Traveling Without the Baggage of Fear
Traveling with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis is challenging. International travel adds some extra lengthy steps. That said, I have the bug. I’ve always had a hunger to see and experience new people and places. From a young age, I traveled alongside my parents, which gave me a cultural education I will always be grateful for.
I continued to travel with my husband, even after my diagnosis. We sojourned to Europe the following year, and I noticed a profound difference. My gait was slower, and my foot drop more pronounced. It was harder to navigate unknown terrain. I would arrive at monuments, unable to see everything.
London’s Tube and the Paris Métro are incredibly efficient, but both are underground. While there are escalators, they don’t always run. One may run down to the platform but not up to street level. The steps are too many and too steep for me to ascend.
The excitement with each discovery became overshadowed with questions. Can I stand or walk without falling? Are there stairs? Is the terrain steep? Is there a bench? Is there wheelchair access? Will a wheelchair fit? Is there access to water?
As my list of questions grew, so too did my anxiety. My desire to travel remained, yet the realities of my situation left me fearful. While MS leaves me without some ability, fear renders me paralyzed. That situation is unacceptable for me and you.
The only viable option is to push through the fear. This disease commands nothing less. Therefore, with education and preparedness, I seize travel opportunities. Some places may remain unseen (think Machu Picchu). However, I have far more travel possibilities ahead than I’ve left behind.
I will continue to recreate my possibilities.
Being disabled in an able-bodied world has opened my eyes. Travel only takes that vision to 20/20. My perspective changed with my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I could not have known this before my diagnosis and subsequent progression. It continues to morph as I progress.
I thank God for this new pair of glasses. They are unique. For along with a fresh perspective, they came with a bigger heart, a giving hand, a loving touch, and an open mind.
When we know better, we aspire to do better. I want to know more and do my best. I want to see more and help others do the same. Through trial and travel, I will.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.