Traveling with Fibromyalgia
Travelling with any illness can be challenging, in this post Sarah Kim from Lust ‘Till Dawn shares her experiences of travelling with Fibromyalgia.
Sarah is a New Yorker living in Amsterdam and traveling the world since 2005. She enjoys sharing her wealth of knowledge on traveling, blogging, and health for anyone who is open to positivity, help, and straight up good information. She loves connecting with like-minded travelers and those who live intentionally so feel free to reach out to her via her blog or Instagram.
Getting diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
After endless tests coming back negative and endless therapy sessions with no results, my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia — a condition you have when no one can figure out what’s wrong with you.
The condition and symptoms of fibromyalgia varies from person to person, but for me, it means chronic fatigue, widespread nerve and muscle pain, chronic muscle tension, and over 20 food intolerances and allergies.
On a good day, I can walk for 30 minutes before I feel excruciating pain in my feet and can make it through the whole day without a nap. On a bad day, I can’t walk for more than 10 minutes and have to take a two to three-hour nap to make it past dinner.
What is Fibromyalgia
According to theFibromyalgia Action UK group Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue. The pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching or burning, often described as head to toe. It may be worse at some times than at others. It may also change location, usually becoming more severe in parts of the body that are used most.
Traveling with Fibromyalgia
For someone with fibromyalgia, being a travel blogger seems like the worst profession—having to lug my bags, walk around a new city, and deal with possible unknown circumstances like with food allergies or broken elevators. But traveling is my passion so succumbing to my health and not doing what I love anymore simply wasn’t an option for me.
I adapted to my new self and kept on traveling. With a few major but doable adjustments, I still endlessly explore the world and discover its wonderful offering. Last month alone, I went to Finland, Spain, Portugal, and France! Read on for my top three mindful tips for traveling with fibromyalgia.
How to prepare traveling with Fibromyalgia
Before you even think about planning a trip, it’s best to accept yourself for who you are today. Recognize that you are no better or worse than the person you were yesterday or two years ago. It’ll make you happier when you’re figuring out your travel plans.
For example, once I realized how bad my health was and how limited my walking was, I had to cut out activities I used to love to do in the past such as hiking in lush, green nature or backpacking around with no plans.
At first, I was really disappointed about this new me because the old me was way more fit and active. I learned to be kinder to myself, grateful that I still had the opportunity to travel, and how to travel in a completely new way.
Understand your limits when traveling with Fibromyalgia
While planning, it’s a good idea to evaluate your limits and take this into consideration. Be honest with yourself. Once you are fully aware of your own needs, then you can start planning around them.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- How much can you walk?
- What conditions are most ideal for eating, traveling, and sleeping?
- What treatments or exercise do you need to get through the day?
For example, to save money, I used to stay a little bit further out of a city, take public transportation in, and stay out all day. Location didn’t matter that much. But nowadays, I need to go back to my accommodation at some point to take a break. Because of this, I’ll plan my accommodation near the sites and restaurants I want to go to.
Don’t be so hard on yourself in you have Fibromyalgia
Trips don’t happen so often, and the likelihood that you’ll be in the place you’re visiting again is small, so instead of harping on the pain that you’re in or the things you missed out on, be proud of yourself. Congratulate yourself for even making it out and not letting your chronic illness make you a prisoner of your own life.
For example, there is always one point of a trip when I get upset because I have to spend extra money to take a cab since I can’t walk or that I can’t keep up with my husband because I have no energy. It’s easy to get caught up in what I can’t do, but once I shift my viewpoint and see what I did to even make it there, I’m much happier about not giving into my fibromyalgia and letting myself enjoy life (in a slightly modified way).
Overall, always listen to your body and stay on your routine as much as possible. Don’t push yourself if you don’t want to and enjoy life while you can. You deserve to see the world, especially with the pain you have to deal with every day.
If you suffer with Fibromyalgia do you have any tips or recommendations on how to make sure travel plans goes as smoothly as possible?
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