Sometimes life can get in the way of where you desire to be, whether it be money, relationships, health or even just not knowing what the right thing to do is.
For me, the last year and a half has been all of the above.
Going back to October 2017 and the last photographic venture I took in the South Island of New Zealand, it was just off the back of winter, the mountain peaks were still characterised by bright white snow but the flowers and fields were beginning to breathe life back into the valleys. With a trip of the north island under our belt from a year earlier, my girlfriend at the time and I had rented a van and set off to see what the south had to offer. The scenery was far beyond expectation and I quickly fell in love with my surroundings, truly a photographers dream.
It was when I returned home from my scenic high that I first noticed some real differences in my body, I started to unintentionally lose weight, my energy levels seemed perpetually drained and my body was becoming increasingly sore in the morning and evenings.
For the next few months however I ignored all of this and was working 6 days a week, 10-12 hrs a day. At the time I was earning great money, not to mention being invested in bitcoin and other crypto, the 2017 bull run saw my portfolio rise considerably. I started to dream and became incredibly focused on buying my first property, a stepping stone to financial freedom.
By March 2018 however, all these ideas and dreams that seemed to drive me started slipping through the cracks. The markets had taken a serious dive and so had my health. I was now unable to continue working and was forced to quit my job indefinitely. Doctor after doctor and I was getting no answers, some even telling me that It was all in my head.
Knowing something is really wrong and having professionals palm off symptoms as figments of your imagination was immensely conflicting and so it began to take a serious toll on my mental state.
It does not take much for your mind to slip into the dark, you begin to think the worst and so I did. Never the less without a diagnosis I began to take it into my own hands with countless hours of research and a complete change in my diet and lifestyle, through all of this I was still not 100% but had made significant improvements in the amount of pain that I was experiencing.
Fast forward to October 2018, I was flat broke and my saving were entirely gone, my health had also begun to take another dip regardless of conscious efforts towards my well being. This all could not have come at a worse time, end of October my partner and I split up after 4 years following her move to London, further more I could not keep up with rent and with my tail between my legs I ended back at my parents house. One month later life threw down the cherry on top, after a year in the dark through pure luck a blood test came back with the answer I had long awaited and also dreaded. I was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative auto-immune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, a mouthful I know. Although such news was no reason to be happy about I couldn't help but feel somewhat relieved, worse than knowing something is wrong is not knowing what that is but now I do and knowledge is power.
There is no known cure and symptoms are progressive but I have always been a believer in the power of which the human mind is capable. Since my diagnosis my condition has varied, some weeks are worse then others but it is my mindset where the most improvements have come from, I feel more enlightened then ever before, as if I have a new lease on life, this disease is not something I can change but everything else in my life is open to improvement, without darkness there can be no light and I am certainly once again seeing the light.
Over the past few months I have been back at work, only 2-3 days a week but enough to work towards something I desire. Come mid-May I will be taking a trip back to the South Island of New Zealand, this time alone and with a one way ticket, I want to be able to explore for the rest of my life but that is no longer a certainty, money is cheap when waged against experience and so I wish to experience while I still can.
Whilst on the road I will continue to blog and post my photos along the way, past and present.
I hope you enjoy what is to come, remember that as bad as things seem to get there is always a way out and that is through your own wonderful mind.
Note: If anyone to read this is struggling in their life, in need of advice or just wanting an ear to listen. Do not hesitate to contact me, I am kind, easy to talk to and have some big ears. Thank you.