Author Archives: chronictraveler

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.

Waterfalls and French Railroads on Don Khon

Yesterday I woke up early to beat the heat, rented a bike, and set off with the morning commute of uniformed schoolchildren. My goal was Somphamit Falls, 3 kilometers from the village. The claustrophobic village road, where neighbors and guesthouses … Continue reading

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Where Life is the Mekong River

I wrote this two days ago, when the WiFi and power were down…. I sit on a deck gazing across the water at another island, so close I can hear the conversations of people in their homes and watch the … Continue reading

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Khmer Ruins and Butterflies in Champasak

Traveling any distance in Laos can be both frustrating and fascinating. Unless you are connecting to or from Vientiane, the majority of buses are of the “local” variety – no a/c, hot, dusty, uncomfortable, arduous journeys that rarely make speeds … Continue reading

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How I learned to like, not love, Savannakhet

The danger of traveling with expectations is simple – your expectations can crash and burn dramatically or dance wildly with unanticipated glee. Savannakhet has crashed and burned. I came on the promise of a beautiful old town on the Mekong … Continue reading

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A Hot, Dusty Pilgrimage on the Mekong

I arrived in Thakhek at the last twinge of twilight. Along with six other tourists, I squeezed into a tiny tuk-tuk with all our luggage. The merry driver shrugged off all our expressions of doubt at the impossibility of the … Continue reading

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Diving into Vientiane’s Sedate Side

I’ve plunged off my beaten path into the beating heart of Laos, the capital city Vientiane. For all her dust, roaring motorbikes and lumbering lorries, and tall ugly concrete edifices, I’ve discovered I like Vientiane. Her chaos is manageable, her … Continue reading

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Slow Train to Nong Khai

After the heat, dust and chaos of Nakhon Ratchasima, I needed a break. A place where I could lie in a hammock and watch life lazily pass by. I packed up my scant possessions and hopped the local train to … Continue reading

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