"Funny thing", this thing known as "independence" - a particular attribute I have been striving for, since surviving Stroke in October 2010 (and by that of course I mean "independence", not striving to be "Funny" lol). And when I mention "independence", it just simply means the ability to navigate places by yourself, without the need of help from another person. Note that I had spent over a year going to wherever, always with a chaperone (most times it had been my Father), where there was an intangible fear that I would fall, or be lost to my Stroke-relapse and no one would be the wiser to know what to do.
This is mostly a mental challenge, I admit. But a challenge it had been for a long while that I could not conquer, until only recently.
I have since surmised that whatever "independence" i have been conquering this far, were easier when it is with places and spaces I am familiar with, in the first place. It is the familiarity with retracing the steps I have had taken in the past, that builds up my own confidence and ability to cope with the now, and perhaps even future, or so I surmise.
Besides visiting my dad in SGH earlier on, the other places I have physically gone to by myself, were places I had visited in my "healthier days", like the Sunday flea market in China Square Central, the neighborhood Loyang Point mall, or even the post office at White Sands mall in Pasir Ris, and hell even the bus depot was somewhere I'd gone to numerous times in the past. Now navigating them, is not too much of a mental challenge, as I remember them and where things were, where the turns are to reach somewhere, somewhen.
Now that compared to going to Thailand, was a breeze. Navigating Bangkok, I realized I was able to get by, because I blocked all the fear and inhibitions, and just "walked on" - one of my current mottos in life is; "Move Forward. Always Move Forward". And that was what I did - literally moved forward, and on hindsight, perhaps I was not as I was 100% mentally when I was with folks, because I was spending a decent amount of energy blocking out my fear. And I will be the first one to say, hell yeah I was fearful to be independent and alone in a foreign land! The scenery was different, the geography was daunting, grappling with my own ability (or lack thereof) to catchup and be in the group, it was simpler for me to get along by myself, or with lesser folks in a group.
The meeting of 'old friends' did more good to me mentally, than anyone would ever imagined. Remember "familiarity"? If I am a stranger to the space, then let the faces of familiar friends calm thy temperament, I insist. My sincere thanks to a friend Thanya, for without her, it would have been an extremely harder task to "accept" Bangkok.
I realize these mental obstacles might well be foreign to most healthy, abled folks, but perhaps if you are dealing with Stroke-survivors, having the ability or even opportunity to interact with people and places from the past, may well help integrate them into the state they are currently in, if not help build confidence in their own ability to be "independent". And once that is achieved, then consider going off to places previously not been before, to be able to fully appreciate and enjoy their experiences, and not be fearful of themselves, in the first place. And being integrated into the community was just be as fulfilling, and not just the sense to need to "survive".
Hope I wish I could have enjoyed myself more in Bangkok, than I was masked with fear and trepidation, but the time has come and gone, and all we/i can do now is "Move Forward" :)