I told my family that I would go backpacking the world two weeks before Christmas. I left them heartbroken and headed to Nice, France, where I gathered my friend, Suzy, whom I met a only a 2-3 months before during hitchhiking Europe, and we continued the adventure together. Both of us were looking for the same thing, answers to what to do with life, looking for a purpose and finding out who we really are outside of a social expectation context.
Let’s go back to the beginning …
When My Seven Worlds started in 2015, – just as a closed Facebook group – I had no idea what it would become. According to my readers’ feedback, it grew fast because I was honest about the ugly side of life too. I openly shared the bright and the dark side of self development.
I first left my comfort zone at the age of 19 when I went to Portugal for a semester at university. At the beginning the experience was terrible, I cried a lot in the first couple of weeks as I tried to accept that I am now relying on myself. But then it became a drug for self awareness. When I arrived home, I packed my belongings and left again. This time to become a flight attendant at Ryanair (European airline) in Belgium and then in Spain. Meanwhile, I paused my studies at uni in tourism. My life was suppose to be fabulous from the outside, but in Spain a feeling hit me: I did not want to serve coffee for the rest of my life, I could not identify myself with my work. So here we go again, left to the unknown one more time.
I went back to Belgium and became a personal assistant at Procter & Gamble, then I went to England to do the same thing at Oxford University, then I went to Sweden where I became a chef and the more I went on within the same limits, the more I pushed myself into misery.
I kept the honest truth about my emotional health a secret from the world. No one knew that I was suffering from insomnia, sleeping paralysis and depression for 5 years. Not all at the same time, only 2 at once, how nice of them…but why did I not reach out for help? Because I was ashamed. I could not admit it to anyone, including myself, that I’m suppose to be happy. I had the life most people were envy of with the travels, the good paying jobs, the boyfriend and material things, but I was as far as one can be from happy.
I lost my confidence completely, I was crying almost every day, I was always sick, I had no goals, and I just let life kick me around while feeling self pity, self hate, feeling lost and stuck.
I experienced depression before through my mother over many years, but I had no idea what it really meant be depressed until I was in her shoes. Imagine when you have no motivation to get out of bed, so you just don’t. You don’t clean up around you, you avoid mirrors and feel more and more stupid every day. That was my life for many months. on top the guilt was killing me that I had such an ‘amazing’ life, I should have been happy.
How many 25 year olds can say that they lived in 5 foreign countries, lived by the Spanish beach, traveled across Europe countless times, and had a lot of money on their account? Not many. Although I was completely went against social and family expectations by dropping out of university, changing workplace every year, and moving around often, I still did what they wanted me to do. Good jobs, money, home, boyfriend just with my own tools. Yet, still no fulfilment.
Most people live within their social box and not being exposed to other opportunities, ideologies and lifestyles, but in me it was always there: “what else is out there? I tried what I had in my social box and didn’t deliver on its promises…so what if there was another way?”
On day with my usual puffy blue eyes after all night crying I dared to look into the mirror and I just had enough of the self-pity. Life sucked. Life was not what I was promised. I did my part, where is my reward??!
In Sweden, a colleague of mine mentioned something about emotional attachments. He said it might be worth reading a bit of psychology so I can understand how I got here and what I can do about it. That! was the moment my entire inner journey started.
I read every single word of the attachment theory, which gave me my first understanding of how cause and effect works in my emotions. Then I quickly moved onto other topics and I consumed information like never before. For the first time I took control and started learning psychology from free stuff online. I found some free courses, I watched lots of TED talks and youtube videos and read articles on any topic that helped me understand more about how my inner world functions.
I began to understand where I went wrong, how my education and examples influenced what I became, why I was attracted a man in my life who never respected me and why I took this for – at the time – 4 years. I was digging deeper and deeper in my soul. But so many of the puzzle pieces were missing, I decided to go back to my roots. I wanted to be closer to my family and my environment so I moved back home.
Actually, everything I’ve shared with you so far is not a result of a conscious decision series. I would refer to my processes rather as intuition. But to go home, however, was the very first decision I was fully aware of, since I knew I would need support if I wanted to seriously begin to heal.
For the first 6 months it was a pain in the ass to find motivation to sit down and read, I never enjoyed learning or reading so my ego resisted as much as it could, but my heart pushed through and I kept on researching and developing. During the first few months living back home by boyfriend cheated on me again and I did something that not even in my dreams I imagined doing; I hit him. Then I hit him again. And again. I kept hitting him, finally letting all these years of surpassed anger out in a very vicious and unhealthy way, but it was surfacing. At last.
You probably think now, ‘good, finally she is leaving him’. Nope…I did not. I started distancing myself from my boyfriend but my self esteem at this point was still so badly low, that I needed one last push from life.
2015 was the threshold and the first spark of self confidence appeared in me. When my only childhood dream came true. At the age of 6 I had one and one vision only. I was dying to be on TV in my favourite international game show. A game show I grew up watching mesmerised.
One day a message came from my cousin, linking the application form. The Hungarian team has not participated in the show for many years at that point, so I didn’t think I would ever have the chance to achieve this goal. I immediately completed the application and a few months later I traveled to China with Hungarian Olympians, national champions and the most amazing sports people I’ve seen only on TV before. I was amazing? What? I was amazing. Wait a second. I was amazing!!! I AM AMAZING!! I experienced success and it tasted goooood.
During the Chinese weeks I have learned how to earn someone’s respect, to fight even when it hurts, to set up and meet my own expectations and to communicate them to others. A changed me landed in Budapest after the games. I found my A game in China and begin to do a brutal selection of stimuli that I allowed in my life. I tried to eliminate negative ones and bring in new positive stimuli. I was hungry for good feelings, adventure, and exploration. Boyfriend gone of course. Hell yeah I was on fire!
I was so thirsty for life I became a lifeaholic. What do I mean by this? Hitchhiking! As the time of departure approached, I became more and more afraid to change my mind at the last minute, so I created a Facebook page named Hitchhiking around Europe, where I invited everyone. I did this to fear-proof myself. I wanted my word to mean something so I told everyone about the plan, I’m going to hitchhike across Europe and back. So I left.
On my first day I crossed the Italian border and found no accommodation anywhere late that night, so I slept on the streets under a surveillance camera. Never in life I was so scared and angry at myself for doing this voluntarily. I kept thinking “oh great, you came to Italy to get robbed or raped, great idea Stephanie!” but the next morning I was still breathing, had all my body parts where I left them and I had my bag with me.
“Haha daaamn in your face life, I did it, I can do anything now!” I survived the first day by hitchhiked over 1000 km and sleeping on the street. Me. Alone. What?
The moment we left I arrived at Portugal, where I met Suzy, who joined me on my adventures on the way back. We traveled to Budapest together where I told her about this video I saw once, a guy hitchhiking a boat. I had no idea this was a thing, but I thought, I already covered 8000km on land, why not step up the game?
I wanted to get even more outside of my comfort zone. Especially since the first big adventure has given me strength, confidence, and trust in people, but it wasn’t enough. I needed more of the stuff. I was hooked.
At the end of 2016 the bomb exploded. I told my family that I would go backpacking in the world two weeks before Christmas. We spent the holidays at Suzy’s in Nice, then we got to the Canary Islands by hitchhiking till Madrid then catching a plane. That’s why we came here because a sailor in France said that this was one of the bases from which boats are going to the ‘new world’, that is to say, to the American continent.
Traveling in uncertainty with a friend I only just met, who was operating on a very different level didn’t come stress free. Let’s put it this way, with improved our communication like a pro, because we had no choice. Suzy was the very first person on my life who had an endless positive attitude. She just couldn’t see bad. She saw everything as opportunities to learn from, challenges that teach us and guide us, slaps in the face to help us choose a better path.
I thought I was on the ground and she was in the clouds, but little did I know, I was also on my way to the clouds. I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s get back to the boat. In less than 48 hours we found a catamaran with a Russian crew who agreed to our company. Anchor up, sail up and head to the Atlantic Ocean.
The total silence of 15 days triggered tremendous changes emotionally. I struggled with the lack of space, with the closeness to everyone, with the lack of privacy, lack of other humans, life forms, colours I took for granted…etc. Not only mentally, but physically, it was very exhausting. To feel motion sickness every day and to fear the sunset, because that’s when my sickness always came.
When I saw the land again, it was like being born again. We landed on the island of St. Martin, but from here I got to the British Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic, where Suzy and I were finally waving goodbye to the crew.
From here we flew to Honduras, where the Central American hitchhiking begun. Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama was ticked off as well. During my 3 months in these countries, I saw how it is when people are not expecting material well-being to bring happiness, when it’s not their life goal to have more and more stuff, when they share the little things they have and don’t feel jealousy towards those who have a little more. I saw them inviting me and accepting me despite my clear difference to them, when they approach me with a childlike curiosity, trust and love and not with fear.
Suzy became an example I started to follow, because she never told me how to live, she just lived her life in balance with herself and the environment and I watched how graceful she was. I started asking questions and she helped me find my ways. Suzy and I kept talking about very deep topics like forgiveness, unconditional love, emotional challenges and I grew out of my shell incredibly fast because of this experience.
Arriving to Colombia we departed ways and after 4 months traveling with Suzy, I bagged another chapter: traveling alone in the world and within. I always thought I needed to Suzy to get me started, but I had to complete my journey on my own. But let me be clear, I was never alone. I met the right people, the right friends at the right place and time. All of my closest friends I met on this trip, those who provided rock solid support when I had questions and I needed to reflect.
Facing my fears – night diving with wild crocodiles I have faced long years of phobias and fears, such as open water. If you never feared water, you might not grasp the difficulty of this, but think about whatever you fear the most in life. Imagine looking into that demons eyes. That was open water for me, until someone in Colombia told me that I’m a hypocrite. Wow. That was painful, but let’s see why they think I am a hypocrite. The answer was, buy the time I was at the point on the trip, I was already picked up by the media in Hungary and I was giving live interviews left and right talking about my adventures and facing fears. I yet, I didn’t dare to go into the sea.
So yes, I didn’t realise, but I was a hypocrite. And that had to end, because my credibility was on the line and I just had to know what I was so afraid of. It was the unknown that frightened me so I paid for my scuba diving course and took my first breath under water. Daaaamn it was love at first breath. Once I got to know and understand what was under me, I got to love it and care for it. Since then I have been in the cave, sharks and crocodiles.
After 1 year of adventuring, I really did found balance, happiness and inner peace in Mexico. This is where I first found myself loudly singing on the streets on my bike, dancing in the shop while shopping and hugging new acquaintances to the point of drowning. I was so, indubitably, indefinitely happy. I loved every minute of the day, every rhythm of music, every taste of every food. I never felt so well in my skin.
As a matter of fact, I didn’t know this level of gratitude and joy was even possible. All my readers followed and supported my weak moments, they kept me going when I struggled with homesickness, with loneliness, with saying goodbyes to people before I was ready to say goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, my adventure was freaking amazing and loved every second of it, but it was the hardest thing I ever went through including depression.
The blog became my family. I kept writing about my truth, no pretending, no censoring, no beating around the bushes, just pure honesty. My readers relating to my struggles and because I also talked about my solutions, they also kept developing with me. Then one after another message came from them asking for help. They wanted to find their ways, they wanted to love themselves as much as I learned to love me. They needed answers so I began coaching without any experience with it, any education or knowing what I was doing. All I knew that they trusted me, needed me and I wanted to help them badly.
This went on for months until one of them actually accomplished her dreams and she said if it wasn’t for me, she never would have summoned the courage to stop existing and start living. I was full of tears of joy. It was clearer than the morning sun; this is my purpose. This is my path. This is what I was born to do. My heart accelerates as I write these words, when I was wiring my about page. It’s crazy you know to travel back in my memories and try telling you where I come from. But I hope you are still with me in the story because we are taking a plunge now in passion.
So back to my readers. I kept coaching until someone asked me, why don’t I become officially a coach. That’s how I got involved in this profession. This burning passion in me started as my own journey and it escalated into being part of many other people’s journey. What a privilege to love what I do and watch people step outside of their shadows to move onto doing great things.
My goal always was and still is to train people to become their own coaches. Why depend on someone else’s help for a life when you are the only person who is always, every minute in every situation is there with you.
My life today is about participating in development courses, learning new techniques, working on myself, testing any technique I come across and fine tune them if I feel they could be more effective. As much as I do this for myself, because I love becoming a more complete and balance person every day, but also to provide more effective help to others. I’m not pretending to be on top of my game every day, how could I. I’m a person too with my own struggles and challenges, but that’s why the blog kept its essence and people come to me for help, because I’m not trying to sell you happiness, success and love. I’m only offering a voice that can help you find your own ways and answers. Because you are the one who is doing the work. It is up to you what you make out of working with me. If you have a brining desire to improve yourself, I’m offering my help.
Let me just say one more thing. I do this for selfish reasons. I saw how my clients went onto giving back to the world after start loving themselves. Once you are not focused on your problems and difficulties because you are balanced and fulfilled, you will – I guarantee – feel the need to help others. Just like I did. Because I knew what it meant for me to come back from the dead, and I’m dying to make people feel the way I feel. When you get there, you will be dying to help as well and that’s my number one goal. We all need each other to do something greater than ourselves and thought you, I can give more back. That’s why I want to help you. That’s why I want you to find your answers, purpose and love so you can go onto to do greater things than yourself.