Traveling with a Chronic Illness: Don’t let it hold you back!

Travel is one of my favorite things. I love experiencing new places, and I have been fortunate to go on a lot of cool trips, many of which were before my diagnosis and the pandemic.

Having a medical condition like CVID has made me feel limited in so many ways, and at one point I thought that my life was slipping away. With so many doctor appointments, treatments, and biopsies, I felt like I wouldn’t get a chance to do all those “bucket list” things that other young adults were doing.

Once my mind gets into a dark headspace, it can be hard to get out.

But, when the opportunity arose to travel with my parents to visit my brother in Europe, I knew this was something that I couldn’t miss. Chronic illness can strike at any time, so I knew that I had to prepare myself to the best of my ability!

I had an amazing time in Europe, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how you can travel and enjoy yourself!

Don’t let intrusive thoughts ruin your chances of having a good time

Ever since my CVID diagnosis, I have suffered from very anxious thoughts. “What if I get sick?” “Maybe I’ll be too tired” “Maybe I shouldn’t go.” These thoughts come to steal joy from me, and it took me a while to figure out how to combat them.

I went to Europe for about 10 days, and during that time I was able to visit Germany, Switzerland, and France. I visited my brother, who lives in Bavaria, and I traveled with my mom and dad! I live in a different city than my entire family, so this was such a special time. I am happy that I was able to prepare myself mentally and physically to try and enjoy myself! Fatigue and other symptoms can arise, but I am lucky that I can navigate them fairly well.

My mom told me a great way to deal with anxious thoughts. Ask yourself, “is this true?” Maybe you are worried that you will get really sick. While that is a possibility, that is not certain. And if the worst-case scenario does happen, you know that you can trust yourself to deal with it to the best of your ability.

Don’t let chronic illness hold you back!
My mom and I in Paris!

Get ahead of your symptoms

This took me a very long time to learn. With CVID, many things can arise – fatigue, any kind of infection, etc. I tend to get headaches and I know that I need to be very hydrated. I also fight extreme fatigue almost daily.

So, how do I get ahead of my symptoms? I start learning how I remedy them and have the proper remedies available to me.

If I feel fatigued, I know that I need to let myself rest (which I am not always good at). Maybe I need to go to bed early or take a nap in the afternoon. One night, I had to tell my parents and my brother that I couldn’t have dinner with them and I needed to go to bed. They totally understood! And I was able to recharge for the next day.

Visiting Paris!
My brother and I 🙂

I also made sure to do my plasma treatment right before I left, so that I would have good immune strength for the entire trip.

Weiden, Germany
Where my brother lives in Germany!

It is impossible to just act like a chronic illness doesn’t exist, and unexpected things may come up. And to be honest, it really sucks. However, being as prepared as possible has really helped me. And as time goes on, I hope that I continue to learn about my body’s reactions and how to alleviate symptoms as much as possible.

Travel is a beautiful thing, and you deserve to treat yourself!

My chronic illness has reminded me that life is crazy and unexpected. Things aren’t always going to go the way that I envisioned them. And that is okay. When I relax and let life happen, it is really amazing. I want to take these opportunities to show people that you still can have a full life, even when dealing with a really difficult medical condition.

Eat good food, see the world, and spend time with people that you love!

Maison Sauvage
Maison Sauvage in Paris
Food in Paris
Food + coffee at Maison Sauvage

I suggest making a list of places that you want to travel to. It doesn’t need to be soon – it could be in five years! Dreaming about these things is the first step to making them a reality.

I definitely want to travel more in the future, and I will continue to learn more about my condition and how to stay healthy while traveling.

Some relevant articles I love!

Read about my time in Strasbourg, France. 🙂

Guide to Strasbourg, France


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