Traveling through Europe was exhilarating, eye-opening and sometimes had unexpected challenges wrought throughout. My adventure across Europe was not just a vacation but a journey through some personal milestones and mental hurdles, interwoven with beautiful scenery and a lot of fun.

The journey began in Paris, a city synonymous with romance and artistry. For me, it marked a significant milestone as it was my first time overseas independently, accompanied by my best friend. We had to navigate the metro, which is not the easiest of tasks, especially with the language barrier. But it was all worth it once I saw the Eiffel tower for the first time and was able to roam the streets of the city I had been dreaming of since I was a little kid. The experience in Paris encapsulated a pivotal moment in my personal growth journey. It illuminated the intertwined facets of independence and mental health - navigating new experiences while managing anxieties and uncertainties. Embracing independence meant not only exploring new cities but also confronting self-doubt and cultivating inner resilience.

On our second last night in Paris, we were met with an unexpected twist when our flight to Rome got cancelled and we ended up having to embark on a grueling 20-hour bus journey from Paris to Rome, testing our flexibility and patience. This unexpected twist taught me the value of adaptability and staying calm under pressure, crucial skills for both travel and life.

Now onto Italy…. We ventured to Sicily and encountered further challenges when we had to switch hotels unexpectedly due to some unforeseen circumstances, which strained our budget and definitely tested our resourcefulness. However, once we settled in our new accommodation by the ocean, the experience transformed into joy and relaxation. The beauty of the sea and the freedom of exploring a new culture revitalized our spirits. On our final day, we ventured out on a boat, diving deep into the freezing waters - a symbolic dive into the depths of newfound independence and resilience.

After Sicily, my friend departed back home and I continued with my parents on a cruise across Greece, with a memorable stop in Turkey. The cruise offered breathtaking views of ancient ruins and vibrant towns, enriching our understanding of Mediterranean history and culture. Amidst the beauty however, I often found myself grappling with self-confidence issues exacerbated by comparison - a common challenge during vacation and in daily life. I would have moments of extreme fixation on what I looked like, especially about my struggles with acne. Confidence and insecurities affect everyone differently and at separate levels of intensity. My biggest tool in helping myself was to remind myself that insecurities and self-doubts are normal, and they only hold as much power as you give them - which is often easier said than done. My favourite quote of all time is the AA prayer “Grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” We can only control ourselves and our actions, not anybody else’s, and the wisest thing you can do is recognize and practice living into this reality. Once you start remembering that you only control you, others’ thoughts and opinions of you begin to hold much less power. This goes with anxiety as well - many times in life we want to control how others perceive us and how others treat us. But the reality is that we cannot, all you can do is be yourself, control your actions and the rest will follow suit. At the end of the day, we truly can be our own worst critic and learning to quiet this voice is a worthy pursuit.

Traveling through Europe provided not only unforgettable experiences but also valuable lessons in resilience, independence, and mental well-being. Each destination offered its own blend of challenges and rewards, contributing to personal growth and a deeper understanding of myself. As I continue to reflect on these experiences, I carry forward a newfound appreciation for the intersections of travel, psychology, and personal development - a journey that will continue long after the trip itself.

Madison is a Psychology Assistant; Digital Marketing Assistant at Eckert Centre. She's currently deepening her understanding of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Madison brings her passion for mental health to our community through her writing. As our blogger in residence, her contributions offer a fresh perspective and shed light on the importance of mental wellbeing. We are grateful for her eloquent words and the insights she shares on her journey towards cultivating a "Wise Self." For more insights, information, or to book an appointment, please visit or reach out to our team at

Madison Stevenson

Madison Stevenson

Digital Marketing & Psychological Assistant

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