Some of you may be wondering what it was like for me. Leaving the comforts of home going off to school on my own and traveling by myself.
I know I have talked about my travels and the places I have gone but I never talked about what it was like traveling and dealing with my disability.
The first thing I can say, going through life alone is hard enough, but than take me outside of my comforts and it’s a totally different ball game.
Now I know I talked about getting my Masters and things I did while I was in school, but I didn’t talk enough about how I dealt with life on my own.
First I can say getting off the plane and looking around, I think my body was in a bit of a shock. In my mind, I was thinking, I can’t believe I am here and I am doing this. Other worries were, am I going to make any friends and how were people going to accept me.
Now once I get everything taken care of, and I headed back to my room. I looked around and plopped on my bed and closed my eyes for a few minutes. It took a while for things to really soak in.
Once I got up, I started to unpack my suitcase. My mind was still racing and I knew I had certain things I needed to get down before Uni started. One of the things I needed to do was get a hold of my disability advisor, this is because the week before I left I didn’t hear from him. So I wanted to make a effort to get in touch.
Once I got a hold of him, things began to feel real. We got a regular schedule of a weekly meeting with him. Which helped out a great deal. It was the first of my routines. I had a daily ritual of getting up at 9am and showering, It was nice having a shower in my room and class at 10am and classes close to my flat.
Once I had a routine, I began to feel a more secure in things. I felt I belonged there. After a while my disability advisor set me up with a Well Being advisor I had two of them. One I saw for a while, but than she had to stop seeing clients because she was going back for her PhD. Than I started see the second one.
The well being advisor were great, they made sure I was eating right, getting enough sleep and gave advice on how to eliminate stress. My first well being advisor gave me a mediation CD to use unfortunately I didn’t have a CD player, just my Laptop. My second one I know have talked about showed me a pathway to a orchard which I used a lot.
I was lucky enough that I am a outgoing person, and I was well accepted in my group of friends, I also have a few female friends who kind of took on the role of looking out for me. I still keep up with a few of them.
Things were tough for me, I had to deal with banking issues off and on, making sure I was on time for classes and appointments. But I managed to get though it all.
You may think, getting around should be easy with a cell phone and GPS. Actually yes and no. There were times my I didn’t get cell service or phone died. A good example of this was I was in Germany, and I was supposed to meet my friend for dinner.
She had told me I need to see certain things, which I did, but I forgot to bring the my external battery with me. So as I am walking around my phone died!
Now I didn’t remember the name of the restaurant, and I needed a way to figure out how to get back. I was able to rely on my senses to where I found a bicycle taxi.. The guy very nice, it was getting cold so he had a blanket in his carriage. I told I had no cash on me, but if took me to the a cash station I can get him his cash. I get out what I owed him and he than took me to the train station where I got back to my room and charged my phone and apologized to my friend.
There were times were, I kind of panicked, but I reminded myself, that I need to stay calm. I was never afraid to ask for directions. I mentioned this in one of my posts. When I was in Italy, I wandered around away from my comfort of my hotel and couldn’t figure out how to get back, so I asked someone in a restaurant and than in a police station.
The main thing to remember when traveling around is always stay calm and focused, this way you don’t get over whelmed.
I am not new to flying, I have gone on several trips through my life time. But never on my own. So this was a huge step outside my comfort zone.
There was several emotions going though me, it was so hard to process. I talked about my experience in the airport and how I calmed down once I bored, but I never talked about all my other flights from country to country.
As I headed to my destination, which was Ireland. I was a bit nervous to the point where the day before, I could not think or concentrate. I tied to hang out with my Hogwarts society as they were doing stuff, but my mind was all over the place. So I headed out and just walked around campus to clear my head.
Some times I can give you as your travel are:
- Make a list, of things you need
- Practice Packing. (So you can pack enough clothes in your bag) I watched videos on how to pack clothes so I can fit what I needed into my suitcase.
- Stay Calm.. This is important. You want to have a clear head as you fly.
- Read the signs.. (Only time I got confused was in Italy, I got so turned around in the airport I went seeking help)
- Keep things you want with on the plane (Book, Phone, Tablet, Laptop if its a small one) Don’t pack them. Also remember when traveling to make sure your batteries are charged, they will ask you to turn then on.
For me I made sure I had a Uber app on my phone and registered to my credit card.. This is so important.. This is how I got from airport to hotel. Also DO NOT keep anything in your back pockets.
I kept nothing in my pockets. I had made a smart purchase, before I left and bought a SCOTTeVest. This vest was a life saver, this is because I was able to keep everything zipper up and safe. My vest has over 40 pockets inside and out.
Always try to think two steps ahead of yourself when you out and about. Remember to always take what you need with you.
I did make a few mistakes here and there. In Athens, I had bad timing, so I emailed the tour company and got lucky. Actually got my own personal tour and in I missed out on my Vatican tour due to timing. Even in school I missed a play I had purchased a ticket to go see which I would of loved to see.
If you are not comfortable traveling alone, find someone who enjoys traveling as much as you do.
I hope this helps you, because I know I had fun traveling and plan on to keep traveling
Amy Leah HartmanFebruary 21, 2019 at 3:52 pm
Reid: I love reading about your travels bc I never did actually hear about them! And I am moved and deeply impressed that you are taking the time to share what you experienced, what was challenging for you, what you learned, how you coped… right on cuz!
ReidFebruary 21, 2019 at 5:19 pm
Coming from you that truely means a lot. I want people to feel that they are not alone in this world and there are people who truely do care about them.