Darkness enveloped the sky, much as my energy seemed to drain the color from my face and push my conscious into panic. Every limb held weight, every piece of my brain wanted to quit, yet as I looked up at a sky full of stars I had never seen, it all seemed worth it.
Traveling with chronic health problems is a point of stubbornness and a form of capability. There are many people around the globe who set their health aside to be able to live where they feel called. All who know how many specialists they saw back home in attempts to bring their body to a normal level.
In my travels living with chronic health problems, I have learned how to adapt and how to be prepared to counteract flares of pain. While not everyone may understand my conditions, I have come to understand my levels and how to manage at a functional level to make travel the beautiful experience it can be.
Know What You Need
Owning up to your chronic health issues is about knowing what you need. It may mean taking on extra baggage to counteract flare-ups, but when a bad day comes, you will be thanking yourself for bringing the items you needed.
I have always preferred the more natural route for handling chronic issues, which means I look out for certain foods while traveling. Food or drinks that contain turmeric and ginger work wonders to help decrease inflammation and pain. My personal favorite drink of choice is Kevita, which will help your gut rebalance and keep inflammation at bay.
While there are many different kinds of chronic health issues, always talk with your specialist what you could bring along to help you stay at a functional level. In some cases that may mean scheduling rest days into your travel schedule in order to keep up your stamina. Find what works for you, so you can travel to your full capacity, but always be prepared for what your body may decide to throw at you.
Be Humble Enough To Tell Someone
You most likely are traveling with other people, which means they are bound to notice you are having a hard day. If you are anything like me, you will be more than stubborn with being quiet about having a harder day where it seems that all your energy is seeping out of your pores. Those are the days where you hear all the comments in your head where people told you to just stay home.
Take courage, for the people you travel with should be people you can lean on during the hard days. Be humble enough to share your tough day with those around you so they can help counteract where you may not be strong enough.
Whether you had planned to trek through the jungle that day or were just going for a short walk around a quaint town in Europe, find ways where your people can help you have a better day. You do not have to live in the misery of chronic health problems alone, even while you are out experiencing the world.
Chronic Health Backpack Necessities
Whenever and wherever I travel, I always have a small backpack with me full of chronic health problem necessities. Carrying these items have never steered me wrong, and I have used each item multiple times in every trip.
- First Aid Kit (band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, gauze, medical tape, ace bandage, emergency ice pack, emergency space blanket)
- Baking Soda (draws out poison from bug bites and decreases inflammation)
- Sunscreen (Snow fields to desert sands, it all burns)
- Scarf (combats cold and heat, can be used as a sling or a wrap)
- Anti-Inflammatory Pills (ibuprofen, naproxen, turmeric, ginger)
- Prescription Medications (back-ups/spares/what you need)
- Water (ALWAYS a necessity, I personally carry around a water pack and not just a water bottle)
- Power Bars (something with protein in it, your body needs protein to heal and repair properly)
- Snacks (banana chips, apple, occasionally chocolate, sometimes a sandwich for long days)
- Sunglasses (bright blindness is a real thing)
- A pen (if you’ve been through customs before, you know why)
- A small notebook (keep track of new places or important information)
- Contact Card (if something happens to you or your phone, you will be able to contact your people or consulate)
Functionally Travel By Being Courageous
As someone who has lived across the sea, traveled to different countries with only a backpack, and has lived out of a van to see over 18 National Parks, it is possible to travel with chronic health problems. The real secret is being courageous. There are many healthy people who do not choose to travel, which makes you all the more brave for choosing to.
I have suffered from more health problems than the average person my age, but it will never keep me from traveling. Even bad test results have always pushed me to outside in the world all the more. Life is short, which is why I choose to travel, even despite having chronic health problems.
The key is being prepared in order to counteract your health problems and have a functional time exploring the world. Not every day is going to be easy, but it does promise to be an adventure. Whatever your form of travel is, take courage and functionally travel to the best of your ability.
Travel to see better, to be better, and to live better than you ever have before.