I haven’t posted anything on this blog for a month. A month! This project started out really ambitious, but obviously when life gets more intense I find that reflecting on myself (and writing about it) every week feels a bit insane. I’m clearly struggling. But my writing has majorly improved due to this process so I want to get back at it, and add in some bonus/extra content so I still make it to 52 published pieces before my 26th birthday in April.
Now to get to the point! You want to know what the catchy headline means or you wouldn’t have clicked on this article, right?! So basically I ran my body down so much that I almost passed out and couldn’t make a pre-paid (and not terribly cheap) trip to go to Shape Eurasia in Yerevan, Armenia from 5–8 October. If you follow my writing or know anything about me at all, you’ll know I hate wasting money and have a pretty cavalier disregard for my physical limits. Well not this time.
Earlier this year I went to Ukraine and absolutely loved it. It was a totally unknown place to me and I was blown away by how much I learned and how open and friendly everyone was. I have heard similar things about Armenia and had similar expectations, so I was excited to venture much further East, see the country, and go to Eurasia for the first time. Also, as silly as it sounds (it’s the truth so whatever I’ll just own it), I saw the Keeping Up With The Kardashians episode years ago where Kim and Khloe visited and it looked gorgeous — ha.
Sounds straightforward right? Yay Armenia, gonna go and have a cool time. Well not so fast! If only this were the singular cool time I had planned. But I have been overpacking my schedule like some kind of crazy person lately, and by the time the trip rolled around I had been in a different country every weekend for a month straight.
Basically, next month I move out of London for good. El husbando (Alex) and I will soon settle in Atlanta — our new home (yay). Knowing that I won’t have Europe at my fingertips for much longer, I’ve kicked into travel overdrive and have been away a lot. On Sep 3–4 I was in Zurich, working with UBS on innovative ideas for the future of wealth management, from Sep 9–11 I was in Stockholm visiting Alex who was leading a project for Google there, Sep 15–18 I was in Oslo (visiting Alex again for project phase II), Sep 21–24 we went down to the New Forest in the Southwest of England to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, then Sep 29 to Oct 1 I was in Milan for Shape Europe. And it wasn’t straight travel — in between all of these visits I was back in London, and I was working (either from the office while in London, or working remotely from my hotels) the entire time.
At the end of all of this back-to-back travel without a single weekend in London, I was supposed to make the trip to Armenia. But understandably, I was wrecked. I woke up on Wednesday morning, the day I was supposed to fly, with a sore throat and a headache that progressively got worse. I worked from bed that day, hoping I’d somehow perk up and be chipper and healthy. I was also supposed to fly via Moscow and have a 2 hour wait in the airport at 2–4am so I knew I literally wouldn’t sleep.
Still — I wanted to go. I was trying to convince myself that all would be magically well, so I whatsapped every single person I respect and told them the situation, hoping someone would convince me it’d be fine and I should fly. But everyone told me to trust my body and not go. I was sitting on my bed with packed bags, just waiting for someone to message me and say it’d be fine. Nobody did, but I still decided I should just tough it out and go. Just before I went to leave home I even posted a Facebook status about how I was sick but still coming on the trip, as though putting something on Facebook would force me to be more committed.
I picked up my luggage, said bye to Alex and tried to walk out of the door, then immediately collapsed from weakness, almost lost consciousness and burst out crying. So yeah — decision made for me at that point.
I was pretty devastated. I just laid face down in my pillow and had a good cry, feeling sorry for myself and upset about missing the journey, then slept for twelve hours. But even after all of that rest I woke up significantly worse the next morning and spent the next SIX DAYS in bed with the flu. I mean, proper flu. Not when people get a common head cold and call it flu (note: don’t do that peeps). Influenza. Body aches, vomiting, mucus, vomiting mucus (actually happened) — all kinds of exorcist stuff.
So even though I was worried that I would, I definitely don’t regret the choice to stay home now. I needed time to heal, and I can’t even imagine how messed up I would’ve been if I had’ve forced myself on those planes without a night’s sleep. I’m back to normal and feeling ready to tackle my next challenges: a hectic time at work with some important projects, travelling to Lisbon for Web Summit, half-moving to Atlanta, heading to Singapore for my Mum’s 60th, then properly-moving to Atlanta.
Even though I’m ridiculously stubborn, I can at least happily say I’ve learned my lesson. Health first, always! I’ll be listening to my body more closely from now on, and not expecting it to perform miracles. I need to make sure I rest, and that’s what I’m going to be doing.
This is the 20th in a series of 52 Memoirs I will be posting weekly until April 2018.
My name is Keeya-Lee. I'm American-born, Australian-raised, living in London. I work in the humanitarian innovation / tech / social impact space. You can follow me on twitter here!