Emma and Pete married in secret. Sadly, their marriage did not work out and Emma felt the only way to mend her broken heart was to turn off her phone and head off into the sunset for some rest and recuperation. Sounds like a very sensible idea to me! Emma spent four months on the road, giving herself time to heal and prepare for the next chapter in her life. She’s now back to happy and fabulous and planning her next adventure.
‘I decided to go missing’
Emma had had enough. What she needed was a break – from family, friends, technology, life.
Two years ago, I had it all.
I had worked my way up the career ladder at Ikea and was earning a great wage. I lived in my hometown, had a great group of mates and loved going out, shopping, living the dream.
Then, I met Peter, 35, and we fell madly in love – he proposed the night we met and we married just four months later.
It all seemed to make perfect sense – I packed in my job at Ikea and moved half way across the country to live with him, getting a new job at Habitat. I’d never lived anywhere but my hometown before and never worked anywhere but Ikea, so it was all a big change. As quickly as life had changed for the better, it changed for the worse. Habitat went into administration and I was made redundant. Peter and I realised we didn’t have anything in common and things couldn’t work between us.
I felt so lost. I didn’t want to stay in Peter’s town – there were too many memories. Plus, I had no where to live and no job. So I decided to go home. I wanted to be with my mum, with familiarity, so I could quietly lick my wounds and cry a lot. But moving home was not the answer. I felt like I’d achieved nothing by leaving home in the first place. Mum and I weren’t getting on, I felt frustrated and lonely.
It was at that point that the lowness starts getting lower. Home wasn’t as comforting as I wanted it to be. I sat and I cried and cried and I wanted to do anything and everything to get out of the mindest I was in. I needed out. I needed away – with no one and nothing. Breathing space, head space, new space… any space but this. I told everyone that I was going to go and roam, I didn’t know where or for how long. I didn’t know anything.
Obviously there were a million questions. ‘Where are you going? When are you coming back? What are you going to do?’ friends and family begged.
‘I don’t know,’ was my only answer.
My friends although worried fully understood, my mum thought I was being selfish for the people who were trying to help me feel better but I knew it was what I needed. And so the following morning I set off, with no idea where I was going.
I left my friends and family in tears as they let me go knowing nothing about my future. There was an element of selfishness in it but I was beyond desperate to feel anything other than sadness and feeling trapped.
It was a lovely sunny day and I drove for nine hours until I ended up in Dover. For three nights I debated leaving the country. I decided to cut all contact. I turned off my phone – and as a self confessed Facebook addict, it felt liberating. I spent five months travelling along the south coast on the coastal path, becoming very familiar with laundrettes and beaches. I didn’t speak to anyone, except the occasional email to tell my mum I was still alive.
I am back home now, lighter and relieved that I went walkabout because it was what I needed in order to take stock of the unexpected path my life took. I know I hurt people’s feelings, cutting them off. I didn’t mean to, I just had to do what I had to do.