First thoughts on the road

This whole journey is not just about about relaxing or sightseeing. I’ve no doubt I’ll be doing plenty of both, but there is another reason. a far more important reason. This is a bit of a voyage of discovery. What I hope to discover is my old self. The guy that wasn’t scared all the time.

This morning at the airport I thought I might give myself a heart attack. I could feel my face reddening up, and a tightness in my chest. My hands were shaking so much that I could not even contemplate reading my book. It wasn’t anything of the sort of course. It was nerves and the beginnings of a panic attack. I simply closed my eyes and took some deep breaths and the moment passed. A few seconds later and the flight was called. The second I walked out on the tarmac and felt the breeze everything was completely back to normal. Some time into the flight I could feel it happening again. Again I controlled my breathing and the moment passed.

I’ve been in London for about 8 hours now. Nothing even close to what happened earlier has even seemed a possibility. So the question has to be – what was I worried about? It wasn’t flying. I have no fear there. A fascination and a a thrill during take off is the closest I get to thoughts about flying. The answer it seems is just out of reach. I was terrified. There is no other word for it. I was terrified of doing something that I’m dreamed of, planned and wanted for so long. Reflecting I know I felt this before. This mornings events were just magnified versions of the anxiety I feel just doing routine things. Like getting a hair cut, or meeting friends in Town for example.

Speaking to a Doctor yesterday. She informed me that one of the side effects of the new medication I am taking is feelings of nervousness. I wonder if it was that was the reason. Maybe the drugs amplified my normal anxiety?

Either way. There are two facts that I cannot dispute. First – that six or seven years ago, I would not even have had any episode. Let alone two as powerful as I experienced this morning. Secondly – and far more positively – I am currently sat in a rather nice hotel room in London. One with a rather industrial view, but one that I am eagerly awaiting to see illuminated in the dark. despite what happened this morning, I’m here. I pushed on, and I am here. Nobody else pushed me. I did it myself. So here I am, and I feel pretty good. I’d feel even better but I hardly slept a wink last night with a combination of worry and nervous excitement.

I’m staying at the Paddington Hilton. I thought that I would treat myself for the first night of a journey such as this. As a location it is perfect. It is right above Paddington Station, but I have not heard a single train. The view that I am so looking forward to seeing tonight is the main concourse of the station. An arch of latticed steal and glass is directly in front of me. Surrounded by greenhouse style roofing. behind that lay office buildings – a scaled up Admiral Park if you will. At night the light should illuminate the arch and roofing and I’ll be there with my camera.

Today I visited the Natural History Museum. If I have been there before I must have been too young to remember. Any worry I felt there was purely a fear of accidently clouting a small child with my rucksack as hundreds of them ran amok amongst the exhibits. That worry though was dwarfed by the fear that I may deliberately clout a small child with my rucksack after having my feet trodden on for the umpteenth time. A note to myself – next time book a trip during term time. I was quite surprised by the museum. I did not get as much out of it as I thought I would . I found the place to have a creepy vibe. Particularly one exhibit – a menagerie of stuffed birds occupying a bush. Hundreds of these lifeless birds, glassy-eyed stapled to the branches. More macabre then entertaining and informative. I think perhaps next time I shall stick to seeing animals in a nature reserve and one day in the wild.

Right now I am debating with myself what to do for the remainder of this evening. I am absolutely knackered and tomorrow will be tiring particularly as jet-lag will soon factor into the occasion. So the choices I have laid out for myself are to either head into Leicester Square, find somewhere to eat, see whats happening and see whats on at the cinema. Or I’ll take a walk around Paddington for a while. Order some room service, have a relaxing bath and watch a movie here at the hotel before getting my head down for an early-ish night.

Hmm – may have to toss a coin for this one.

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