When I was 14, my GCSE drama group decided to plan a trip to Wales, to perform open air in a theatre called ‘The Willow Globe’. It was a fantastic opportunity, and the chance to camp with some of my closest friends for an entire weekend.
It was crazy to me that my first reaction was not excitement however- it was dread. At the time, I suffered fairly severe anxiety when I stayed away from home, although at that time I didn’t know that was what the panicky-chest-so-tight-I-couldn’t-breathe feeling was. I almost said no, but upon numerous accounts of persuasion from my parents, I said yes.
And it was, as the title says, one of the best weekends of my life. The campsite was nestled in the middle of the Welsh countryside, and we shared our field with numerous, curious sheep. As the minivan pulled up in the boggy, water-logged field, I felt sudden panic. What if I’d make a huge mistake by coming? What if I was going to hate it and want to go home?
We were all sent out to put up our tents- I dreaded when the evening would come, the expectation of the anxious feeling already strong in my bones. That night took a strange turn however- our tent was flooded, meaning we were forced to cram into the 20-man tent one of the other girls had bought and very kindly let us sleep in.
It was SO much fun. We all sat round in camping chairs laughing about the appalling weather, and chatting excitedly about the show the following day. One friend who knew i was worried, checked in with me regularly and i managed to actually forget how worried I had been.
We went on to have an amazing time performing. We were all ushered round the stage (a beautiful wooden creation right in the middle of the forest), and dressed hurriedly in our witches costumes (the play was Macbeth). The wind howled and the tree branches twitched and jerked as we chanted, feeling the power of magic and nature so clearly in that moment, that it really was as though the play came alive.
Although we were all severely windswept with bad colds by the end of the weekend, it was still one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.