Anxiety is an old friend of mine. She’s had her cold, clammy grip on my shoulder since the fun tweenage years, but the spring of 2013, that bitch threw me to the ground. Daily panic attacks, insomnia, quickly joined by depression. It was a general shitstorm of mental illness. I had pills, I went to therapy, and yet I still couldn’t function. The walk from my bed to the shower had suddenly become my Everest and it was a mountain I just couldn’t climb.
As with everything, those months eventually passed, but they’ve left a hazy mess of emotions and memories in my mind. I have no concrete grasp of the timeline of events. I was signed off work in May, and in the end never went back, so I know that it was sometime before June that I found what was to become my future job at that sweet little hotel in Dahab.
I’d been planning the grand adventure, my great escape, for months. Quiet days were spent scrolling through travel blogs, obsessively checking jobs abroad and plane ticket prices in between phone calls and on breaks (because apparently the bank I worked for had no internet filters?).
It was on one of the many job listing sites that I finally found it. I’d absentmindedly clicked onto Egypt, my eye caught the word Dahab, the listing was for a hotel, “Help Wanted: reception and housekeeping”. I could work in a hotel, I thought. I could clean toilets if it meant cleaning toilets in Egypt.
I got an email confirming I had the job on a beautifully sunny day in June. All my classmates were in Wales on a special and impromptu trip for some event or other. I was in dirty pajamas, curled up on my sofa under a duvet despite the heat, Vampire Diaries playing, unwatched on TV. It was not a good day, but it definitely felt a little less not good after that.
To Be Continued...