Wow, it feels good to be on home soil
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire is home to me, and I arrived yesterday.
I won't lie
I was terrified while travelling back from Palermo. Every environment seemed like a potential new threat, whether it was Palermo airport, Heathrow bus station, the toilets in Rome or Boots the chemist. I damaged my hands overusing Cuticura anti-bacterial hand gel. I used it so often that my fingers started to crack and bleed, and if you can imagine what it's like putting even more gel over that? Well, let's not go there.
But I'm back
I made it, I'm here in my mum's attic self-isolating, I am so thankful for that. I won't bore you with the details of the journey home - you can watch the video here if you'd like to know more.
Sicily is poor
I made the decision to come home from Sicily when smatterings of social unrest started to become apparent. Sicily is an impoverished region and has over 3 million 'casual' workers. Those who have insecure jobs and may even do different things day to day, such as help out at market stalls or cleaning. They're out of work and aren't entitled to unemployment benefit, which means families can't afford to eat.
My first thoughts when I hear news like that are: Where are these families? I'll go and find them and give them some food or money. This is naive. How this presents in real life is the supermarkets being looted and the army having to guard the shops.
Additionally, the main shipping fleet that services the island delivering food and supplies also went bankrupt and stopped delivering goods.
While Sicily remains mostly unaffected by the virus, there's speculation that it could infiltrate the island as it has the rest of the world. As it's the more impoverished region, it doesn't have the medical facilities to be able to cope.
No crystal ball...
I can't see into the future, and so after taking all of this into consideration, I felt that I couldn't certainly guarantee my safety further down the line. I knew I needed to try and get home while I still could. It seemed like the most responsible and reasonable thing to do.
When I arrived back in the UK, I felt relieved. I think I'd been lying about how I was doing, not wanting to admit how on edge I was really feeling, even to myself.
So what now?
I'm sat in bed writing, drinking a large cup of Earl Grey with Oatly (have you tried oat milk in tea?) and feeling so incredibly thankful for my job, my family and my health.
I'm going to spend the next few months creating content for you about what I know best:
How we can look after ourselves with simple self-care practices.
I've spent nearly the last decade investigating mental health and women's experiences. I spent many years living with depression, addiction and low self-esteem, and I needed to free myself from these crippling and disempowering experiences. I wanted to create a new life that was meaningful and rich, and over time, I managed to.
I can share my extensive knowledge alongside creating tools and resources that we can all use to help us get through this incredibly difficult and challenging time.
I send an email out every Sunday. To receive honest, stimulating and absorbing stories to help us try and make sense of our world please sign up.
I talk about Being a Woman, Mental Health, & Female Solo Travel.
Hannah Anstee is a former British Wellness Journalist turned Women’s Midlife & Wellbeing Coach.
You may know her from her work as Beauty Editor at YOGA Magazine or her contributions to The Independent or Psychologies Magazine.
Hannah uses a kind and candid approach to help women rewrite their stories.