Friday, May 16, 2014

Operation Snowbird

If you have ever seen my instagram feed, then you know that I love to travel with my family. Exploring God's creation is one of my joys in life. My husband is a much more fun person when he is on vacation. My children learn more when seeing and experiencing cultures and sights that are unfamiliar to our Southern way of life. My dog thinks she is the co-pilot for all of our road-based adventures. We all thrive on seeing the world together.

Over the last few years, my MS has made travel more difficult. We have had to get more creative with our journeys and take more time resting at our destinations - which completely goes against the see-everything-do-everything-we-can-always-sleep-later mentality we had adopted pre-diagnosis. We hang out in our hotel room. We order room service. We swim in the hotel pool. We play board games. We don't get to the Magic Kingdom an hour before it officially opens just in case it opens early and then close the park down at 2AM anymore. We sleep. We get there when we get there. We enjoy our favorite rides and skip those with lines or those that we don't care about. We take care of our bodies more.

How does this translate into exploring the remote corners of the globe? We cruise a lot. Cruising is affordable. Cruising is restful. Cruising has as much or as little activity as we want. Even on a port day in Argentina, we know our time is limited. We can still hustle about and see and do everything we can, but there is a finite stop time. We have to be back on the ship at a pre-determined time, or we will be left behind. Once back onboard, we can crash. The Girls may go to Kids' Club and hang out with their new-found friends (who are often also homeschoolers, given the itineraries and times of year that we cruise) and compare what educational field trip excursion each of their parent's had forced on them that day. Bill may go wandering the ship to find a new corner to hide in and read a book on his ipad. I may take a nap. We all meet again for dinner and maybe a show (the local performers that add to the cultural immersion tend to be our favorites - ex. The Pampas Devils, a group of tango dancers and gaucho performers from Argentina, or step dancers in Ireland, or belly dancers in Egypt). We can go to bed early. And we can do it all again tomorrow in another city or town, without having to worry about how late will we be up driving to get to get there and will we find a hotel once we do.

The other major travel adjustment we have made is that 3 years ago, my husband bought a 5th-wheel travel trailer. Some men buy Porsche's and 22 year old blondes for their mid-life crises. My husband bought a Big-A$$ Truck (aka The Monstrosity) and an RV (aka Monstro). We have taken the RV cross-country twice and to see cousins and aunts and uncles a multitude of times. This summer, we are planning a third cross-country trek, this time to experiment with my MS. Last summer I was almost non-functional. The heat and humidity here in the South kept me couch-bound or pool-bound most of the summer. This summer we are headed north - north to the mountains, north to a cooler climate, a higher altitude, and a lower humidity. The goal? To see if I can function better. This was supposed to be a controlled experiment - same medicines, same exercises, same Me, with only our location being the new variable - but given the medical events of the last few months, our controls have gone out the window. Regardless of those new parameters, we are going. We'll be living in the RV, stopping at National Parks and State Parks for days-weeks at a time. We'll see some family and hopefully some friends. We'll hike. We'll bike. We'll learn about our nation's geography and history. We'll be "Learning through Living" (my high school's motto). And rest assured, I'll be sharing pictures along the way - definitely on Instagram (username: cdpeck) and hopefully here on the blog as well.

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