This morning I read a wonderful article on The Mighty: When I Saw the Adventurous Life I Envisioned Before My Illness Slip Away which spoke a great deal to how I can feel at times. I recommend that you read it for yourself, but in brief, it speaks of a young woman diagnosed with a chronic illness who is having to come to terms with changing her plan for a life travelling the world. There are days when I can let myself think like this, and these were almost every day in the first six months after loosing my eye sight and realising my mobility problems were not a temporary blip; but most days now I think differently.
My Travel Plans (as were)
I will see everything there is to see in the world; all the amazing sights and people and cultures and buildings and natural wonders.
I will stand on Antarctica and walk in colonies of penguins; drive an RV through New Zealand and see the land of giants; watch the sunset over deserts; trek through forests to see orangutans; worry about bears in Alaska and time eruptions in Iceland; see the Northern Lights and watch dolphins and whales time and time again; try disgusting food because it's better to have tried and disliked than never to have tried it at all.
It was all mapped out, every square inch of the planet a place to be seen and explored and captured with my camera and shared with Rachel and Mike. It was a life full of adventure and fun but absolutely no bungee jumping!!
My Travel Plans (as I grieved)
There's no point in even trying to go to any of the places I have always wanted to see, because I can't see. There's no point in expecting to trek through jungles or take a boat up the amazon, because I can't trek or even get on a little boat let alone sit in it for hours. There's no point planning to see the Northern Lights because they're subtle and will not be bright enough for my little sight to pick up, and I will be too tired by the evening to be able to cope with the trips anyway etc etc. A spiral of can nots and will nots and impossibilities for the future.
I have come through the grief (I'll be blogging about how that happened) and now .....
My Travel Plans for life
I will experience everything I possibly can in the world; all the amazing sights and people and cultures and buildings and natural wonders. I will find ways of travelling which make it possible; we are trying cruising this summer to see how that works for me. I will meet people from different cultures and enjoy their company because it's always been more about their stories than about what they look like. I will visit the natural wonders and I will hear through Mike and Rachel what I can not see and we will take photos and I will use technology, there at the place, to see it the very best way I can. I will open my ears and hear the waterfalls; I will touch the rocks and the ice of the glaciers and I will feel the wind and spray from the sea. I will feel the joy of those around me and my own as I travel with loved ones and place memories in my heart.
I might be in a wheelchair, or scooter, or perhaps in a funky off-roading contraption and I will find a way. I might need assistance, but we all need assistance from loved ones or experts whenever we travel, it's just a different form of help.
I have it all mapped out and it's the whole world. I will see as much as it's possible to see and I will see it with the whole of me; I will experience it as me and it will be awesome. No disability is going to stop me, my only limitation is money and let's be clear, that was always the limiting factor but it doesn't matter in dreams and plans for the future.