Reizen met een ziekte/handicap: yes you can! (deel II)

Reizen is iets wat de meeste mensen maar wat graag doen. Helaas is het niet altijd even makkelijk voor iedereen. In de vorige post delen vijf moedige vrouwen hun verhaal en ervaringen over reizen met (iemand die) een handicap/ziekte/beperking/hoe je het ook wilt noemen (heeft). Velen lazen het bericht en we hebben er veel positieve reacties op gekregen. Daarom is hier de vervolg post, een paar andere, dappere vrouwen delen hun verhaal om anderen aan te moedigen. Nog steeds hebben zij allen gemeen dat ze hun dromen najagen en niet bang zijn om nog grotere dromen te dromen!

Andrea Goldstein, van The Fearless Flashpacker, diende voor zeven jaar in het leger. De sporen daarvan zijn nog steeds voelbaar in haar lichaam.. In dit stukje hieronder verteld ze hoe reizen haar helpt:

I’m a military veteran, and the seven years I spent in the service was tough on the body. There’s a  joke that pain is weakness leaving the body–unless you served, in which case it’s probably arthritis. Sure enough, I’ve lived with constant, chronic pain from spondylarthopathy in my hips and back. It also means I can’t stand in one place or sit without being able to extend my legs for long without excruciating pain (bus journeys are the worst), am traveling with powerful prescription pain medication, and might be caught doing awkward physical therapy stretches in the middle of a hostel dorm! It’s tough not being able to stay out and socialize because everything just wears me out much more, but I also have the excuse of being an older “Flashpacker” now.
The best thing I can do is eat right and stay active–places like Thailand have been terrific with lots of trekking and a natural anti-inflammatory diet with gluten free options filled with ginger and turmeric. And with cheap massages everywhere, travel had proved to be great therapy!

Jenni, van Travel to Recovery, heeft kanker overwonnen en hoewel de bijwerkingen van haar medicijnen nog steeds haar leven markeren, is ze vastbesloten om te reizen!
 In 2013 I started my year long plan of travelling the world, two months into my travels I got diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 years old I didn’t
even think you could get it. 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 van Ladies what travel, verteld hoe ze omgaat met haar onzichtbare, auto-immuun ziekte. Hoewel haar trips veel planning vergen gaat ze door en is ze vastbesloten om veel van de wereld te zien. Dit stuk hieronder is een ingekorte versie van de originele post die zij schreef voor haar eigen 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, van Traveling Honeybird, deelt haar verhaal over hoe de diagnose van endometriose kreeg en hoe zij daar mee omgaat terwijl ze op reis is. 

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 was officially diagnosed with endometriosis, poly cystic ovaries and a cyst filled bladder when I was in my early 20’s.
Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrialimplant). Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis.
It’s now a condition that I happily live with in a symbotic style. I don’t suffer, endure or trawl through the pain I just get on with my life and keep on traveling the word. Since my first diagnosis I’ve had 5 surgeries, each time reopening those delicate core muscles. This hasn’t stopped me from taking up mountain biking and skiing as an adult, or stopped me from riding horses. Last year I trekked for 3 weeks in the Mongolian mountains.
There’s no cure for endometriosis. Though some specialists have recommended having children may assist. I’ll pass on that offer thank you very much. Instead for me it’s now about pain management and hormone management. Despite the surgeries this is an on going issue for me. I have opted for a Mirena IUD (in uetro device) to help manage the symptoms. As a traveler this is the perfect option for me and my body. One of the many benefits to the mirena is the long term contraception (though condoms should still be used if you’re having casual affairs) and that my periods have just about stopped all together. I always carry emergency lady supplies when I travel but there’s not surprise periods or the trauma of trying to buy feminine hygiene products in a developing country.
Since my first diagonin 8 years ago I’ve travelled to Guyana, Singpore, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Mongolia, Czech, Germany, Spain, Scotland, England, Denmark, Finland, France, Belguim and the Netherlands to name a few!

Graag wil ik Andrea, Jeannette, Jeni en Keri bedanken voor het delen van hun verhaal! Ik ben van mening dat het goed is om over een (onzichtbare) handicap of ziekte te praten. Door er open over te zijn creëren we begrip. Het kan andere inspireren om hun dromen of passie te volgen, ongeacht hun mankementen. (:

Mocht je de verhalen hierboven inspirerend vinden, vergeet dan niet om het eerste deel van Traveling with a handicap: yes you can! te lezen

Wat is jouw ervaring met medicatie of medische problemen op reis? Deel het hieronder.


  1. Stuk voor stuk stoere vrouwen. Ik snap het heel goed, dat ze ondanks alles toch “gewoon” op reis gaan. Ooit had ik zelf dagelijks heel veel pijn en in de periode dat ze na anderhalf jaar onderzoeken niks hadden kunnen vinden verkochten we ons huis en boekten een enkeltje Bangkok. Onder het mom van “beter daar gelukkig MET pijn dan hier balen van het niet op reis zijn met alsnog pijn. Korte tijd later werd ontdekt waar mijn pijn vandaan kwam en na 2 operaties en een uitgesteld vertrek alsnog (zonder pijn) op reis vertrokken. 18 Heerlijke maanden gehad. Mooi om de verhalen van die 5 vrouwen hierboven te lezen… zeker inspirerend!

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