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Medical, Personal

When Life Happens…

April 29, 2018

Most of the time we go about our lives not expecting the worst to happen. Bumps come along and we deal with them. My life hit a bump and then it hit a mountain. 

Last October, I was still traveling when I was struck by a bad case of vertigo. The first episode of it happened in Barcelona. It was so bad, I went to the emergency room while I was there. They gave me a shot and it helped for awhile. For the next week, I seemed to be fine as explored Porto. By the third day in Lisbon vertigo had returned. It was even worse than before. I couldn’t eat because I felt so sick to my stomach and I couldn’t write because looking at the computer made it worse. I got out a few times but spent most of the week in bed. Not the best way to see Lisbon. 

My trip was supposed to last about two more weeks but I wasn’t getting better and I really did not want to go to the emergency room in Portugal. (I am sure it would have been fine, but I wasn’t thinking clearly at that point.) I canceled the rest of my reservations and rebooked my ticket home for as soon as American Airlines could get me on the next plane. I was disappointed but was happy to already have a doctor’s appointment for when I returned.

Not all Bad

The bright side in all of this was I had met someone in Greece in September who happened to be from my hometown and still lived relatively close to my parent’s house where I would be returning at the end of my trip. 

While it wasn’t love at first sight, it was love by the second date. Unfortunately, he had to return to the US for work and I continued on my way to Malta. We talked every day, sometimes for hours. I wanted to come back early, but he wanted me to finish the trip. We had already made plans to travel when I returned home. I knew I had found the right man for me. He was caring, thoughtful and loved to travel. I never thought I would meet someone while traveling let alone someone from my hometown. I especially never thought that I would fall madly in love like in the movies.

The whirlwind romance continued when I returned home. He met my family and I met his son. I was going to go to school in January and he was extremely supportive of that. 

And then…

Four days after Thanksgiving, I woke to several missed phone calls and texts from his son and one of his friends. When I called his son back, he immediately asked me if his Dad was with me and I, regretfully, had to say no. 

He then explained that his Dad’s house was on fire and they couldn’t find him. I asked if his truck was at the house and his son said yes. My heart sank. If his truck was there, I knew he was in the house. I tried to stay calm for his son’s sake and offered to come over but the street was blocked off because of all the firetrucks. I fell apart after we got off the phone. Even though it wasn’t confirmed yet, I knew he was gone. 

It took several more hours for the fire to be put out enough for the fire department to look for his body. Later we found out he died of carbon monoxide poisoning and not from the fire, which was a blessing in my mind as he had no idea what happened to him. To this day, we don’t know what cause the fire and we may never know. This is so hard to deal with as I really want to know how the fire started and how just hours before we were both in the house and everything was fine. 

Why?

I am telling you all this for several reasons. One is to let you all know why I just disappeared with no explanation. I had planned on taking a break when I got home because my love for blogging had waned and then vertigo made it difficult. I do miss blogging and am hoping to get back to it soon.

I am writing also to tell you how important it is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your house. I don’t know if it would have saved my love’s life, but it could help save yours or your loved one’s life. We installed one in my parent’s house and I have encouraged all my friends to do the same. Please get one and check your smoke detector batteries at the same time. 

Most importantly to remind you that our time is short and we never know when we could go or when it might be the last time we talk to someone. I know, in theory, we all know this but we take it for granted that bad things could never happen to us. Fortunately, I had told him I loved him that day several times and we had been texting just an hour or so before this happened. I have no regrets just struggling with his absence on a daily basis and what to do with myself now that all our plans will no longer happen. 

Take the time to tell your loved one that you love them often and never take any day for granted. I hope to be back to blogging on a more regular basis soon. 

Blog, Prep, Travel

I Have a Secret to Tell You

March 27, 2017

Travel SecretI have been keeping a secret from you all! It is something I mentioned to my Mom the other day, and she says she tells her friends all the time about it, so it is about time I share it with you.

For the first three and a half years of my life, I was an only child, and for most of my childhood, my Mother worked from home. It meant I could depend on Mom to be there whenever I needed her. If I got ill at school, she would come. If I forgot my homework, she would come. I knew that many kids didn’t have this great mom benefit as both their parents worked! Dad played a part in this dependency too! One time I had to have minor surgery on an ingrown toenail and I wouldn’t let the doctor do it until my Dad arrived. Although this was mainly because my Mom can’t stand the sight of blood and I didn’t want her to pass out on me!

The Impact

At this point, I am sure you are thinking, what does this have to do with travel? Well, all the dependency led to me having anxiety about sleeping away from home and homesickness. It probably wasn’t the only cause, but it certainly contributed. I remember being at a sleepover in elementary school and making my parents get me in the middle of the night. I don’t remember sleeping over at friend’s houses much after that. The event that really made it an issue though was I was at church camp one summer a few hours away from my house, and I had so much anxiety I made myself sick. This also resulted in my parents driving several hours in the middle of the night to come get me (after much begging on my part!)

Fast forward a few years and I decide to go to college that was a six-hour drive away from my parents. Now that I am older, I can handle being away from my parents, but the phone bills in college were epic. This is pre-cell phone days, so I easily had a $100 or more phone bill a month. While I remember it differently, my parents said the first semester was really hard on me. I think I am blocking it out of my mind.

A few years later, I moved to New York City. The phone calls continued, but now I had a cell phone and nights and weekends were free! But by then I only saw my parents twice a year at most, and I seemed to be fine.

More years pass, and I moved to a small Caribbean island for three months. I didn’t have a cell phone, and the internet was spotty. I didn’t talk to my parents every day, and occasionally I would get emails asking me to check in with them.

Do you see a pattern here?

And Now

Obviously now this doesn’t bother me much at all as I live over 8000 miles away from my parents. The phone calls continue and thank goodness for the internet! I talk to one parent or both almost every day, though.

I travel all over the world without any issues, and I am rarely homesick. I have no plans to move back to the United States anytime soon, and I love living abroad. Of course, I still have the moments of wishing I could be home, but that is mainly because I feel like I am missing out on things back home.

Some would say my parents did me a disservice by coming and getting me when I want to come home. However, I would disagree. My parents and I are extremely close as a result. The phone calls home are not quick 5-minute talks but can be an hour or more. It also means my parents never have to worry about where I am and if I am okay. I call when I get to an airport or when I arrive at my hotel. Even while sailing Greece last year, I managed to call them every other day or so. It also gives me peace of mind as my parents, like all of us, are only getting older. It is reassuring to me to hear their voices and know they are doing okay.

Why

Why am I telling you this story, it’s embarrassing, right? I am telling you to encourage you to travel. Fears can be overcome even if they take time. I now manage to live far away from family and travel everywhere I want to go. It has been a lifelong process, but here I sit in my apartment in Qatar telling you this story and planning my next vacation. My advice is always to start with a small trip and gain your confidence, then go on a bigger trip. Not only will you feel better about travel, but you will also learn your limits. There is nothing wrong with having personal limits, but you never know what you can overcome till you try!