Thank you so much for chatting with us today! Could you tell us a little about your story and what you do, for anyone who doesn’t know you yet?
My name is Desiree Thomas. I was born and raised in Canada but my background is Jamaican/Chinese. I am an internationally published photographer, marketer, and brand strategist. Some of my work has been seen on Vogue Italia, Schon Magazine, Chloe Magazine, and more. I am also the founder of “A Desired Journey”, an inspirational designation for millennial female entrepreneurs with a bout of wanderlust.
We know you’re here to talk about mental health but we want to ask you, how are you right now, really?
Right now I’m in an interesting place. The last couple of months have been the most transformational, both physically and mentally. With most of Canada still closed, most time is spent with my family and most importantly myself. I think the biggest thing our generation fears is being left alone with our thoughts because we are then forced to face the reality of our lives, but the best thing about the pandemic is a lot of us had to do just that because we were left with no other choice.
Through my thought process I found my strengths and weaknesses, I challenged myself in ways I never thought was possible and I also broke in ways I’ve never seen myself break before. Through this process, I also sought a therapist, went back to school learned who my true circle was, learned to never take things like travelling for granted and started falling in love with me. So that’s where I am right now.
What are some things that have impacted your mental health both good and bad?
I think just navigating life and wanting to be successful while meeting certain societal standards has impacted my mental health both good and bad without even really realizing. As I get older I find myself pressing the reset button on a lot of things I once thought was the “right” way, and now relearning it my way.
What piece of advice would you give for those who are seeking to heal themselves? And any resources you recommend?
Do not be afraid to be transparent and to admit you are not okay. Seeking help and guidance does not make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. The most powerful thing any individual can do is acknowledge their emotions, acknowledge something is wrong and address it head-on.
I read a lot of self-help/personal growth books. My all-time favourite is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelo, followed by, Think & Grow Rich, The Secret and As A Man Thinketh. These four books have helped me tremendously, each in their own way. I also listen to a lot of positive/valuable podcasts and use an online platform called Talkspace for therapy.
Piece of advice to give to travelers who experience a lot of anxiety when traveling?
One of the best ways to find yourself is through travel. Figure out what is making you anxious about travelling, seek support from your friends and don’t be afraid of what’s on the other side. Travelling is a beautiful thing. It allows you to experience worlds outside your postal code, meet new people, try new things and just see how much the world truly has to offer. Being anxious is okay, especially when entering the unknown and taking new risks. Just don’t let it stop you from going because that may be the journey you need to take.
What are some states or countries that have been kind to you?
Barcelona, Thailand and Atlanta were very kind to me and made me feel at home. In each of these places, I found a part of me. It was as though I had been there before and I was returning. There was no fear, or anxiousness, just peace, excitement and a feeling you’d have to experience to understand.
What are some states or countries that haven’t been so kind?
Some countries that have not been so kind, unintentionally, would have to be Morocco and China. When I travelled to Morocco, the community thought I was Moroccan and yelled at me for most of the time I spent outside because they thought I was trying to disrespect the culture by not covering my face. In China, walking on the streets was like being in a zoo. I had never had my photo taken by so many strangers; and not because I was famous but because I was black. Though both experiences were unpleasant, the unknown, the cultural differences and being seen in such a different light from what you are used to when you are home is what makes travelling so interesting.
Tell us what you’re up to next and where we can find you
I’m currently working on the relaunch of my blog A Desired Journey. I took a bit of a break in order to reset and realign my goals to ensure my journey and experience were being translated with meaning and not just seen as another form of noise. I am also working on a few new projects and creating often so follow the journey at @adesiredjourney on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and come say hello at www.desireethomas.ca