When Life Gives you Lemons

Highland New York

I’m forever questioning, wondering what this life thing is all about. I listen attentively to my gut and look out for signs that I’m heading in the right direction. I battle to stay grounded and work hard on doing the right thing, for me. I’m my priority and when I’m ok I have so much to give to others.

I chased my dreams hard and jumped headfirst into my nomadic lifestyle. I gave my time to an organisation I wanted to believe in. Others believed in me and supported me in my decision. I accidentally gave up my freedom and felt very disillusioned. I felt trapped and exploited but I didn’t feel like I could leave. I was counting down the days till I could find my wings again and explore. The universe said uh oh, no way chica and all my tools for work got stolen.

Costa Rica Tree

So what was I supposed to do? Just wing it and see what happens. It didn’t feel right so with a heavy heart I came ‘home’. Home for me is England, but as I haven’t really lived here in two years and had no real plans to either it was a curveball. Nevertheless, I felt the pull of my home country and the opportunities it’s filled with.

It paid off and within a blink of an eye I found an area of London I wanted to be. Nature on my doorstep, 76 acres worth should do it, hello Hampstead Heath and a dream apartment. My own space filled with light and quirkiness. The neighbours tell me an artist lived here and with its spiral staircase and dramatic views, it’s a creative heaven. At the same time, a job landed in my lap too. A job in travel and social media, my career in an industry I love, I was left pinching myself. Maybe coming back was going to be alright.

Move day came and I practically danced into my new home and chatted to the builders next door. Twice they asked me if I needed a hand with my bags, twice I said no, I’m good ta. What I wouldn’t give to have said, yes please! Why do I have such an issue with accepting help?! When moments later I bent down to put something in the fridge and everything just stopped. Paralysed, bright light filled my eyes and ringing filled my ears. Heat overwhelmed me and I was dripping with perspiration. I limped to the sofa and collapsed.

To cut a long story short, I spent the next seven and a half hours trying to get help! My mum drove me from place to place and it turns out that’s not possible. I spent hours locked in a single position even after taking a cocktail of diazepam, co-codamol and Naproxen. At a loss, we called 111 and the NHS team rang 999, by this point I’d lost the feeling in my legs and I was swinging from burning up to shivering. The paramedics arrived at midnight, 11 hours after it had first happened and with gas and air (which is totally pointless) and a bit of skilful manoeuvring I was finally lying down.

That was 6 days ago and I’ve pretty much remained horizontal ever since. I’m not in my new home, I never got to start work as planned and I’ve had vast amounts of time to think. I finally got an expert opinion and I was just a fraction away from slipping a disc, my body went into shock and needs time to heal. What does this all mean? My holistic back dude explained that the lower back often gives in when you’ve had the rug pulled from under your feet. My whole life changed and my body followed suit. Am I heading in the wrong direction? I really don’t know. What I do know is that London’s calling and i’m going to give it my best shot, when I can walk again of course.

I hate that for the next few months I won’t be sharing travel tales and immersing myself in new lands and cultures. I’ve taken some wrong turnings but I have to believe that it’s all for the greater good. I am totally grateful to have my health most of the time and I will be embracing life and everything my capital has to offer. This is part of my journey, another chapter if you like. I hope you stick with me for the ride.

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11 Comments on “When Life Gives you Lemons

  1. Wow.

    Okay. Let’s take this in two parts.

    First of all, oh no, and I hope you recover well and more importantly, quickly. How long do you think it will take? It’d a shame when a back thing happens, as they affect life so much, so I am hoping that whatever it is, it finishes off quickly.

    Secondly, well done. So glad to know that you found a great job and more importantly a great flat that sounds too good to be true.

    I look forward to hearing more about both.

    Also, do you have an email around, or do you still know mine? Would be good to get an email convo going, if it helps you pass the time and all.

    All the best!
    Sami

    • Hey Sami,

      Drama, drama! I hate posting negative posts but I’ve made a bit of a promise to myself that I post the good and the bad. It’s easy to paint life as a picture through rose-tinted glasses online but it doesn’t feel very honest. I’m just hoping the fun stuff kicks in again soon 🙂

      I’ve got my brothers looking after me at the mo and they’re keeping my brain occupied. I think I have your email, I’ll have a look. Praying I’ll be back on my feet very soon though!

      Thanks for your comment! I am very lucky really and I know that, I just want my health back.

      • Drama is all part of life, we can run and hide but it catches up with us. Same with the negatives and positives.

        Good to know that your brain is occupied. My email is contact at OxGadgets dot com, in case it will help to bounce ideas and stuff that comes to your mind, even though you’re doing pretty well on your blog.

        Wishing you a quick and speedy recovery!

        • It’s true, the lows definitely make the highs higher! That’s really kind of you and I’ll give you a shout if I think of anything worth writing 🙂

  2. Hi Jo
    Thought I’d check out your blog and find out how things are going for you. Just read your Life Gives You Lemons post. Poor you – hoping you make a speedy recovery and you’re back on your feet very soon doing the things that you love.
    All the best from Derrick (your fellow Raleigh Costa Rica volunteer)

    • Hi Derrick,

      So lovely to hear from you and great to see your adventures post expedition. Are you still travelling or back home now? I’m not great at being stuck in one place as you can tell but life likes to teach us a lesson or two from time to time hey. Best wishes and thanks for checking in on me! 🙂

      • Back in Bristol now, Jo and back to work next week. Off to practice my Spanish tonight 🙂 Nice to hear from you!

  3. Jo,
    Such a lovely post and written so eloquently!
    I believe even though you are at home, you can travel around and have wonderful adventures too!
    Heres hoping the back is sorted soon
    xxx

    • Sally! 🙂

      Says you having jumped on a plane to Austria 😛 Yes you’re right and I totally plan to fall in love with London and find it’s best bits, see a bit more of Europe too. Thanks for your lovely comment and I’ve now survived two commutes (with crutches) so I’m definitely on the mend!

      Thinking of you and your new adventure.

      xxx

  4. Back pain is awful – I hope you’re feeling much better by now. (If not, I heartily recommend osteopathy, has sorted me out several times.)

    Love to hear more about what you’re doing in London 🙂

    • Hey Jax, I slipped a disc & my osteopath is some kind of angel! I wouldn’t be working or commuting without him. I’m leading the Hostelworld global social media team so I get to talk travel all day long – my kind of travel too. I’ve also just started photojournalism at college. I’m trying to make the most of all that London has to offer as I have no idea how long I’ll stay. How are you doing? Are you still home educating?

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