Before I had a brain tumour (Or knew about it at least!), Matt and I LOVED to travel. City breaks were what we did most and our dream was to one day have a little flat in Barcelona. Over the years, we’d done Sydney, Seville and Oslo to name a few and had a pretty exhaustive need-to-go list. We did a big trip back in December 2015, hitting up Tokyo, Australia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It was amazing.
Perhaps because we’d travelled a fair amount, we weren’t phased by deciding to go ahead and fly to Lisbon the morning after I was diagnosed with the T-Bomb. My mum worried about us going of course (I’m a member of the mum worry club now so totally get it.) but hey, why not? My (newly assigned) neurologist said it was probably fine (provided I picked up – and started taking – the anti-seizure meds I’d just been prescribed).
It was, I think, the best decision we could have made. It gave us some space and a change of scenery to process the news. And, it would turn out to be the last city break we’d have as we knew it. I remember spending the trip feeling like every minute was precious because suddenly I didn’t know what the future would hold – except that it was probably going to be scary.
Shaking it up might just make it less stressful, tiring and more fun.
So why are things different now?
The holidays we go on have changed mostly as a result of brain surgery and how it impacted on my mobility. Essentially I (literally) can no longer go the distance. City breaks require stamina. You know, sights to see, and steps to climb, and high up views to take in.
The second reason is I’m basically knackered. It’s a funny thing fatigue (not in the haha sense btw). I used think it was just tiredness. Extreme tiredness, but tiredness, nonetheless. I’m now stating loud and clear… I was naive and wrong!
Sometimes, it is needing a lie down or, at it’s worst, it’s a foggy feeling in my head meaning I can’t properly function and doing anything is like pushing against some sort of invisible wall.
All of the above pretty makes sightseeing trickier. I’m not saying that it’s impossible. One day, I might be able to manage with adjustments such as taking public transport or taxis but it would be (and is) more challenging than before.
The idea of simply giving up holidays and travelling altogether was utterly heartbreaking and therefore, once I was well enough (after completing radiotherapy) we started looking at holidays to places we would never considered. I’m talking booking everything through one airline – A Package holiday to The Canaries or Mallorca. My god. I never saw that coming.
And sunbathing. Like by a pool on a sun lounger!! I’d be SO bored I used to exclaim. There’d be nothing worse than a week at a hotel just chilling (!). Urgh. Well, that’s where I was wrong too.
I’m now a complete convert to a nice hotel somewhere hot. A long leisurely breakfast and then reading books or flicking through a magazine (or scrolling Insta) in the sun. It’s actually wonderful.
There are other advantages to booking through one company. Transfers and everything like that is included. They can do it all for you, and if you need airport assistance like me (I’ll do a separate post on my tips for travelling with a disability) it’s straightforward to get that sorted.
Finding ways to travel that work for you
So much changes post-diagnosis, and post-treatment that stuff is different. Not necessarily worse, but it definitely helps to be flexible and consider things you might have previously discounted. Shaking it up might just make it less stressful, tiring and more fun.
You learn so much about the world when you travel and have a break from day-to-day responsibilities. Time to think and reflect and all that.
It’s funny now, to think that the trip to Lisbon was in many ways, the start of life as I know it – with a T-Bomb in tow.
I’m so glad we didn’t bottle it and cancel.
How has travelling changed for you?
Be back soon,