loose. It's a stimulation overload, (which I have talked about in a previous post) and I can get very fatigued, very distressed, very quickly. And then there's the dietary needs too. (I can say 'Gluten-Free' in five different languages now!)
I have always wanted to travel, if my partner would come with me, it would be half the battle, but that's too easy, you know I love a challenge!
When the opportunity arose that I could go and see Alex Henry Foster in Germany, I thought, fuck it, get a grip and go for it, I can speak enough German to order coffee and say hello, how hard can it be?
My partner traveled with me to Manchester Airport and back in the same day, which is a long way from Wales! Just to make sure I got there ok and to save on the stress. I'd booked a car from the airport to the Hotel which was late in the evening, so when I woke up the next morning, I was in another country, the mixed feelings of nervousness and elation were overwhelming, but i'd done it.
(Don't dream your life but live your dreams -
In the hotel I was staying at - couldn't be any more fitting.)
The thing about seeing a band is you're bound to connect with the other people there, despite the language barriers or culture differences, we already know we like the same music and that counts for a lot in my book.
I had such a fabulous time and made some great friends, so much so, that when I go to Germany again, I will have to tour the country. And of course, Alex Henry Foster & The Long Shadows were amazing as always -
I had a day free the following day to wander around Munich, so I visited Marienplatz. A mixture of Barvarian and German architecture. There's some information here, but I thought I'd share my photographs too, from a more decorative point of view.
I have been promising a friend that I would visit her out in her new place in Spain for ages, then there was covid and brexit and all that rubbish. But when she offered to pick my up from my home (!) I jumped at the chance, and bless her, she saw me off on the Spain side too.
So last week I found myself in Cantoria. She was telling me about all the native wildlife there is around and although the wild boar didn't make an appearance (which is probably a good thing) I did see creatures I'd never seen before in real life or certainly not in their natural habitat.
I have a general rule when painting wildlife, is that I have to see it, with my own eyes first, before I can add it into my illustrations. It's easier that way, to understand their movements and characters.
I lived on a diet of coffee and wine for four days, with the odd sin gluten tostadas, goats cheese and quails eggs. Visited the villages, met some new friends there too and came home with flowers and leaves, (for ink making - i'll explain in my next post) that aren't often seen in Britain, despite being native to the UK, especially the Lantanas, which are so pretty.
I can't thank the people enough for forcing me to do this, and although I still find airports draining and nerve wracking, I've done a few now and could maybe do it alone, maybe...
Tangier is next, though my partner isn't keen on me travelling to Morocco alone so if anyone fancies it, I know of a great hotel.
Finally, there are several points to this post.
One, don't let your anxiety or any other mental health issues rule you. Understand them, work around them don't let them stop you from being you, which brings me to point two. It's much easier when the people around you can empathise with what you're going through, so talk to them and help them understand.
And the final point, never, ever, give up on your dreams. Sometimes it takes a while, but you will get there.