Norway was amazing. My worries and anxieties came to nought in the end. I was never cold and only fell over once, in lovely soft snow. All the gear I bought did exactly what was required. Ice grippers are a marvel!
I went dog sledding… Twice! I survived quite happily in -18°C temperature, but the moisture in my nostrils froze and tickled, like a tiny hedgehog up my nose – not painful, just a bit odd (only one night, way up north, near the Finnish border).
I saw and awed at the Northern Lights dancing, even took a few photos. I ate, drank, sledged and watched reindeer racing. I managed my fatigue and appreciated the calm, snowy, monochrome landscape. I even quit worrying about the outrageous prices (a poor exchange rate made them even worse).
I enjoyed the company of my travelling companion. It was a truly fab trip. Thank you Wendy, for encouraging me to join you and making it so easy and fun. x
More than simply enjoying the trip, what I’ve gained from daring to go, is renewed confidence… to travel again, excitement, desire and, just as importantly, energy for travelling again. I’m not quite in a Dexy state, but just knowing I can handle travelling and have fun without being too worn out is such a boost. So different from my uncertainty, fragility and anxiety of the summer. I feel like a huge barrier has been broken… I can do anything, go anywhere… as long as I can afford the health insurance!
As a first step, I’m off to Antwerp in two weeks to meet up with family on my dad’s side, a Belgian friend and to enjoy a beautiful city. What’s great is being free of any feelings of being daunted at the prospect. EHIC at the ready, any butterflies I have are down to excitement. It’ll be exactly a year since I was last in Belgium, only this time without the steroids!
So, what other plans are afoot?
I’ll see my brother and sister-in-law at the same time… if they insist! 🙂
I’ve made two online friends through blogging about cancer, Rachel in Salem, New Jersey and Marie-Chantal in Vancouver, who I’d be thrilled to meet too. Well, if I go as far as the States, I may as well cross the continent, right? And if I go that far, then I may as well drop down to call in on some old haunts and friends in San Francisco, where I lived for a while many years ago. But actually, I’m still hoping that MC will make it over to Europe – we have an outstanding rendezvous in Paris!
I have an invitation from another online myeloma buddy, Marianne, a Norwegian artist, to visit the old house she has been lovingly restoring in traditional style in Marrakech, Morocco.
I watched a TV programme on Friday about ‘Wild Arabia‘ and found myself excitedly considering experiencing the Sahara desert, which would fit in perfectly with a trip to Marrakech. Lawrence of Arabia, watch out!
Now where did I put my keffiyeh? Or as the Jews call it, my sudra.
If that isn’t enough Eastern influence, Wendy and I are already in discussion about a trip to Istanbul, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for some years.
But that will have to wait, at the very least until she returns from an imminent three-week trip to India. (Yes, she too has itchy feet.) I doubt my consultant would recommend me going to India at this point. And I’m not quite ready for that much adventure yet either, nor for the cost of insurance… 😧
Just to give you an idea, insurance covering the pre-existing conditions of Graft versus Host Disease, Multiple Myeloma and resolved kidney impairment for a three week trip to India would cost around £250, Istanbul for five days a measly £160, whereas my recent jaunt to Norway was only £55. Fortunately we both stayed in good health throughout our trip and I didn’t need to claim. But I can’t afford to take chances.
As long as I remain in remission, after two years post-GvHD treatment, the insurance costs decrease, and it should also be possible to get an annual policy, rather than separate single trips. Hopefully, by then my confidence will have further increased too and maybe I’ll be ready to venture further afield.
So, despite all these grand plans, I may have to stay in Europe for a little while longer.
I so appreciate how very lucky I am to have the health, funds, support and now the confidence again to travel.
Got me some more livin’ and travellin’ to do first!