Let me tell you a story of how one trip can turn into a journey of a lifetime.
This story centers around one beautiful, fascinating and life changing city. It’s the home of the deep dish pizza, the serene Buckingham Fountain and a bean called Cloud Gate that makes the baked variety envious. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m talking about Chicago, Illinois. But, in order to dive into my adventure, we have to journey back 1 year prior to the one trip that changed the direction of my life, forever.
One summer morning in August, my serotonin levels plummeted to an all time low. Long story short, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It came out of nowhere and hit my family and I like a ton of bricks. In the space of 24 hours, I had gone from being happy, passionate and excited for life, to being a complete shell of myself – plagued with fear and anxiety.
As you can imagine, when the depression arrived, my passions departed. One of my biggest pre-depression passions was fashion; so much so that at the age of 18, I moved half way across the world to broaden my knowledge and study Visual Communications at FIDM (The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in California.
Somehow, within the space of 2 years, I had gone from chasing my dreams which led me 5,265 miles across the world, to not even caring how I looked, what day it was and being unable to imagine where my life was headed.
With all of that being said, my family knew that my passions needed to be re-awoken. My eyes needed to witness new, exciting sights, my imagination to be sparked to dream again and my heart to fall back in love with the wondrous world we call home. Since my Dad was going on a business trip to Chicago in the May of 2013, my parents thought it would be an amazing chance for me to go on an adventure. However, being that I struggled to even leave the house most of the time, when I was greeted with this incredible opportunity, it sounded almost too much for me to handle. It’s crazy when you are able to think about it logically, right? I was so close to backing out of the trip. But if I had, I believe it would’ve been the biggest mistake of my life.
As the departure date drew closer and closer, I was actually growing more and more excited; an emotion that I hadn’t felt for what seemed like forever ago. I began to realise that the trip I was about to take was one that I so desperately needed – despite how I was feeling. For the first time in 9 months, I was actually excited about styling my outfits, doing the most touristy activities you can think of (including gliding around the city on a Segway), and simply exploring a place I’d never ventured to before.
Upon arrival, I saw a shift within myself; a shift that was so desperately needed. When walking along the Michigan Avenue Bridge, I was approached by passers-by asking where they could purchase my outfit. When stopping to play the tourist – taking pictures at Millennium Park, I was asked, “Who is your stylist? You look incredible!” When shopping along the famous Magnificent Mile, I was asked if I had a blog so they could shop my outfit! I was interviewed and photographed for a local Fashion and Lifestyle magazine. Believe it or not, I was even asked if someone could get a picture taken with me whilst shopping for makeup, simply because of how much they loved my styling. It felt incredible! These beautiful Chicagoan’s didn’t know who I was, what I had been going through or what a boost their words were actually giving me exactly when I needed it. They were igniting a passion within me which I thought was too dead to ever return. The entire trip I was thinking, “I wish I had a blog to direct all of these people to!”
It was somewhere between my morning trips to Starbucks to sip on my Vanilla Chai and viewing captivating pieces displayed at the Millennium Art Festival that I began to allow inspiration to lead me again. It was an anticipation that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Watching the busy, 20-something commuter trying to balance her life in one hand, whilst not forgetting her boss’s Triple Shot, Venti, Soy, No Foam Latte in the other, for some reason, brought a smile to my face. The artists who had their work displayed for the eyes of Chicago to admire sparked within me an assurance that everything was going to be okay. In fact, it was going to be more than okay. Despite the difficult path that I was currently walking, I knew that I had to keep going and not give up. The words, the people and the sights of Chicago developed within me a renewed faith and belief that I could turn the hardest time of my life into something beautiful. So that’s exactly what I did.
My 2013 trip to Chicago changed my life, forever. My blog – The Truth Diaries, was a product of what was birthed through my metamorphic adventure to Chicago. The trip that I was initially reluctant to take because of fear, doubt and anxiety actually reignited passions and birthed within me new, exciting ones. Through Chicago, my eyes were opened up to a different world with new possibilities and endless opportunities.
Although though it was difficult for me to take the initial first step into the unknown, I had to choose to live beyond my feelings and step out of my comfort zone. Because I refused to let fear hold me back, my world became a whole lot brighter… I actually started to believe my life was going to be the amazing adventure it was always intended to be. Although I didn’t know what was round the corner, my trip to Chicago led me to step out into the unknown which has led me to walk the greatest adventure of a lifetime. Sure, Chicago wasn’t the cure for my depression – but this incredible adventure was a catalyst for bigger and better things to come.
We might not know the whole destination, and that’s okay; sometimes we just have to take one step at a time and always believe that it’s going to lead us somewhere life changing.