As you might know, I have been asking different people about their take on what living in the moment means to them. For the first three parts of this blog series I asked Svet, Jason and Katharina to tell their stories. This week I asked Ella Capek, a fellow traveler and blogger. And I must say, I have the utmost respect for the way she openly and honestly gave us a very personal insight into what living in the moment means to her and the difficulties she faces in trying to do this.
Ella has two illnesses known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder, which does make her life more difficult but does not keep her from traveling, exploring curiously and just outright living life to the fullest. Especially because I have been writing more and more about traveling with an illness, it was very interesting to me to hear the point of view of a person with a different type of illness and it makes me extremely happy to hear that she is not letting the disease hold her back, but she has actually learned to live with it and maybe because of it has learned so much about herself and has taken an incredible view on life in general.
Ella is a very inspiring young traveler who was born in England, but has been living in Israel, where her mom is from, for nearly 9 years. Besides writing on her blog „Wide-Eyed Wanderer“, she works as a private English tutor and will begin her studies to become a music therapist (one of her biggest dreams!) next year.
Some of her favorite things to do are listening to and playing music, reading, being in nature, cycling and playing football (the British kind 😉 ) and daydreaming about future trips, which she has many, many ideas for.
When I asked her about what her favorite places in the world are, this was her answer:
“My favourite place(s) currently are Paris, which I’m convinced is my soul city… and Kenya which I consider my ‘heart country’. I feel like I have a great relationship with both of those places and I care about them greatly. And as crazy as it sounds.. I feel like they cared about me too during our short but very memorable time together.”
What is your blog „Wide-Eyed Wanderer“ about?
“My blog is essentially for ‘the world-obssessed global student’. For those people who care about the world and want to learn about themselves, other people, other cultures and in general, the world they live in, through travel. I definitely share practical information and suggestions (e.g. “What To Do On The Great Ocean Road” and “An Itinerary For 4 Days In Paris”) but also talk about the more personal and emotional aspects of travel & travel-related subjects. I don’t shy away from ’taboo’ travel topics that many people avoid talking about (e.g. “How To Get Over The Mid-Travel Blues” and “The Importance Of Having A Healthy Relationship With Travel”) and I try to talk about travel as honestly as I can.
My main goal is to help others realise that the world is beautiful despite its many disappointments and to encourage growth, awareness and familiarisation with ourselves, each other and the world through travel. Because if we can do that, we’ll be a lot stronger, healthier and happier global society.”
Living in the Moment – by Ella
So, right off the bat, I’d like to mention that I have a two mental illnesses known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder.
Why am I starting my ‘Living in the moment’ essay with that piece of personal information?
Because as a result of them, I’m either ruminating over my mistakes of the past or worried about the potential mishaps of the future.
Which unfortunately means, that I’m hardly ever in the present.
When you have mental illnesses such as generalized anxiety disorder and dysthymic disorder, you spend an awful amount of time stuck in your head, fixating on the nonsense that your mind creates for itself. You’re aware that it’s irrational, detrimental and pointless, but you can’t stop it from happening and you find that if you try, it only makes it worse.
Not only does that cause a lot of emotional and psychological pain and stress, but all that worrying and ruminating takes away from the time that you could be feeling present in your body, in the moment and in your life. And so, ‘Living in the moment’ is a state that takes a lot more conscious effort for me to achieve.
Luckily, however, I have noticed that there are certain moments or experiences in life where I am still able to be present in the moment, despite having an over-active mind that usually distracts me from it.
Those times are when I am experiencing a moment in the present, that is just too good not to be present for.
The part of me that always wants to have awesome experiences and to live life to the fullest (which I believe is the same part that has the immense curiosity for travel), wakes up and overrides my brain, telling it to pay attention because something awesome is happening here.
And my brain, aware of it’s tendency to overwork itself for no real reason, listens because it knows that it’s in the best interest of its owner to just be quiet and let her enjoy this remarkable experience.
Experiences like having a deep, soul bonding conversation with someone I love and don’t get to see often. Listening to an inspiring piece of music that moves me to tears and takes me to other worlds. Going on a hike in a different part of the world, and stopping at the top to see a breath-taking view of our awe-inspiring world.
The experiences that grab my attention and tell me, “Hey Ella, look how amazing this is! Isn’t life and the world amazing?” And I always reply to those moments, “Yes, they are!” Because they are freaking amazing. And rather than worrying, stressing or ruminating, I’m marveling at the beauty with a childlike sense of wonder and amazement. Grateful for every second I was given to enjoy that beautiful experience.
And because I know how awesome those moments are and how enriching they make my life, I feel more inspired and motivated to cultivate more of those moments. More moments where I’m living in the present and not in my head. Because I know that the extra effort is worth it.
For me, being present is sometimes very difficult and I still don’t always succeed at it. But I’ve found that it’s always worth the effort and every time that I do succeed, both myself and my brain are very grateful.
Here you can read the previous parts of this blog series “Living in the Moment”: