Coming to America

I wrote this post in April. It was about my two day weekend in Vienna and how I was finally overcoming some health-related and anxiety-ridden barriers, and looking forward to exploring the world.

Unfortunately, on the day that I was due to fly, Eyjafjallajokull blew.

Vienna was meant to be a trial run.

In four days time, I’m leaving Europe and heading to the Big Apple.

This time I’m going it alone – and it is excitement that I am feeling, rather than fear.

Before I got ill, I was desperate to go to America. It was, I believed, the place where I should have been born. Heavily influenced by American teenage fiction and not quite able to appreciate what I now love about England, I was convinced that my English birth was a horrible mistake, and one day I’d pack my bags and live out the American High School Dream.

Before I grew up and realised that my view of America might be a little naive, I got ill and I stopped dreaming. I forgot about the idea of overseas adventures or the tug from across the Atlantic; and, when I remembered, the distance felt insurmountable and I just felt far too scared.

Earlier this year, I began to hear whispers about the NEDA conference on Twitter. It’s taking place in New York this coming weekend. Because speaking out and about eating disorders has become so important to me, the idea of the conference leapt over my rehearsed objections, and my heart jumped before my head had time to protest. For the first time, when it came to travelling, my desire to go exceeded my fear.

And so, I’m jetting off on Thursday, providing no volcanoes decide to erupt.

I have niggling worries about loneliness (for 6 days, it will just be me), and teeth (given my history, I like to know my dentist is near), and how I’ll manage the food – and the taxi system – and the metro – and finding my way from Newark to Brooklyn when I keep getting lost in London….

But the balance is tipping in the excitement’s favour, and I imagine that some of these apprehensions are shared.

This would have been inconceivable six months ago.

Whatever happens when I reach America, I’ve already learnt that sometimes, fear can be overridden by something that feels more important –

And that I have finally developed enough confidence in myself to believe that, despite the challenges, I’ll manage okay.

I’ll write an electronic postcard – and would love any suggestions or tips that I can take on my way. :)

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3 Responses to “Coming to America”

  1. Mary says:

    Eeee! I’m so excited for you and wish like hell that I’d be in NY to greet you.

    Not sure I have much advice, really, just wanted to cheer and bounce with you over this progress. Oh! Actually, I can share the advice a friend gave me several years back when I was also about to take a trip to NY and was completely petrified to do so. She told me to “be who I’d be if I weren’t afraid” — which is a lot of what I see you doing here. <3!

  2. James says:

    Really, really exciting! :D

    Ultimately, just enjoy it and appreciate the moment and the place. This is special anyway – your childhood dreams and the fact that you wouldn’t have been able to experience it not so long ago just make it extra special.

    You will manage just fine. Go and have the time of your life! :D

  3. Evan says:


    One piece of advice: find out how tipping works. I’ve only been out of Australia once (where tipping isn’t common) and I didn’t know about it. It can be quite confusing – and costly.