Monday, June 12, 2017

Don't Be Afraid to Travel: Prepare, Relax, Have Fun, and Be Well

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2017
Hello!  I'm so excited to be back!  Jim and I went on an amazing vacation to Denmark to visit Naja, who we hosted when she was an exchange student during the 2015-2016 school year in Utah.  

Of course, it was incredible.  The weather was great, we saw so many beautiful sights, met some awesome people, hopped over to Sweden, where my mom's family was from, for a short visit which was a thrill, and I didn't get sick or hurt.  I repeat, I did not get sick or hurt!  I didn't even fall.  That was freakin' amazing!  It was pretty perfect.  Ah well, my knee hurt the whole time, but other than that, yeah, it was pretty perfect.

Then why did I spend the better part of the previous six months before the trip worrying about it? Ah, this is my nature.  A little gift of the genes that my dad gave me.  I have always worried about what might happen on a trip, especially one to another country.  In particular, I worry that I might get sick on the food and water.  I've gotten sick on the water in different perfectly decent countries in the past, so I was again fearful of that happening.  To try to ease my anxiety, I sent an email to Naja's mother letting her know what foods bothered my sensitive system.  And I drank bottled water throughout most of the trip.    

I think I worried just as much about having to spend so much time on health maintenance, and not being able to keep up with everyone while out and about sight-seeing.  I guess that wasn't so much a cause for worry as it was one of frustration.  These feet and short legs can only go so fast.  And, there were always medicine schedules to keep and medical mumbo jumbo to take care of, so I was off doing that instead of relaxing and visiting.  Of course, I visited, but I felt like I was pulled away from conversations too often.  

Also, I found myself managing my day in my head.  While Jim was care-free and getting deep into conversation about certain landmarks and customs, I was thinking, "I wonder if there's a bathroom around here?" or "I wonder where we will eat and will I be able to eat the food?"  or "I'm getting really low on water and I need to take my meds soon.  Must look for water."  Oh, it's annoying! 

I also spent time worrying that I would be a nuisance, having to stop for bathroom breaks maybe a bit more often than others, having to take breaks to rest my feet maybe more than others, or having to take my medication way before mealtime and, whups, I forgot. But, really, everyone was patient, kind, and understanding.  I was able to do everything I needed to do, and found everything I needed without much fuss  I went my own speed most of the time while walking around, and Jim stayed with me so I wouldn't be the only one at the back of the pack.  Ha!  Naja's mother had gotten some of the food items I needed before we even arrived, as well.  I had nothing to worry about.  

I have heard the saying that if you are nervous about doing something, it's a sign that you should do it.  That very thing you fear most could bring significant growth, boosted confidence, and feelings of accomplishment, if tackled.  

So from now on, I will face trips with this attitude and mindset:  Prepare, be confident, have fun, and be well.    

How do you handle traveling with heath issues?  Do you freak out, thinking of everything that could go wrong?  Or do you consider it an exciting opportunity and just take snags in stride as they come along?  I'd love to hear from you.  

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