Daily Schedule

Ive just designed my daily schedule for the first few months of the upcoming year.

I know that many people do this, especially those with kids who participate in lots of activities.

Mine is colour coded and every day has at least some yellow.

Yellow is rest. (On a side note there, not sure if Ive mentioned, but I have synaesthesia, so when I say yellow is rest, take it literally)

I have no doubt that many would see my schedule as lazy; seriously, there is actually more yellow on the board than anything else.  There is only 2 hours of green,  Green is socialising.  It was an after thought.

So what is rest?  Somedays it is sitting on the couch, maybe with a book, maybe not.  Somedays it is walking along the beach.  Somedays it is pottering in the garden,  but all days, it is listening to my body and predicting what it needs, with plenty of time to grant it just that.

So my schedule is now pinned up behind my computer.  Its not printed in colour as my printer is not that fancy.  But that ok, I see the colours anyway.  The  first half of my year is locked away, there will be travel of course, after all thats my passion, but there is something about a schedule, to me, that is restful in its own right, Ive always loved a schedule.  It is a foundation stone; an anchor.  I’ve always said that I don’t mind what the future may hold, as long as I know well in advance and I really am happy to be spontaneous, as long as I have that anchor to come back to.

So what else is on the schedule?  Well writing of course, a weekly blog, a little bit on my novel, a lot less work than last year, and a little something else thats not offical yet.  So stay posted if you want to hear about that one.

But right now its 30 degrees, Ive had a lovely quiet day, and the beach is calling.

So off I go…Bye for now.

 

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Rest and Recuperation

Ah the good ole R&R.  People talk about it all the time.  But I question how many people truly understand what it means for them.

Now I am a lover of things like Myer Briggs personality test.  I know it is not the be all and end all of how you do life, but it certainly helps to understand people, and to understand yourself.

I am INFJ.  It one of the rare ones.  In simple terms it means I am very introverted.

Very.

But I also love people.

But they exhaust me.

So for me, Rest and Recuperation, means shutting out the outside world.  Sometimes for days at a time.

Add to this the fact that I have chronic pain.

Add to this the fact that many people have little understanding of any of the above.

And so I found it very difficult to come to a place where I could truly rest and recuperate without feeling guilty.

You see for many of my friends, a holiday means you go somewhere and do as much as possible.  You cram activities into every day and night, and you live with that good old catch phrase ‘fear of missing out’ you must see every site, taste every food, buy at every market, swim in every lake/river/ocean etc.  and for them, that s fine.  If thats the way they holiday then good on them.

But I confess I have to wonder.  I see so many people coming back from a holiday completely exhausted, often grumpy, and complaining about all the things they have to catch up on now that they’ve been away for a week.

And I just cant imagine living a life like that.

I dream of course, of what would it be like to have no pain.  But I don’t believe that I could live like that even without pain. And dare I say it, I honestly cannot see how it is a good lifestyle choice for so many people. We seem to live in a world where being highly driven is highly valued.  The ‘go hard or go home’ attitude is worshiped,  we have to ‘be our best’  ‘live to the fullest’.  But I say, actually there should be more of the ‘go home’ and that its quite ok to not be doing our best all the time, in fact, sometimes a half hearted attempt at something is ok,  sometimes its ok to actually not give a damn. Because sometimes we should let go of things, and just relax, and I don’t meant sit by the pool for an hour, then stress about all things you should have been doing, but tell yourself its ok because you really needed that hour, I mean STOP. Actually Stop, and let go of things.

I have learnt to enjoy my R&R by simply listening to my body and my emotions and following them, without guilt or fear of missing out.  ‘Without guilt’ took a long time to come to terms with.  I had people in my life who made that one hard.  It took me a while to realise, but I had to leave those people behind, and I know I am better off for it.

Sometimes, I look at lifestyles, like the Jews, and many Christian variations, that take the concept of a Sabbath very seriously. Now for the most part, I don’t believe a legalistic, religious lifestyle is right for me, or really, very relevant in todays society, however, the Sabbath idea has elements that I like.  A whole day once a week where you cannot do anything.  Without guilt.  A day where you cannot ‘go hard’ you have to ‘go home’. Where there is no pressure to ‘be your best’ because you are not being anything, you are not expected to ‘live to the fullest’, rather ‘rest the entire day’ and there is nothing to fear you might be missing out on.  I think there really is something in this.

So I guess my question to you today, is how do you get your R&R, and does it really work? Does it allow you to fill up your energy tanks, and go into the next task feeling like you are ready, or is it actually leaving you exhausted, full of guilt, or with a longer to do list than before.

Xx

 

 

Road Trip

This week, my daughter and I took a road trip to Canberra.  My eldest was graduating uni at ANU and so we went up for the ceremony.

Now, as a spoonie, road trips can be pretty tough, especially as I am the only fully licensed driver.  (My daughter is on her Ls so she can drive a bit, but seriously, that is NOT restful lol) So we decided to take the scenic route and drive it over 2 days.  A good decision, for many many reasons.

Firstly, its a much nicer drive.  Stunningly gorgeous coastline and some really quaint little towns, like Bairnsdale, where we stayed the first night.

Secondly, it meant breaking up the trip a bit which  is VERY important.  By the time we reached Bairnsdale everything ached.  My legs, my feet, my whole right side.  My left side was numb, so that didn’t hurt…I guess there is a positive in that.  And I was exhausted.  So we spent the late afternoon wandering slowly around the township (and discovered the beautiful church in the instagram picture.)

Thirdly, had we left when we originally intended and driven the Hume highway, we would have been just outside of Wangaratta when the flooding hit.  Did you hear about it?  It was in the news:  People escaping the flood waters by climbing on the tops of trucks, small hatchbacks were washed away;

we were driving a small hatchback,

Its pretty likely that we would not have made it on time to see the graduation and that would have been REALLY bad.

 

So the moral of that story could very easily be never hurry.  Always take the scenic route and don’t try to fit too much into one day.

Regardless of the story, its a good moral, and very good advice.

 

More about the trip in the ays to come.

 

On Planes Trains and Automobiles

“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Civilization, man feels once more happy.”

― Richard Francis Burton

Planes trains and automobiles are often no fun at all when you are a spoonie, or even when you are not.  For me, the actual travelling part takes its toll and the careful management goes into overdrive. Perhaps this is a part of the reason I like to travel solo.  I don’t have to worry about how my illness will bother anybody else, I can take my time and rest when needed.  Just to add insult to injury, I also get very nauseous when travelling. Now as soon as I say this, people jump in with suggestions: “Have you tried Ginger?” “what about xyz naturopathic what not” .

Yes I have tried them.

No they do not work.

Really, anything that you can buy over the pharmacy counter or at the airport newsagency is just not going to cut it.  Heavy prescription meds don’t cut it, I can take them all and still spend 60% of the flight or trip on the floor of the bathroom vomiting.

Don’t ever ask me to go on a cruise.

Also here are a few other myths to add to the ‘have you tried ginger’ list

  1. Be the driver.  This is a basic one, everyone knows that you don’t get sick when you are in the drivers seat right?          WRONG.  I get sick still, even on a straight road
  2. Drink plenty of fluids.    WRONG again.  Ill just throw them back up.
  3. Keep looking out the window.  WRONG, makes no difference at all

So here a few tips that DO make a difference, that may well surprise most people.

  1. Take the drugs!  I don’t like taking meds at all, perhaps because I have been on so many for so long, but sometimes they are really needed.  I take prescription anti nausea tablets, and while they only reduce the sickness a little it is completely worth it. (BONUS TIP:  Get a signed letter from your GP listing ALL the medications you are required to take when travelling internationally with meds  I might do a longer post about this one later.)
  2. Don’t eat the meals, instead take a packet of plain salty potato chips (Crisps) and a bag of sugary, chewy lollies, all the things that are usually bad for you, and nibble on them from time to time. These will tell your brain that you’ve eaten but wont sit heavily in your stomach.
  3. This one may come as a surprise, but have a gin and tonic.  Well, actually its the tonic water that is good, the gin is just a bonus (unless your meds mean you cant have alcohol, be clear about that one) DO NOT GET DRUNK.  Shouldn’t really have to mention that, its never going to be a good thing, but 1 G&T spread out over several hours, is good.  The quinine in the tonic water is excellent for settling stomach and muscles
  4. Travel by day.  Travelling by day means you can stay alert and awake.  Tiredness is a huge factor in nausea, as soon as your body decides its too tired to keep the content of the stomach in place, you are done, there is no turning back.  This of course doesn’t always work, and sometimes you have a long haul flight or train trip, so here are some extra tips about those:
  • Manage your trip so you have  long stopovers somewhere where you can lay down.  Like a day or so.  Get a hotel for the night, see a bit of the spot you have stayed in and make the trip a whole lot more pleasant.
  • Travel business class.  Ok, so trust me I know thats almost impossible on a budget, but I had the privilege of  being able to do this recently and WOW did it make a difference.  I got to lay down for 9 of the 11 hour flight, and at the end of it, I felt ok.  Im not going to say I felt amazing, but I suspect I felt, what most non-spoonies feel after a 11 hr trip in cattle class. Which is pretty damn good for me.
  • Try to lay down wherever and whenever you can, and doze if possible.  I take sleeping pills as well as the anti-nausea ones (all prescribed by the  same doc who knows what goes with what and what doesn’t) and while I hate that I have to have them, I know how much better I cope with even a little sleep.

 

The last thing to remember is to be kind to yourself, don’t push yourself, thinking it will be fine, chances are it wont. Allow more time than most people would to get from a to b, and try as much as possible to travel light and organised . (Ill write another post about that one soon!)

 

Happy Travels

 

Xx

 

The Basics

Hello and welcome to what I hope to be a great place for all my fellow travel loving spoonies out there. With this Blog I hope to share support, ideas and experiences as well as anecdotes of my life.  So lets start by getting to know me.

Just by the title, you’ve already guessed that I love travelling and I’m a spoonie.  If you don’t know what a spoonie is then check out this; Blog: https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

but here are a few other details:

I am over 40. (Lets just leave that one there!)

I like to travel solo, but sometimes I travel with others.

I am an introvert.

I am  divorced  with 2 grown up kids.

I work part time in a job that I love, but I suspect that wont come up much on this blog.

I live in regional Victoria, Australia, near the beach, which I love.

As for my health, well, thats a saga so here are a few bits and pieces.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with Hyper Excitable Peripheral Nerve Syndrome. (Isaac Syndrome)   No one has heard of it.  There are possibly 5 or 6 people in Australia with it. Its actually so rare that I cant even find a decent website to link to,

and just because life isn’t even that simple, I also have a long list of other things:

Apparently I have fibromyalgia.  I say apparently as it was a psychologist who diagnosed this not a GP.  I have friends with Fibro, and I see what they go through, and I can see the similarities, but Ive never been entirely sure if what I experience is a part of the Isaacs Syndrome or is additional to.

I have asthma.

I have extremely low Vitamin D and Iron Levels.  The Vitamin D is managed with big dose supplements, but the Iron is causing me some grief.  Supplements haven’t worked, and so surgery is scheduled for early December.

Oh and lets not forget the big ‘C’ word.  Yep, cancer….well, I feel a bit of an imposter when I say that.  I had a stage 1 melanoma cut out of my leg early this year, and its all gone.  But I have to have 3 monthly checks and when I go into the clinic, the treat me like a cancer patient, the language they use is reassuring, but they don’t beat around the bush, I am a cancer patient. But I feel like a cancer patient is one who has been through chemo and had months of stress and pain, and so, I feel like the imposter.

Migraines.  Yep those too, although, to be honest, they are few and far between these days, thanks to living a life of much less stress.

 

I think thats about all for now.  Its enough for an intro post.  Stay tuned for the next instalment.

 

Xx