Planning Our Dream Traveling Trip with Endo: Part 2

Read Part 1 here.
In the final installment of this series, couple Jessica and Chris discuss the considerations they have to make when planning a long-term travel trip with multiple chronic conditions.

Why have you decided to travel now?

From Chris: Another factor in why now might be the perfect time to travel is because our expenses have seriously gone down during this extended lockdown period and this has allowed us to save some money whilst not increasing Jess’ (or my own) workload to an unmanageable degree. We’re able to continue living a life that manages Jess’ symptoms, whilst making progress with our dreams. We also realized that as we both work from home (Jess for reasons of endo management), we are able to continue our work wherever we are, and the bills and rent we pay now will cover the costs of being away. It really highlights the power that remote working can have in helping people with a chronic condition like endo live a better life!

What do you need to consider when traveling for an extensive amount of time with endometriosis?

From Jessica: Truly this is a bit of a concern. It depends where we decide to go, but some of the Nordic countries aren’t great for those of us who need to avoid gluten and dairy. But as I do with any trip, I’ll visit the supermarkets on arrival and search for health food stores (I always find at least one) and I’ll research for places to eat ahead of booking.

My main focus right now is ensuring I can bring my SIBO treatment and endo supplements with me. I’ll be taking herbal antibiotics and maybe the elemental diet formula after that, and so will need to be able to get those on the plane.

The other thing is quite honestly the self-discipline it’ll require for me to avoid sugary treats like Swedish cinnamon buns, as sugar is one of my biggest triggers! I can get away with a little sugar in my ovulation phase, so I’ll certainly be running out to a bakery when those parts of my cycle come round!

Another issue is that part of my SIBO treatment requires a three-month low carbohydrate diet to prevent relapse. It most definitely won’t be easy living in Nordic countries with all their delicious food, whilst following a restrictive diet, but I can expand as soon as possible – so I won’t be super strict the whole time.

The final piece of the puzzle is the prep work. When we went away to Cape Town, there was so much for me to organize and plan that I was totally exhausted by it. This trip will require even bigger prep because we’ll be giving up our rental flat, so we’ll have to organize storage, sell furniture and essentially uproot our entire lives! Given my recent ill health, we’re trying to pace it and I personally have a goal of trying to do one small thing each day to help us get ready.

From Chris: We have a very good routine of managing endo where we are now – as in I know what shops to head to if Jess needs something urgently, or which supermarkets sell certain gluten-free products that we eat – and it’s taken a long time to build that routine. Re-establishing it in another country – so as Jess said, finding supermarkets that sell the right foods, eating gluten-free etc. – feels like a bit of a challenge right now as we don’t really know what we’ll be able to find there.

Something else to consider is the current COVID19 situation in which travel bans, restrictions, and quarantine rules may change without warning. This is of particular concern to someone with a chronic condition like endometriosis because no matter how well you manage the condition, it’s important to be able to have access to your doctor.

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