On the weekend beginning the 17th of October, I flew to Budapest with my best friend for three nights.
This was a HUGE deal.
Around 5 years ago, I had not only never been abroad (Ireland doesn't count), but lived in fear of doing such a thing. I lived in fear of leaving my house without the assistance of my parents and/or Nathan. Five years and three wonderful holidays/breaks later and it's fair to say I've fallen in love with exploration, with other cultures, with hopping on and off planes (no matter how stressful they can be!) and with seeing a part of the world which isn't Walthamstow Central station or the River Thames (as wonderful as they both can and cannot be at times)
I'd been away with friends before, sure, but this was before I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This was before I became depressed and before I had to start at square one again.
So Budapest was our city of choice, having heard lots of lovely things from a friend who is too from Budapest. We went to the top of St Stephens Basilica, visited Castle Hill and Fishermans Bastion, visited one of the best ruin bars in the city (Szimpla Kert, if you're wondering!), and got to eat at a beautiful Hungarian family pop-up restaurant. We sampled lots of traditional Hungarian dishes, visited the most gorgeous thermal baths (the one we went to was called the Széchenyi thermal baths - the largest medicinal bath in Europe!) and experienced a night cruise down the Danube river.
Influx of photos from my trip to follow now!
It was scary, but it was an experience I'd relive again and again in a host of different countries. I've officially caught the travelling bug and I just want to go everywhere. Money can buy you trips like these, sure, but once you're there, you absorb just how priceless your senses are. How priceless it is to be able to explore new sights, sounds, smells. How joyeous it is to hear multitudes of other beautiful languages being spoken around you. How privileged I am to be able to visit one of the third best bars in the world, or to bathe in one of the best thermal spas in Europe. There is so much in my life that I need to explore and yet these things tend to lie well outside of my comfort zone.
My future aims are to extinguish my comfort zone - how much fun can life be without one? Very much so, as I have found.
Farewell Budapest, you were wonderful.