Traveling With A Health Conditon Is Hard…Why I Do It Anyway

My son and I are currently sitting in the LAX airport, in front of Gate 138, waiting to board a flight to Lima, Peru. From there we fly to Cusco and spend a couple weeks exploring ruins, night hiking in the Amazon and sea kayaking on Lake Titicaca. I hope.

Here are the two things I know for sure about the trip. One, T and I will have an amazing adventure, do things we’ve both dreamed about and make memories together. Two, parts of it will suck.

It’s hard to quantify what travel is like “now”. My husband explained it once to someone by asking about their worst vacation experience, and then saying  that would be an exceptionally good trip for us.

What I expect: I will, at some point, vomit on the side of the trail from either pain or medication or a combination of pain and medication. T will have to spend a recovery day (or three) with me in a hotel, rather than out adventuring (yes, it’s a verb in our house). I will miss some of our planned and guided activities and will ride along while T bikes/swims/kayaks.

I’m not saying that to complain. I’m ridiculously excited to travel with T and he’s fine with the expectations I’ve laid out above. It’s (almost) a non-issue because we’ve all learned to set our expectations to reality.

So why go, right? Why risk the pain and the drama and the difficulty?

If I’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s the importance of holding on to the things that make me happiest and the importance of fighting to define my life on my own terms and by more than what I cannot do. It will always be easier to just stay home. It’s easier not to travel, not to write, not to see friends or support my kids or live a life beyond what it most comfortable. And over time, that is often my only choice. But the things I love-my friends, my family and the adventures we have together are worth fighting for, even if that means fighting through (too much) pain to do them a few times a year. More than that, traveling is where I am happiest, even if I’m physically uncomfortable. Grabbing my kid’s hand and jumping into the world, as best I can, reminds me of who I am, even if how I express that is different now.

And so we planned. We used guides and support staff, things we might never have done before, built in rest days and back-up plans for my back-up plans (including but not limited to several discussions with my doctor  and making sure that T understood what might happen so he could explain to somebody else if I couldn’t). I planned for the worst and hope for the best, as the saying goes. Good or had, it’s worth the effort for me to share the world with my son.

Wish us luck, good weather and amazing adventures.




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