Welcome back to Women Who Wander, the series where ladies share their stories of solo female travel. The first Women Who Wander post went live a year ago yesterday! I can’t belive how many of you have wanted to share you incredible stories. You have all inspired me so much this year andso many others with your experiences! I hope to continue this series on for as long as you want to share your stories. This week, Katie is sharing her empowering and honest experience of travelling with Endometriosis, and how she refused to allow it to hinder her travels! What an inspiring lady!
Katie is a former fat-girl turned dream chasing travel blogger with a mission to inspire others to see the beauty of the world and live life to the fullest. She has a passion for all things travel, photography, nature and generally anything outside of the ever dangerous comfort zone. When she isn’t traveling, you can find her cuddled up with her two dogs and a warm cup of tea, blogging away on her own website www.thekatieshowblog.
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Like many who have shared their stories in the Women Who Wander series, I have a love of solo travel. I love to travel in general, but there is just something special about traveling alone. Perhaps it’s the freedom to do exactly what you want, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with relying on yourself for problem solving or the reflection that comes during the stillness of alone time. I’m not sure which I like best, but solo travel is definitely my favorite.
I do have a little travel friend though. A ‘friend’ called Endometriosis. It’s a chronic and incurable disease that affects so many women around the world, and perhaps there are women reading this who have it and know exactly what I am talking about. Basically, it’s an issue with a woman’s reproductive organs that causes intense pain, bloating, chronic fatigue, inability to digest food and a string of other fun symptoms. While on the outside, you look normal to everyone, your body can be at war with itself on the inside. Really fun friend to have right?
Don’t Let it Stop You!
When I was diagnosed, I began to read as much as I could about the disease. What I found was a narrative about how hard the disease was and almost using it as a reason to not accomplish things. Like a stubborn toddler, I crossed my arms, dug my heels in and flat out refused to subscribe to this narrative. I had been traveling and adventuring for years and wasn’t about to let a disease stop me. I’m too young to be stopped and, I mean come on, I have a dream list to get through!
Instead, I started listening to my body. I found the triggers that can set off a flare of symptoms and I try to minimize them as much as possible. Sometimes though, they can be set off without warning like the time I was out and about in Austria and swelled to twice my size from an Endo flare. All my clothes left deep, red welts from cutting into me and I was feeling tired and in a lot of pain. I saw the sights I wanted to see, moving a little slower than usual, and retired back into the hotel for some much needed rest after dinner. It’s probably no surprise that I wasn’t taking any cute photos on that trip.
Times like these (and there have been plenty of similar moments in my travels) are good examples of how having Endometriosis has changed my travel a little. Sometimes I can’t do as much as I would like, sometimes I have to push physical pain into the back of my mind while I experience what is in front of me and sometimes it takes me a little longer to do things but I’ve never let it stop me.
You Can Overcome Anything
Now, I’m not super brave or tough or anything like that. Far from it. I’m just your average, regular (and possibly a little stubborn) woman and I share my story here and on my blog to hopefully share how you can overcome your challenges and accomplish any of your goals if you want them bad enough.
For me, I have Endometriosis and it’s one of my biggest hurdles when traveling, but we all have our challenges to overcome. Perhaps your challenge is finances and trying to find ways to save for your big trip, perhaps it is your own fear of taking the plunge and visiting somewhere new or perhaps it is something else entirely. It doesn’t matter what it is, no-one is immune to having challenges placed in their path. We all have them and, as annoying as they can be, I think the best moments happen when you overcome them.
It’ll Be Worth It
It’s probably going to take a little thinking outside the box, a lot of work and some sacrifice to overcome your challenge but if you want to reach that goal or live out that dream, it will be worth it right? I can only speak from my own experience but traveling for me usually takes some effort. What you don’t see on my website is the sacrifice, early nights or swollen body full of surgery scars, but I can tell you, whether I’m doing local adventures or international holidays – it’s always been so worth it. I love these travel memories that I make and am glad I didn’t subscribe to ‘the norm’ of what I was reading about living with a disease.
I want to remind you that whatever your challenge is, it doesn’t need to be the end. Your obstacles don’t need to mean that you can’t create a life that you want. Think of them more as a hurdle that you just need to get over instead of a road block that stops you completely. You know yourself better than anyone and you know your dreams. Now it’s just time to go and chase them!
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