Traveling Fear. When I told my family that I wanted to travel to a third world country, and live there for two months, without a haematologist in sight, my plans were not received well.
I have written before about Chronic illness and Fear. It is a hard thing to speak about; a difficult thing to confess to. But what is also difficult is trying to manage other peoples fears about you. I wanted to chat about how scared I was but excited at the same time. What I found myself doing, as I slowly prepared to leave the country, was placating everyone else’s fears about my plans.
Admitting that you’re scared about something is a really hard thing to do. Even more so when you admit your fears and you hear this, ‘Well, don’t go if you’re so scared.’
I didn’t want to simply ‘not go’ because I was worried. I did not want to live my whole life in one country because I was worried about what my travel insurance would and would not cover. I just wanted to talk about it. (Just to be clear – I had decided I would not go if my platelets were under 30 – I got them to 44 before we left. And leave, we certainly did!)
For the last hundred years, mothers seem to have been running a really great marketing campaign for worry. Mothers have sold the world on the idea that worry = love. (Jenny, if you’re reading this, I love that you worry about me – Never stop!) What I am talking about is the idea that people share their worries about you, as a way of telling you they love you. Can you love someone and not worry about them, I wonder?
When I realised that I could not get travel insurance for anything related to ITP, I did not give up. I called a few companies and eventually found a plan that would allow me to register my ITP with them, and the medication I was taking as a preexisting condition. I would still be covered for theft, stolen property, natural disasters and car accidents that weren’t my fault. I was told the sports I was not allowed to do and would not be covered for, and I was not allowed to hire or drive a car. I had to register that I was immunocompromised and they told me that there would be certain health conditions that I would not be covered for.
When I spoke to my doctor about travel insurance we spoke for a long time about the potential risks and banned me from patting dogs in Thailand. Done.
I kept planning. I kept hearing about all the terrible things that might happen to me, from a few people around me, and from my own head! Planning my trip was wrought with fear. As the date to fly out came closer and closer, it was hard to tell what part of that fear was reasonable. Had I just worked myself up, or was this really a stupid idea? Of course, we should not get complacent…
I tried to imagine, I was healthy, what would I be afraid of. Would I still be freaking out?
So guess what – It’s ok. Let yourself worry, as much as you need to. But still go. Prepare as much as you can, and then go. Let your friends and family say everything they need to, and worry as much as they like, and love them for every moment of it – But still go.
How do you get over your fear of traveling? In short, you don’t. You just go anyway and hope for the best. I have made a check list for before you travel, here. Of course you need to be sensible and safe, and always chat with your doctors about everything you are planning – and then go.
If you are prepared and smart and care for your body at all times.
Then just go.