A Step Too Far!!

I am at the railway station at Bad Schandau, Germany saying goodbye to Denise, Jan and Wolfgang. I’ve already said goodbye to Gabbie at home.

This will be my first solo trip on a foreign train and I am nervous. I should be excited too, but as we take happy photos together to mark the beginning of my adventure things aren’t all that they seem.
I have been wrestling with myself trying to decide whether to tell this story or not as it is rather personal and has left me feeling quite low and vulnerable. My confidence amongst other things has taken quite a beating and I feel fragile.
However, I wouldn’t be true to my blog if I didn’t!!

When I set out to create this blog its name signified my intentions to write with an ethos that expressed a transparent and authentic account of my travels. Travelling, whether it is Life’s road, or the Travellers road isn’t always easy and I had never intended to embellish my accounts into perpetual happy and perfect tales. It is my hope that by being open and true, I can demonstrate that it doesn’t take extraordinary people to take a leap out of their comfort zone in order to follow their dreams. Ordinary people just like me, with ordinary fears and anxieties can overcome hurdles and obstacles in order to follow their dreams if they choose to.
So getting back to my story; behind my happy smiles and sunglasses I am sporting a black eye and I am in terrible pain with bruises and grazes from head to foot. But in reality it is a miracle I am a walking at all and I know it!!
Two nights ago on our last evening together, Denise, Jan, Wolfgang, Gabbie and I enjoyed a happy evening, celebrating our wonderful few days together and toasting the beginning of my new adventures. We all went to bed in high spirits and I finally felt like the darker days of my recent losses were coming to an end as I looked forward with great anticipation to my adventure and my future.
I awoke in the middle of the night and got up to use the bathroom. The door of my bedroom is directly adjacent to the stairwell with the bathroom next to that. I stumbled out into the hallway, sleepy and disoriented looking for the light switch. Unable to find it and in the darkness I took one step in the wrong direction and suddenly found myself crashing down the stairs!
Fortunately Jan heard me and got up to investigate the commotion and while I lay at the bottom of the stairs dazed and shocked with only my undies on, the entire household suddenly awoke and erupted into shocked action as everyone rallied to take care of me!

I sensed that I didn’t have any critical injuries, but each time I tried to get up I was overcome with pain and I began to shiver as shock set in. It was quickly decided to call the Doctor for advise and before long an ambulance arrived, the Paramedics deciding within minutes to take me to hospital. So before I knew what was happening,  I was being lifted on to a stretcher with a head and neck brace inflating to secure my head in place!!

Now I was in a complete panic, sobbing desperately as I clung to Jan’s hand for assurance while Denise quickly dressed so she could accompany me to the hospital.

In reality the Medics were certain I hadn’t sustained any serious injuries but they wanted to X Ray my neck just to be certain and I knew this too, however as I was carried out of the house and rolled into the ambulance I felt more vulnerable and scared than I ever have done in my life.
Denise translated between the ambulance team and myself and then with the hospital team and everyone was fantastic. With usual German efficiency I was X-Rayed, seen by a Doctor, given the all clear, a couple of tablets for pain and discharged in record time.
As things sometimes transpire with what seems like more than coincidence I had been driven and determined to have everything in order for my long trip. My European Medical Card, which I’d never bothered about organising for previous short European holidays had only arrived the day before I left the UK; I’d discovered at the last minute that there was an issue with my Travel Insurance and I had spent the entire morning of my first day in Munich on the phone organising to renew it, which meant it required a 72 hour waiting period and had only come into effect that day. However, never in my wildest imagination had I thought I’d be using them so soon!
Back at Denise’s parents home I was an emotional wreck. My physical wounds would heal, but my spirit was broken and I was devastated! One careless step and I’d changed everything for all of us. It was obvious I couldn’t leave for my trip later that day as planned, which then impacted on everyone elses plans, not to mention the scare I’d given them, and it was too soon to know how I was going to cope going forward with my injuries and travelling.
However, as if that guilt wasn’t bad enough, I knew only too well that this one careless step could have changed my life for ever……or worse!!
After sleeping for a while I sat quietly in the garden nursing my wounds while Gabbie applied one of her homeopathic remedies, a St Johns Wort based oil, soothing the many emerging bruises.
Still feeling incredibly emotional, the events of the night played over and over in my head like a black and white horror movie on loop, while I considered what I should do next.

My immediate instinct was to retreat and return home to literarily lick my wounds, but what would I be returning home to? I’d been planning this trip for so long that I didn’t have a “Plan B” and returning to my empty house with nothing positive to focus on I knew would be surrendering to deep emotional despair.

I was in loving and safe hands with my German friends who constantly reassured me that I could stay as long as I wanted or needed to. But I knew deep down that I really only had one option and that was to pick myself up, brush myself down, and get on with my trip. Besides, Denise and I both agreed that getting moving and distracting myself with new experiences would make for a faster healing process.
So here I am, just over twenty four hours later, standing on a train platform smiling for the camera while my body aches and inside I am in an emotional turmoil.

(Having written this retrospectively I am happy to report that I made the right decision; my bruises are fading fast and my emotional strength is returning as I am once again starting to enjoy and embrace life on the road!) 


2 Comments on “A Step Too Far!!”

  1. Ann, You are so brave! Let me count the ways…

    You are starting a whole new life – literally stepping out into the unknown;
    You are blogging about it – telling the whole world, ‘warts and all’;
    And when things go wrong, as they invariably always do, you don’t run away and hide! No, you dust yourself off, give yourself a good talking to, and then off you set once again.

    And, if that were not enough, then you have the almighty courage to tell us about it! You go girl! We are proud of you!

    • Thank you so much Sue. I can’t pretend that it is an easy road, but I am embracing the challenge and your words of support and encouragement keep me going. Thank you again.

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