I have beautiful and magical memories of traveling.
I vividly remember road trips that I would take with my maternal grandparents from Florida to Connecticut (where most of my mother’s family resides). We would wake up way before the sun and I would drowsily climb into the back of their blue and white striped van. The first hours of the trip I would intermittently wake up, ask which state we were in, and happily fall back asleep. The car has always been one of my favorite places to doze. (My theory is, that to my slightly neurotic mind, sleeping while en route to a destination is the ultimate in multitasking. :)) When I became fully alert, I would marvel at the difference in scenery… from the landscape, to the unfamiliar stores.
The first time I was on a plane I was around eighteen-months-old and mom and I flew to California from Missouri to visit my uncle. There were many trips on air crafts after my inaugural experience. From domestic excursions, to international adventures.
The smells, the people, the exposure to fantastic cultures… it all inspired my creativity-fulled mind.
However, as the years passed, and as my chronic “companion” made its presence known, the ease of travel was replaced by anxieties.
Will I get sick? Will I feel well enough to have a good time? Will I ruin the trip for others with my individual needs? Will this trip lead my physical well-being on a course of deterioration?
After my health was pushed to the edge during my honeymoon to Hawaii last year… a quiet, but profound, voice started to whisper in the back of my mind, “Traveling just isn’t for someone like you.”
I kept the voice quiet and pushed on with the only attitude that I believe makes a beautiful life, a positive one.
Initially, for our year anniversary my husband and I wanted to take a trip to Europe. After being in the hospital in April (which was the ending of the flare that started on the previously mentioned honeymoon), we decided that we should wait until my health stabilized before going on a major journey.
We took advantage of a discount found online and booked a trip to North Carolina (not too far away) to a bed and breakfast (more comfortable than a hotel).
My health had been a bit wobbly, but I had enjoyed two weeks of beautiful normalcy prior to leaving this past Saturday morning.
When I awoke before the sun, I didn’t have the same feeling of comfort as I did traveling with my grandparents as a child. I felt it in my gut- we would have three passengers on this trip.
Saturday evening as my amazing husband and I sipped on wine at a vineyard, while reveling the perfect weather, I secretly suffered in pain.
Afterwards at dinner, I could barely eat. It was like a balloon was fully inflated in my stomach.
My symptoms got worse, and although I pride myself in pushing through with a smile on my face… my husband knows me too well.
Sunday we ventured to Charlotte, I slept in the car on the way there, battling the worst indigestion I had ever endured and a headache that found residence between my eyes.
Back at the inn, I made use of the antique sofa in the restroom to get a few moments to center before I listlessly accompanied the most understanding and wonderful husband (ever) to a Thai restaurant where fear of eating and lack of appetite made for even more obvious clues of my phony wellness.
As we prepared to travel back to Florida yesterday morning, I acknowledged the voice in the back of my mind.
However, I refuse to let that voice dictate my life. I can’t.
I sit here now on our couch, my spirit and energy has admittedly taken a huge hit… but this is part of my journey. Writing this helps me to purge and turn my tears into happy ones. I am so thankful for all that I have, and I hope that perhaps one person will read this and know that we all have our own baggage. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Lena Horne,
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
The amount of memories made on our first anniversary adventure were priceless, and my “spare passenger” has taught me that maybe someone like me is pretty damn tough.