Traveling with Chronic Illness – How do you cope?

Today WeGoHealth has asked us to write about travel. Specifically, if we could travel anywhere in the world, where would we go and why? I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life, most of it for work, but I’ve traveled for pleasure as well. When people ask about my travel history, I say, “I’ve been everywhere I want to go and everywhere I don’t want to go at least twice.” As I speak that sentence, my mind’s eye flashes through what seems like hundreds of memories. I think about my time in Barcelona, Napa Valley, Seattle, NYC, France, Mexico, Hawaii, Colorado, London.

Even with these amazing memories to reflect upon, now when I hear the word “travel,” I think (free word association here). . . “Uggh; ouch; can’t.” I don’t have that wanderlust anymore. I think of dragging my luggage, which now feels like lead instead of a weekend over night bag on wheels. I think of passive-aggressive airline staff, standing in lines, and searching for a shred of kindness in the air of any given airport.

Traveling with the debilitating symptom of chronic, painful fatigue is, quite simply, a proposition of Herculean form. I cannot travel the way I used to, and in some ways, I’ve lost a sense of independence because of that fact. And, ask my husband, I am FIERCELY INDEPENDENT. I’m not really too happy with the notion of always having to travel with a companion in case I can’t make it alone, which has happened now on several occasions over the past year. As I learn to live with my illness, I am learning new ways to cope, like always traveling with a companion, which isn’t so bad, except that it doesn’t exactly scream, “SPONTANEITY!” 😦

The Big Blue (European release on DVD)

The Big Blue (European release on DVD)

If I could travel anywhere, I would take what I call, my “Big Blue Trip.” My favorite movie, released in limited circulation in the United States was directed by the talented Frenchman, Luc Besson. He’s the director of such blockbusters as The Professional, The Fifth Element & La Femme Nikita. My favorite work of his is called The Big Blue (1988). I still have it, and I have to watch it on VHS, because the American version was never released on DVD. I have every word memorized, and if I could travel, I would go to each place in the movie in sequential order, following the film, imagining the events depicted in its unique plot.

Taormina, Italy where I someday hope to eat Frutti Del Mare!

Taormina, Italy where I someday hope to eat Frutti Del Mare!

The movie begins in Antarctica and moves briefly to NYC, then on to Peru, Taormina Italy, France and then back to some smaller towns in Italy. Through character development, we learn of the quaint heritage of these villages and their peoples. I would want to start at the beginning of the movie and traverse the same exact course, God willing.

That’s my dream vacation. I believe it will happen someday. I have no reason to believe it won’t.


The Andes Mountains in Peru

Where do you dream of traveling? Do you like exotic vacations or those more down to earth? A beach and a good book, or trying street foods in Thailand? How do you dream? Do you believe you will achieve travel to your dream destinations?


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