Travellin’ shoes

Travelin' Shoes

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!

P1060383_2          P1060441          P1060390

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).

P1060504   IMG_0728   IMG_0752   Tromsø airport with Wendy

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!

Antwerp Antwerp cathedralAs 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?

StatueLibertyIMG_0627I’d love to go over to New York to see my cute two year old nephew before he turns three.

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!

Marianne's house in MarrakechMarianne's house in Marrakech 2I 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.

keffiyehI 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.

Turkey-making-breadava sofia mosque - istanbulIf 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.

RomeVenice-ItalyThat’s fine by me… another friend and I are talking about driving to Italy this summer – a bit of a Room with a View scenario is playing out in my head.

florence ponte vecchioSiena-view(Have I said this before? Yup, this time last year. So, I better get on with it, eh?)… Venice, Rome, Florence, Siena and maybe even dangerous Naples.

I so appreciate how very lucky I am to have the health, funds, support and now the confidence again to travel.

NaplesThey say, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori!” [See Naples and die], but I’m not quite ready for that either…

Got me some more livin’ and travellin’ to do first!

This entry was posted in * Myeloma and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Travellin’ shoes

  1. Helen Wolfson says:


    Where is the last wonderfully colorful picture from? Helen


  2. Simon Hancox says:

    I love this blog Jet, really colourful, vibrant and full of the joys of life. I love the fact that you’re clearly connecting with people, that’s such a special gift to have. You have that Jet, many can clearly see that. Your photos are really super too 🙂 xx


  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. And yes, you are most welcome to visit me in Vancouver. Perhaps by then I will be able to travel myself and join you on parts of your trip, perhaps to San Francisco.

    I envy you Europeans to have so many amazing places/countries in proximity to each other. North America is amazing but it would be nice to easily fly somewhere else at a reasonable cost.

    For me, it costs more to go see my family in Quebec City than to go to Hawaii. Traveling within Canada is very expensive, how strange is that.

    Anyways, hope all is well and it sounds like it is.

    Big hugs!



  4. Morag says:

    Great to hear you sounding happy and confident! xxx


  5. bill mchugh says:

    Nicely written – i’ve two friends that created a website (what would now be a blog) when they went traveling. They sold their house on the UWS of Manhattan, shipped two motorcycles to Morocco and left for a 12-15 month tour – and returned 4 years later! Pictures and writing throughout and some really cool stuff! They were in norway which is why I thought of it! is their site

    Good to see this side of you (and not just the myeloma support page on fbook!)

    Let me know if you plan to visit Hong Kong, we used to live there from 2000-2003. Cheers…Bill


    • Jet Black says:

      Thanks Bill. It feels good to be able to write about other things than just treatments and side effects, even though as you can see, my travelling has also been affected by myeloma. Life is just different now.

      Hong Kong isn’t currently in my sights. I shan’t even check the insurance for that trip! But I lived in Indonesia in 1999-2000 and visited Singapore and Kuala Lumpur a couple of times.


  6. MakingSpace says:

    Rock ON!!! Also, this song came to mind: Constantinople


  7. I’m glad that you decided to come with me, it was even more enjoyable in your company and I’m also delighted that you liked your first winter activity holiday and that it has given you the confidence to consider trips to other places, wow so many! See you in Istanbul for dinner!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s