I’ve been traveling solo since I was about 25. My very first solo trip was hiking in Nova Scotia. At the time, I had a decent job, so I could afford to travel, but my female friends could not afford to go with me, so I struck out on my own. Occasionally I’ve gone with a friend, which I also enjoy. Generally, the only group travel In which I have participated have been hiking/biking trips with Backroads (including Loire Valley, Cinque Terra, Northern Thailand, Bhutan, Costa Rica).
But I have always enjoyed going solo. I find I meet more people when I travel alone (I have made life long friends around the world). I can go where I want to go. I can sleep in when I want to. I can spend as little or as much as I want on accommodations. I can go to the spa. Or sit by the pool. Or trek through Sapa in Vietnam. Or be invited by a little 5 year old to squeeze into the front row at the Myanmar boat races.
In 2011, I went on my penultimate Round the World trip. I made 17 stops, visiting 12 countries on that trip. It was awesome! (Although maybe too short!) I did have three friends meet up with me separately in Russia, London and Argentina.
Over the course of my travel, I have been to 60+ countries and 49 of the United States. I have always felt at home when I travelled. Have settled into new places fairly easily. Experienced minimal amounts of travel anxiety. Love meeting new people. Experiencing different cultures. Walking and walking and then walking some more.
So…why is this time different?
Two and one-half years ago, about eight years after surviving breast cancer, I sat across from my doctor as she tried very hard not to tear up as she told me I had Parkinson’s disease.
My first thought was … oh, no. I won’t be able to travel anymore. The trip I had always wanted to take around Europe by train (which I had started planning for 2021) was probably now out of the question.
But I’ve always been a survivor and a positive thinker and so once I stopped trying every flavor of Ample Hills ice cream, I started reading everything I could about advances in treatments for PD. And the ongoing work towards a cure by the Michael J Fox Foundation.
I focused on working out more, which is a proven benefit for PD fighters. Went more regularly to my trainer. Joined a PD dance class with other fighters. Tried to keep walking as much as possible. And moved my trip up two years earlier….which is now!
How will this affect my travel? I don’t know yet. I know I’ve had a lot more anxiety leading up to this trip. And I’ve tried to adjust my itinerary for more down time and longer transitions. I’m on my 7th day (out of 86) and feeling more confident each day.
Will this someday keep me from traveling? I don’t know. But not yet!! I’ll keep going as long and as far as I can.