When You Work For Recovery,

recovery works for you. Truly, it does.

January 21-27 of this year I went on my first ever trip out of the United States. I have always held a certain amount of shame around being 24 years old and not having my passport. Alas, I, at 11 months into my 24th year have a passport with a few stamps.

Around November 2018, I was having yet ANOTHER quarter-life crisis. My inner dialog, and sorry for those around me but outer dialog, sounded something like this:

What am I doing?! Who am I?! How do I view myself?! What am I doing to become her?! Is this dream even logical?! *many tears, many aggressive journal notes later* I decided that I needed some space from this headache I was giving myself. I questioned when the last time was that I felt free and connected to the earth and to my body. And I received an answer.

When James, my boyfriend, and his twin brother and his girlfriend went to Mysteryland in Upstate New York a few summers ago, we saw Odesza and I remember falling in love with them, myself, James, and all of the people surrounding us that were living in that moment, too. Might sound cheesy to you, but when I think back to that time, I get chills and feel a sense of embodiment that I don’t often feel. I used the valuable internet to see where Odesza was playing and saw Amsterdam on their tour list. Looked at flights, found one in my price range, annnnnnnd held off on buying it. I would love to say that I was so confident in my decision then and there that I bought the tickets.

But I mulled it over for weeks. Was this a waste of money? Was I going to be safe traveling by myself? Should have bought that J.Crew Stadium Coat that was around the same price as the round trip ticket to Amsterdam?!

And then my mentor/boss/friend, Kit, said, “No good story at a dinner party started with that one time I bought a J.Crew coat” and that was the day I bought the tickets. Because quite frankly, that probably wouldn’t be a very captivating opening sentence to any story…

So once I had all of my tickets booked and my passport on its way, I started looking into where I was going to stay, what else I was going to do, ect. A lot of reviews that I read recommended staying in hostels, but at first thought, that really scared me. I pictured my stuff getting rifled through, stressing about my safety with men, and the bathroom situations. I chose to keep myself as cozy and stress-free as possible. I booked a bed in an all female hostel that was close to the music venue, near a major transportation hub, and so affordable I could cry thinking about it.

This turned out to be a fabulous choice. I had a safe, clean, and funkily decorated room, bathroom, and social area to enjoy while I was in Amsterdam. There was a locked-safe under my bed in which I kept all my valuables in and due to the social areas, even made a few friends. One of which, I ended up going to see Odesza with! Would recommend staying at an all female hostel like this if you are a female traveling alone (only accompanied by your fears).

My primary goals of the trip were to stay safe and have as much fun as possible. I navigated rationally around the city but didn’t feel as comfortable partaking in the crazy nightlife, so I made sure that when I was out at night, I knew which train could take me back to my hostel and at what time. I didn’t experience a single moment that I felt unsafe on this whole trip. And after my second full day, it felt like I had lived and traveled around all my life. I took myself to museums, gardens, and extravagant bars for wine and fries and enjoyed the greatest company in the world: my own. I really felt like this was the first time that I fell in love with myself and my ability to tackle things beyond my comfort zone.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking this trip by myself: I was afraid of everything. There is no way I would have allowed myself to spend money on an experience. And during my deep anorexic days, I remember taking a trip to Chicago - a place I’d traveled to alone many times - in search of my beloved BCBG caftan. I had so many anxiety attacks that left me crying on the sidewalk. In broad daylight. In Chicago. Because I couldn’t find a Whole Foods to get some lettuce from. That day still scares that shit out of me, because I behaved so differently than how I do today.

I work for my recovery all day every day. This is my full time job. And recovery has given me so many privileges in this world: one being my trip to Europe.

Oh, and the food was not the best part of the trip. I didn’t even care about the food. And that felt soooooo good.

Trust your recovery, not your eating disorder, please.

Pretty please.

Much love,

Lydia