I love to travel. The new cultures, the new foods and the new surroundings make me feel alive. The one thing I remember most about cancer treatment was the fear of being grounded and not being able to afford to travel.
Of course, I was focusing on staying alive and surviving the treatment but travelling was always in my thoughts. When I got the ‘NED’ phone call, the ‘No Evidence of Disease’ phone call, my husband was literally holding the laptop beside me booking flights to Rome. We lived in Rome previous to my diagnosis and we were itching to go back.
There is a sense of freedom when you travel. I love to pack a small case, hop on a flight and experience the new. What I love the most about a new country is the sunset. The sunset is different in every country. In my recent visit to the Middle East, the sunset is enormous and has a mystical feel when accompanied with the call for prayer. I find it enchanting.
As a cancer survivor, like many of you reading, you learn to appreciate the simple things in life. When you travel this can be the different sounds of birds, how a tomato tastes in a different country, and the sound of people talking in a different language. You truly feel thankful for being able to experience these small but amazing things.
Travelling to a foreign country also helps you put life into perspective. It shows you just how small you are in the world. Cancer is horrific, unforgiving and heartbreaking. When you travel and experience the new, cancer seems so small, almost like it didn’t exist. That’s how it makes me feel anyway.
Travelling to far a field is not always on someone’s priority list. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and of course there is a cost in travel. The journey you take depends on numerous factors. For me, it is at the very top of my priority list. I chose to limit spending on expensive things to afford travel. I chose to work long hours to afford travel. It is such a passion of mine. I would be devastated to give it up.
There have been points in my recovery were I have questioned why I want to travel so much. Am I running away from my experience? Am I not being present in what is actually happening? On a recent trip to Phuket, I mulled over these questions a lot. My conclusion was this. I travel because I want to experience as much of the world as I can, just in case something else happens.
You never truly know what is around the corner. I was in total shock when I was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. Today I chose to say yes to travel. I chose to travel as much I as possibly can and experience as much as I can. I feel like it enriches my life.
Life is far too short. Make space for what matters. Find time to travel.