When I was released from the mental health inpatient building, I wanted to “wanna get away?” like those embarrassing commercials. I have family that reside in Switzerland. They were concerned about me and encouraged me to visit. I contacted my cousin and we began planning my trip to Switzerland. I wanted to travel right away but my cousin was going through a work transition. So I waited 5 months for her to be ready. I bought my tickets and went on my Mental Clarity Trip to Europe.
What is a Mental Clarity Trip?
The way I describe it for myself is setting aside a few days, at a new location, to clear your mind of worry and fears. The goal is to drift, go with the flow, and break routine. The following factors enhance a clarity trip:
- Limit phone time – Choose to experience the present fully and beautifully, your phone use will drop naturally.
- No working – No working at all that includes checking emails.
- Minfulness – Take time to savor every experience.
- Time – Don’t wear a watch, if you don’t have to. It’s always time to enjoy every moment. Be a proud vagabond.
- Mindset – Keep positive affirmations on repeat. Be open to new adventures.
- Show gratitude – The fact that I can afford Europe for 2 weeks is a blessing.
I wasn’t hopeful that I would travel to Switzerland. I resumed business for Boston Throne Chairs as usual. My life returned to “normal.” Which translates into busy and stressful. The thing is I was itching for a change and Switzerland felt safe. In July 2022, my cousin contacted me and said she was waiting for me. The Mental Clarity Trip was back on, yes! Within a month’s time, I ended the lease for my store. Placed all my products in storage and hired someone to mail my products for me. I bought my plane tickets, to Switzerland, 2 weeks before I was due to travel.
Initially, I wanted to go for 6 weeks then thought 1 week but settled on 2 weeks. I informed my therapist and psychiatrist of my travel plans. My family and health care team were so excited for this mental clarity trip. I flew Turkish Airline and had a full day lay over in Turkey. When I arrived at the airport, I learned the hotel I booked was near another airport and too far to travel to. I ask a taxi driver to take me to the nearest hotel. I took a photo of his license plate and sent it to my family.
He drove me to a very busy area in Istanbul, walked into a hotel with me and signaled the clerk then left. I asked the clerk how much for a night? She said $95 USD. I did an about face, walked out and walked to the next hotel. The front desk girl quoted me $55, I took it.
First thing I did when arrived to my room was take a shower and change. I went on to explore the city. I truly wish I took more photos in Turkey. The architecture was so beautiful, with the tiny bodega type stores in every corner. Restaurants, serving tradition Turkish food, lined the streets. Many merchants approached me to offer me food menus and samples. Children, seated on staircases, greeted me with hello and a bright smile. Returning to the hotel, a man stopped me. Using google translate on his phone, he asked me if I needed anything, I said no I’m all set. Life has since so much since I stopped traveling 7 years ago. Language barrier is a thing of the past.
I was getting hungry seeing all the little restaurants. But I ended up going to a hotel restaurant where they serve western food. I choose Turkish Pizza because it had the word pizza on it.
The next morning, I really wanted to do a city tour of Turkey. The hotel clerks each told me a different pricing. So I left my luggage at the hotel and went on to enjoy Istanbul once more.
I returned to the airport and was at the gate 1 hour before departure to my final destination, Switzerland.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my trip