Traveling is something most people love to do. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy for everyone.
In the first traveling with a handicap: yes you can! post, five brave women shared their experiences about traveling with (someone who has) a handicap/disease/restriction/whatever you would call it. Many people have read it and we got a lot of positive response. That’s why in this post, a few other, brave women share their story to encourage others. Still, they all have in common that they just go, they follow their dreams and aren’t afraid to dream even bigger!
Andrea Goldstein, of The Fearless Flashpacker, served in the military for seven years, which had consequences for her body.. She explains how traveling helps her!
After a gruesome year of treatment I was determined to get back to my travels. I now have to do things slightly different. I am registered disabled due to side effects from medication and chemotherapy but because I now look better people think it’s over and I’m back to normal but I’m not.
Now i plan my travel with rest breaks as I suffer from fatigue, take more comfortable travel arrangements I have recently discovered cruising and it’s now my passion. I’m still getting to see the places I want but someone else worries about getting us there it’s a stress free way to travel.Even though the diagnosis was scary I have become such a stronger person. I now live today as though it’s my last and do what I can instead of putting things off until another day
Keri, co-editor of Ladies what travel, tells about how she copes with her invisible, autoimmune disease. Although her travels involve a lot of planning, it doesn’t stop her from seeing the world. This part below is a shortened version of the original post Keri wrote on her site.
For almost half my life I’ve been living with post-thrombotic syndrome after having an extensive blood clot in the deep veins of my waist and legs when I was 22-years-old.
Caused by an autoimmune disease called APS, my body will never fully recover, yet outwardly I look normal. I no longer use a wheelchair, and try when possible not to rely on my walking stick, but even so most of the time I suffer from fatigue, my legs are painful and swollen and my back will hurt.
Travelling with an invisible illness isn’t always easy, but with research and planning I’ve learnt (almost) anything is possible.
I have to check how flat or hilly a destination is, what the public transport is like and book suitable accommodation that has amenities like lifts and baths.
I need to find out how far apart attractions are, how easy they are to get to, how much walking is involved in the activity and I’m always clued up on where all the nice cafes are before we arrive, as I use these as rest points whenever I’m walking between destinations.
The flights themselves are the things I dread most because I get sore, swollen and often bruise heavily, but I remind myself they’re a means to an end. These days I can cope with short flights ok, but for long-haul flights I have to request a bulkhead seat so I can raise my legs up against the wall.
In the early days I wondered if I’d ever make it to New Zealand, but I did. I found a way to visit Mount Fuji and I’ve even tried snorkelling.
There are still days now when I feel sorry for myself and focus on the things I’m no longer able to do, but then I remember what I’ve managed to achieve even with my condition. My travels may involve more thought and planning than the average person but I won’t ever let my condition stop me from seeing the world!
Jeannette Cheney, of Traveling Honeybird, shares her story about how she got diagnosed with Endometriosis and how she deals with it while traveling.
It’s really easy to think about saying no. To have deep and considerate thought about making the decision to say no. To accept the potential consequences of your decision to say no. That’s easy. The challenge isn’t in the decision but in the follow through. Actually saying no, committing yourself to this cause of action and dealing with the any consequences which may come back and try to slap you in the face. Eight years ago I was faced with such a decision.
My body hated me. I fluctuated between bursts of energy to levels of exhaustion which would have impressed a sloth. I had trouble sleeping. And I peed like a pregnant lady more often than not. This made me perhaps the worst road trip partner in the universe. I was 22 and lost within a vicious circle. My body and I had started having a few disagreements and issue in my early teens. Our bad attitude only continued to worsen and the struggle became near unbearable. In protest to simple day to day requests my body induced fainting. On nights when sleep was needed most my body ached with unexplainable pain. My stomach tortured me with hunger pains only to reject any delicacies offered. Despite living in a so called developed country I found little to no assistance from the medical community. For over 6 years I expressed my concerns, bared my soul and even shed a few tears to doctors. Again and again I heard the same thing- It’s a phase. You’ll grow out of it. Just eat healthily and exercise. Get a good nights sleep. So the cycle went on.
I want to thank Andrea, Jeannette, Jeni and Keri for sharing their story! I think it’s really good to talk about (invisible) diseases/handicaps. By being open about it, we create understanding. I hope it serves as an encouragement for others to follow their dreams or passions. (:
Do you have a story to tell about traveling with a disease or handicap? Share it in a responds below!