Brave New World

An iconic blue box has broken my current state of writing doldrums. At least it’s iconic if you’re a) British or b) obsessed with really good British TV. During my fibro-induced periods of rest, I have been escaping into the zany and joyful world of the Doctor and his Tardis.

My husband is not completely sold on this show – he sometimes has difficulty quieting his highly rational, critical mind to allow himself to escape into the Doctor’s alternate world. However, I have achieved a coup, in that he has formed an attachment to one of the Doctors. He is currently mourning the loss of Christopher Eccleston as we venture into series two. (This is Mark’s first time watching Doctor Who). We have the occasional heated discussion over which actor is the better Doctor (I love them both, but fancy David Tennant just a bit!). A promising sign if Mark is defending his doctor vehemently. So I can snuggle up into the couch when the fibro attacks my weary muscles and tune into the latest Doctor and Rose escapade. No question, I am wholly engrossed in the high energy and fantastical adventures of Doctor Who.

It may be a science fiction adventure, but there is something about this TV show that speaks to the ever-thirsting wanderer in my soul. Fibromyalgia slows me down, shackles me in limitations, and often forcibly lays me out in bed if I push the limits too far too fast. But it has not drained me of my passions and I constantly feel the urge to get on my feet and hike off into the unknown. Discovery – the never-ending and always evolving process of learning about myself and the world around me, the unique thrill of adrenaline that surges through me when my feet hit foreign pavement and I could spin in any direction into an as-of-yet unknown new world. No matter how much research and reading I do before I travel, I am always hit by this moment when I step off the plane, train or bus for my first foray into a new destination.

However, I do not have the physical or monetary means to continually engage in my “wild” adventures – I still have to live in the real world of responsibility. So the Chronic Traveler finds herself focusing most of her time on the mundane of managing her health and earning the money she needs to make her adventures a brief reality in the timeline of her life. I wallow in the cycles of life – often comforting and nurturing, but sometimes constraining and frustrating. Physical therapy, a walking regimen, carefully precise eating and cooking habits, naps and rest, doctor appointments – sometimes I just want to throw it all to the wind and run off into the mountains! (That’s my Pacific Northwest instinct – somehow mountains and dewy pine needle air equals soul-soothing freedom.)

My extraordinary travels have begun to seep into my ordinary life and often I notice the negatives of being back in my real world bubble of routine. But every now and then I am jolted awake to realize that this attitude is a choice – I can allow my moments of adventure to inform how I live my ordinary life. I have a fantastic job at a performing arts theater – I should not view my daily work as a chore necessary for funding my other life, but rather as an opportunity to continue exploring the realm of human possibility and emotion, and to invite others into my life vocation of discovery. For why are the performing arts so important to us? Through dance, music, and theatre we are able to delve into our emotions, our dreams, our moments of deepest despair and greatest triumphs, to overcome obstacles and conquer foes. To soar on the wings of flutes and trumpets, shiver at the haunting of the oboe, tremble at the shaking of the mighty tympani. The performing arts are another avenue of discovery and I am working daily at the heart of it! I may be a humble ticket agent, but I am in a position to help ordinary people like myself step through a door into a dangerously exciting new world.

Crazy just how much reflection about my life can stem out of a TV show!

The performing arts, learning new languages, reading, trying out a new skill, and even watching a TV show like Doctor Who – all inform and inspire my voyages during the inevitable down time between trips. My hats off to the Doctor – this fictional character has reminded me of an important life lesson. Live each day as if you are stepping out into a brave new world, eyes wide with wonder and open to the journey ahead.

About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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