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.