Changing Plans

It is official. We are changing our travel plans for 2011. Some of you already know how excited I was to visit New Zealand in the fall of 2011. Mark and I were going to make a month-long odyssey to that beautiful country as a 5 year wedding anniversary gift to ourselves. I already was planning for day hikes up to Fox Glacier, walking black sand beaches, sea kayaking amid misty fjords, and hiking the crater rims of volcanic islands. Then I checked the exchange rate. In the past year, the New Zealand dollar has gained significantly in strength against the US dollar. Suddenly New Zealand is completely out of reach for our budget.

It is amazing how this fact affected me emotionally. I actually went through a quick succession of the five stages of grief. At first, I refused to believe we would not be able to afford New Zealand. I even became angry and after a few hours of fuming and struggling with my disappointment, I finally faced the facts and made a decision. We will not be going to New Zealand in 2011. Just like that, I was fine again.

Instead, we are pushing New Zealand back to 2013, with a committment from my husband to help me save for the trip once a few big expenses are taken care of. (For example, we desperately need a new sliding door, as our current one allows massive amounts of heat to escape in the dead of Wisconsin winter, even with all our efforts to weatherproof in the fall.) I will still embark on an international trip in 2011, but will be going solo again and choosing a destination that is a relative deal compared to a couple years ago. Thanks to the world’s economic melt-down, I will be heading to the geological wonders of Iceland and the wild wind-swept hills of the Faroe Islands, once one of the most expensive destinations to visit.

Already, I can feel my excitement building. I am quickly forming an attachment to this region of the world, as travel is always a deeply personal and emotional endeavor for me. I am seeking out books on Iceland’s history, planning to read the rich literary heritage of Iceland, such as the Sagas, and researching the geological phenomena that govern the island’s moods. It has been two days since this decision to go to Iceland and already I am bewitched.

So here we go again…


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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