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We spoke to Sheryl, founder of A Chronic Voice (previously featured on our top 8 women bloggers article) about her experiences of travelling with chronic conditions. Read below for her story, in which she explains where her passion for travelling came from, shares some of her adventures and a list of useful tips for people travelling with a chronic illness.

The importance of travelling

I have a huge love for travelling to places that are a little off-the-grid, which is something my dad instilled in me as a kid. We’d travel to ‘non-touristy’ destinations and stay with the locals. He loved that ‘authenticity’ where we’d get to experience what life was like for others. Holidays for me, whilst growing up, were never in a luxury hotel (though yes I do enjoy that now, too!).

I think that travelling as a child taught me some important life lessons that surprisingly, also apply to managing chronic illness. It is a reminder that there is no ‘normal’, which is a comforting and confident thought as someone who’s chronically ill. I always also feel a sense of liberation. The world is a big place. The possibilities are endless. It truly is your oyster, and there is so much space and potential for me, yet


Travelling with chronic illness

Unfortunately, chronic illnesses are scary things to carry along with my backpack and weigh me down the most. Whilst pain flares from Lupus or Sjögren’s Syndrome can be horrific, it is my blood clotting disorder, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, that I worry about the most. I can pretty much bleed or clot to death at any time and would require immediate emergency attention and/or blood transfusion. My blood type is rare too with autoantibodies, which makes it even trickier.

Many of the places I’ve travelled to do not even have a hospital. But I tell myself that the dreams I have are bigger than my fears, and it’s something I have to do in my lifetime. I just need to plan as carefully as I can and leave the rest up to the journey. My take is that even a healthy person can die crossing the road.

I would say that my most memorable travel experience was my month-long Trans-Mongolian/Siberian trip. We travelled from China to Russia by train and foot and finished up in Norway by air. I was fortunate that two friends joined me at the very last minute; it’s always better with a company when you’re ill.

Tips for travellers with chronic illnesses

Here are my biggest tips for travelling when you’re chronically ill:

True enough, something set one of them off, and the entire team went wild. The toughest guy in the group got thrown off and so did my friend, who blacked out and had bad soft tissue damage.

My horse ran the furthest, but I managed to cling on, as I had reacted by instinct from the prep I gave my brain beforehand. I clung onto the reins immediately and started singing to my horse until it calmed down.

If I had been the one to be thrown off, it would possibly mean death due to excessive bleeding and clotting. I also have weak bones from long-term and high-dose steroid usage.

For more chronic illness travel tips, read my post here. Also, here’s my old travel blog that I should really update, after the pandemic.

Happy adventures to you!

Cheryl’s Bio:

Sheryl comes from the sunny island of Singapore, and blogs about health, wellness and chronic illness on A Chronic Voice.

She lives with multiple chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders, namely: Antiphospholipid Syndrome, Lupus (SLE), Sjögren’s Syndrome Epilepsy, PSVT (a heart rhythm disorder), has a repaired mitral valve, clinical depression and anxiety. She’s also had four near-death experiences in her life!

She has an energetic sheltie called Talisker that keeps her on her aching toes, and lovely cockatiels and budgies that love to nap on her shoulder as she works.

If you would like to follow her on socials, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Do you still have questions about travelling or need any tips? Head over to our community Facebook group: Together for Better Days, a safe space for people who experience chronic pain to come together for support and advice on a range of topics.

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