Uncharted Territory

It is official. I am jumping off into uncharted territory and traveling around Eastern Europe by myself with a chronic medical condition. This is a pivotal moment in my life, in my battle with fibromyalgia. I am taking control and not allowing this condition to rule my life.

Of course, this is easier said than done! I have three months until I fly into Venice and wind my way through Eastern Europe for almost six weeks. Three months to plan, to develop my travel philosophy, to figure out how to travel with fibro and not succumb to the pain and fatigue, to my inner doubt that says I can’t do this.

So this begins my journey of figuring it all out. Daily life is already a puzzle – how to make my tired muscles move out of bed in the morning, how to push myself to think clearly through a mental fibrofog, how to stand on my cramping feet at the end of the day to cook a healthy dinner. Now multiple all this daily stress with the adventure of travel – it’s overwhelming to think about!

So I need to develop a travel philosophy and mantra to stay positive and savor a travel junkie’s existence.

Key #1 is planning. Plan, Plan, Plan! I would love to vagabond, to take off with no set itinerary and see where the journey takes me. I know this is unrealistic. I must know I have a comfortable place to rest at the end of the day.

But I still desire the spontaneity of vagabonding. I am trying a “home base” method. I have set up specific towns and cities to stay in for periods of 2-4 days, and using these locations as a home base from which to explore the neighboring countryside and cities. I can see the top sights, but still check out a town off-the-beaten-path that a local mentions. At the end of the day, I have a comfortable hostel or inn to relax in as I recharge for the next day without the constant physical demands of carrying my luggage around and trying to find a place to sleep.

For example, I will stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia for 4 nights at a small hostel. The local possibilities for exploration are endless: cave spelunking, small Istrian coastal towns, castles, medieval towns, and a magical lake town in the Alps.

Hopefully this strategy allows a sense of adventure despite the confining nature of fibromyalgia.


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.
This entry was posted in travel tips, travel with fibromyalgia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Uncharted Territory

  1. Camille says:

    I admire your strength to do this, sounds like an exciting once in a lifetime trip! Good luck with the planning. I hope you’ll keep us all updated as your traverse your way around Europe!

    • chronictraveler says:

      Thanks Camille! I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew, but that’ll make it even more interesting. 🙂

  2. Jamie says:

    Way to go Karina! :0)

  3. Stephen Hunt says:

    Whaaa! You crazy girl, about time you got this going! I’m so proud of you. Nothing can stop you now. Here’s to the first of many trips and the launch of a successful travel writing career!

  4. Tiff says:

    Hooray! I’m excited to follow your planning & travels. Good luck!

  5. Teague says:

    Wow Karina kudos to you! Enjoy your travels.

  6. Lily says:

    I’m so excited that you’ve finally been able to put this into action! I’m going to catch up on all I’ve missed but I can’t wait to see all your new posts as well. Great job Karina!

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