Travelling brings me so much happiness ­– the excitement pre-trip, the new experiences, friendships, food… what’s not to love? I don’t think I’ll ever tire of wanting to see new places and learn more about our cultures and history, but this passion to travel really took hold one life-changing summer in my early 20s.

Some of you who’ve been following our adventures for some time may already know this story, but for those who don’t here’s a short recap ­– my life got turned upside down when at the age of 22 I suffered extensive blood clots that ravaged the lower half of my body. For those who’re interesting in learning more about what happened, and how I’ve recovered, then you may want to read my post about travelling with an invisible illness, but today I want to talk about one of the positive things that came from this whole experience – my passion for travel.

This incident happened mere weeks before I was supposed to be heading off on a big family holiday to Malta – our first in a good few years. Sadly in the early days I wasn’t able to bear weight on my legs at all, so I waved my family off and told myself I’d plan a trip of my own when better.

It’s not safe to fly

As the weeks progressed I focused on pushing myself to stand, step, walk etc all while trying to understand why the clot happened and what it meant. Of course, 15+ years ago they didn’t know all the answers and so with the knowledge they had at the time, my doctors’ advice was not…to…fly.

I was crushed. At 22 I’d only just started to explore. My longest flight had been eight hours to Disneyland and I’d only started dreaming of visiting exotic locations like Japan, or Costa Rica.

But, I was, and still am, a stubborn cow. Telling me I couldn’t fly was like a red rag to a bull. If someone tells me I can’t do something then I’ll find a way – being told I wouldn’t be able to travel the world made me want to more than ever! So I started looking for solutions – maybe my future trips would have to be cruises, or perhaps I could go on long train adventures? These all sounded fun, but being able to fly would give me so many more opportunities to travel.

Keri in Sri Lanka.
Knackered but happy in Sri Lanka.

Finding a way

So began bugging the doctors with a million questions and tried to find out everything I could about blood clots and the risks of flying. This gave me a focus, and one I think really helped me push myself. I decided that if I could get myself as well as possible then perhaps I’d be able to fly.

18 months after my clot I felt ready to take the leap and I booked my first flight, a weekend in Barcelona with my bestie. It was a small but scary step ­­– this first trip was around two hours, and I’d researched my ass off on how to keep healthy and lower my risk of clotting on a flight (and I’ve shared everything I’ve learnt about this in my post Air travel tips from a blood clot survivor).

That first flight

I’ll be honest, I was petrified throughout that flight – worrying about every twitch in my legs, but aside from some extra discomfort, some nasty bruising and swelling I was fine and had an amazing trip.

Over time, as my health continued to improve I pushed my boundaries further and further, doing a five hour flight, then later an eight hour flight. With each trip I got a better understanding of what my new ‘normal’ was and accepted that although flying was more uncomfortable and often painful for me, as long as I took care, it wouldn’t cause me any true damage.

My clot gave me this passion for travel, and I’m grateful

I’d always wanted to travel, but being told I couldn’t really lit a fire in my belly. I may have to be extra careful when I travel by breaking flights up and not sleeping on overnight flights (boo!) but I’ve made sure my condition hasn’t stopped me from seeing the world and all it’s wonders.

Although I wouldn’t wish my condition on anyone in a way I’m grateful for it, as it made me even more determined to see more of our beautiful planet. I truly appreciate every experience I have and I never take the wonder of travel for granted. We’re all so lucky to live in this amazing world, and even luckier that we have the opportunity to explore it.

What ignited your passion for travel? I’d love to hear about it – so please share your stories in the comments below!

 

Against all odds: the story behind my passion for travel | Ladies What Travel

 

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18 thoughts on “Against all odds: the story behind my passion for travel

  1. Thank you for sharing more of your story. I’ve always admired your determination to fulfil your dreams, and hopefully you’ll get to visit every place you ever want to!

  2. Wow, what a story! How amazing that you were able to overcome and fulfill your dreams! You’re very brave. #farawayfiles

  3. Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m so glad that you didn’t let it stop you from seeing this beautiful world! I really admire your determination! For me, my passion for travel was ignited by my parents. They always encouraged me to see the world when I was little and would take me on trips. I’ve taken their advice to heart and try to see at least one new place a year (I’m a part-time traveler).

    1. Thanks Bryna! Yes parents can have a huge influence on us right? My mum was the same. When she was young she had the opportunity to travel around Canada visiting relatives, so she gave me the same opportunity to live with my cousin in the US one summer after I completed my exams. 😀

  4. I love your story! I’m the same – whenever people tell me that I can’t do something, I’m only determined to do it even more!! So good for you that you’re continuing to travel and inspire others!

  5. Wow, very interesting story. I can see how being told you can’t travel would make you want to travel more. I think I would be the same way.

    1. It’s always the way isn’t it Erin. Is someone tells you can’t do something it makes you want to do it more!

  6. It’s a brutiful story Keri – thank you for sharing it with #FarawayFiles. I applaud your determination and appreciate your gratefulness (see what I did there? ;). It’s the falling down that makes us who we are, but the getting back up. And up and up. Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  7. I’m glad that you’re able to pursue your passion for travel despite the health challenges. Kudos to you for pushing the boundaries! And travel does not have to be flying off to a destination faraway – we can always explore the places that close to us, slowly venturing farther away while improving our circumstances, be it money, health or time. Eventually, we will reach our goals, achieve our dreams. Wishing you best of luck in your health, and please continue to travel! 🙂

    1. Thank you Kat, that’s lovely. And yes, it’s true that we all have so much to see on our doorsteps, right?

  8. Wow, this is such an inspiring story! I can only imagine what you have to go through and what you went through initially. I think it’s fantastic you’ve pushed yourself and proved others wrong. Keep doing it! 🙂

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