Travel Saved My Life

“Back in the summer of 2018, I was seriously underwhelmed with my life. All odds in achieving something better seemed stacked against me and any effort in trying to change it felt utterly hopeless. Even filling up my world with exciting events didn’t soothe the ache in my heart. But something inside me found strength. Hope was reinstated and a measure of happiness restored. An epiphany was realised: Sometimes we need to embrace the darkness, in order to finally see the light. And no matter how frustrated it makes us, it’s vital to remember that no dream is worth giving up on.”

The Beginning of My Story was Found at the End

“Tangled up inside a book lay a scrappy piece of paper. On the surface, it looked meaningless – nothing more than a little tatty note from a yesterday in 2018. Until I look at it properly, and I smile.”

At the beginning of the year, I was on a high. My hopes were soaring for a bright future in writing and my main focus was on releasing my first book, Picture-Perfect. Nothing could bring me down – I was on top of the world! Finally, a dream I’d held onto for so long was about to come to life! So, you can imagine how I felt when it all went to sh…pear-shaped, can’t you?

Not to dwell on the obvious, but I’m no J.K. Rowling. Maybe I should’ve written about wizards instead because my book certainly hasn’t flown off the shelves at the summoning of Wingardium Leviosa. Nevertheless, even Rowling herself struggled in the same way I have at the beginning of her career. No one recognised her talents or powerful storytelling, and she was constantly rebuffed by all those who could’ve propelled her to success. She, too, hit rock-bottom. After such tireless creative work absorbing her time, it really is no surprise that repeated rejection got to her heart. It takes a lot to put yourself out there, and sure, some of what we write is probably a load of rubbish, but not all of it; certainly not anything from Rowling. We only have to look at the global phenomenon that is the Harry Potter franchise to realise that. Deserved success came to her eventually though, and I live in hope that one day I’ll know what that feels like.

Fast forward a few months – past the stage of impatiently waiting for life to move when I kicked it into action and agitation for the fact that it was acting as stationary as a cat that refused to move off my favourite spot on the couch – things did get better. With no other option than to draw my focus back to an achievable reality, I sat back, took some time, and remembered the things that made me happy. Upon realisation of what those things were, I took the plunge to pursue them. From nerding-out at comic conventions in London and rocking at music festivals in Derby, to taking a triumphant bite out of the Big Apple and climbing Italy’s cloud-skimming stratovolcano, Mount Vesuvius, I fully embraced all the joys that I’d long denied myself. And it has to be said, staring at the miniature scenery from a great height certainly gives you perspective on the bigger picture. Perhaps, some might say, I’ve been a little careless. Stupid, even. After all, these things aren’t cheap, and my credit cards have certainly taken a good whacking. Being nearly 27, I’m sure most would think it more sensible to invest in bricks and mortar than to flounce off abroad and chuck money at films and music. But still, I don’t regret it.

Maybe writing this is a little previous, the year’s not over yet and I’m already trying to sum it up with some kind of profound conclusion. But, whilst the emotion is fresh in my mind, I guess it’s worth jotting down. Peace, to me, was found only when I gave myself a purpose. And when my heart felt broken, travel stitched it back together. Sitting in one place never moved anyone’s heart or soul. So if by losing a figure in my bank balance ultimately gained me a fortune of memories, then I think it’s a fair price to pay. Plus, when it comes to having a perfect home and a family to call my own, it’s something I haven’t yet discovered. Singledom is something I’ve become rather acquainted with, and after nearly 3 years of it, that notion doesn’t really come as much of a surprise.

With this in mind, it reaffirms to me the fact that all of us have a dream. And whenever I meet someone, I ask them what theirs is: “What makes you happy? Where would you want to be in 5 years’ time?” More often than not, I hear people tell me the same thing – they want a family, a house and a job; no frills or fancies, just those things, in whatever shape or form they come in. And although I know we all want that to a degree (because let’s face it, our basic instinct is to procreate) the way in which we wish to obtain it varies ubiquitously. Such as mine. For a long time, I knew that I wasn’t the same as other people. I looked at the world with such intricate lenses that I started to wonder if my eyes were broken. Was I seeing a place that could never exist for me? It upset me to witness such detail on a canvas that no one else could share. To have no one around you who sees the same picture is very weighing on the heart.  You come to the conclusion that either: Everyone around you is blind, or that maybe, you’re just a little…odd? For so many years, I’ve wanted to unsee those things – to be like other people who are happy with simpler dynamics.  But I can’t. I don’t want that life. And trying to fight that feeling is useless; denying your identity is a flawed decision. We all know that erasing what we are just simply isn’t possible. It is our truth, and we must listen to it.

Which brings me to 2018’s curtain call months. Searching for a new job broke me. Each fruitless effort dragged me further and further down, until, once again, I fell into sadness. A churning thought rumbled around relentlessly in my mind, ‘Why is it that what I want feels so unachievable, and yet, I can’t even be allowed to do the smallest of things I’m capable of?’ To put it simply, not one bugger would hire me. Nothing I applied for came to fruition. Not even jobs I’d done before, or lesser jobs that I could do standing on my head! (Apologies if this sounds pretentious, but what is the point in forking out thousands of pounds to spend years in education, acquiring a plethora of top-level qualifications and proving yourself worthy in your careers that follow, if you’re told that you’re too inexperienced to even sell a poxy box of mascara in a department store?!) Honestly, I’d all but given up. But, you know what they say, “When you hit rock bottom, what have you got left to lose?” Down as I was, I wanted nothing more than to stick it to the man. To rebelliously shove my two-fingered salute in their face and say, “F**k it.” However, with things feeling unclear and my mind cluttered with emotional trash, I decided to put pen to paper and weigh up my options. Maybe then I’d know what I needed to do.

A Choice of 3:

1) Find a full-time job. Forget writing. Know I’ll hate it. Live each day on repeat. (As much as I toyed with the option, a choking thump pounding in my chest stopped me. I didn’t have to give up dreaming yet.) No, my finances are dwindling, but I still have enough, and whilst time is on my side, I’ll make the most of it. Plus, no one is hiring me anyway. 

2) Find a seasonal job and work part-time so I can still write. This seemed logical and I felt settled in the idea. (As long as I had the ability to express my creative drive too, then I’d be okay.) Plus, things aren’t easy at home, so it’d be nice to have somewhere else to be. The same dilemma occurred though – no one would hire me.

And that’s where option 3 came in: Give up worrying about things you can’t change, embrace the pain and do what you want whilst you still can. Go places you dream of, see things you yearn for and remember who Sacha is. But, hadn’t I already been here before? Wasn’t this just delaying the inevitable? Possibly.

It was thinking about cabin fever until Christmas that finally cemented my decision. There was no price too high to pay in a mission to save my mental state. I realised that the only thing I could control is what I do with the here and now. So, I did it. After much deliberation, compiling lists and scanning endless flights until my head hurt, I finally decided where I wanted to go. And if I was going to do this, I was going to do this in the biggest blaze of glory. It was going to be the penultimate trip – a real dive into the deep end. Going to Europe would be too easy and flying to the States presented little challenge. No, my heart yearned for something larger, brighter, somewhere I’d never been but had been too scared to go alone. However, waiting for a mystical someone to make this easy was never going to happen. So I had no choice. I pulled out my card, punched in the digits and pressed confirm. And that, my friends, is when November 19th happened.

Resentment for a life I once knew walked the streets below me. Painful memories left to tread in directions with no destination. No more could they hurt me. I was too far away. It’s funny how small everything becomes when you’re 36,000ft in the air. A decision I’d made in the midst of heartache stole me away from pain. For once, I felt free. Not often does that feeling come through, but there’s something truly liberating when you finally throw caution to the wind. After dreaming of this place for so long, I was now on my way to make it a reality. In just a few short hours, I’d be landing in Haneda Airport – Tokyo, Japan, and I couldn’t wait for my adventure to begin…

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Every event in my life has forced me to make a choice: To learn a little bit more about myself, to heal and to grow, until finally, I knew who I was and what I wanted. And out of every negative situation, a positive choice was made. People often wish they could hit rewind and never go through the pain they experienced in the past, but you wouldn’t be who you are today without it. A perfect life teaches you nothing. Compassion can only be learnt through grief and knowledge gained through understanding. For all the times I have teetered on the edge, wondering if it’s worth all the agitation, I’m glad I had the chance to step back and take a good look around me. I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to live. I just needed to know how to do that.

By investing in myself and immersing in life’s agonies, I learned a lot about who I am and the world around me. I could see the importance of things, realise the value in each day and truly cherish beauty when it came my way. So, this is my thank you to the pain. Thank you to everyone who broke my heart. To the ones who bullied me as a child. To the teachers who made my life hell. To the cold-hearted few who ghosted me or tried to whittle me down. You failed. Know I nearly called it quits; nearly gave up trying, but I have more strength than you gave me credit for. All of you made me realise that happiness is my own and that I didn’t need anyone or anything else to achieve that. Through your unfeeling actions, you taught me to see things more clearly. What and who was right and wrong for me was no longer painstakingly weighed up. Despite what you did, empathy was something I never lost, but I certainly know how to use it better now.

Today, I stand before you as Sacha Kurucz: A young woman who loves to write inspirational stories because of crazy life events that have changed my way of thinking and because – despite what other people may tell you – everyone deserves to believe in their dream, a lady who loves metal gigs and matcha tea in equal measure, someone who’ll never be caught dead wearing floral dresses and will still be wearing winged eyeliner until the wrinkles around my peepers make it impossible to obtain the perfect flick, and finally, a person who’ll tell you that growing up doesn’t mean abandoning your youth. Happiness is achieved through accepting life’s hardships and working with them, not against them. Whether that be through creative endeavours, exploring the great outdoors or learning something new, all passions should be viewed as a step closer to attaining your ultimate purpose, and being true to yourself and others will help aid that. So grasp them and nurture them, and then one day, you’ll understand what it was all for.

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Arigatou Gozaimasu, Japan. I may not have completed every task on my list, but I discovered something far more important: Where my heart is happiest ♥


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