My Caregiver Journey 4 March 2019 - Why Can't I Travel?

 

What do you mean I cannot travel anymore?!

Spring is in the air here in the Netherlands and each day the trees bud out more, the small bushes are greener or leaves are fully open. The daffodils and crocuses are blooming everywhere. I even saw a roundabout in Arnhem filled with purple crocuses. It was gorgeous!

As spring arrives, people start thinking about their summer or holiday travel. Well, most people. Caregivers and their patients may be avoiding that topic all together due to many walls that stand in their way.

I've read a lot of comments in caregiving groups about avoiding travel, or not thinking about it ,and having only a few friends on FB who do not travel so they do not have to look at photos all day long on their feed.

Does it REALLY have to be this way or is there another possibility?

When I began traveling in Europe in 2015, I knew it would be something I would do for the rest of my life. I HAD to travel. So many of my past lives were bound up in the earth here that to do what I am supposed to do in this life, I had to be there.

When I met my now husband, Johan, I thought Fantastic! Now I have someone amazing, intelligent, and funny to travel with and we will have a grand time. While that was the case for part of 2016 and 2017 and a little in 2018, by fall it was increasingly more difficult to leave and go somewhere. This winter on my trip here, we couldn't.

Or could we?

Johan is on an eating schedule 6 times a day with medication twice. This will likely change in another week. He has a little more energy than 2 or 4 or even 6 weeks ago, but still has a long way to go. Traveling on this trip felt like it couldn't happen, even though he had planned something. After his hospital stay I told hi to cancel it. Three days away felt like too much to handle.

Last week as we went to another doctor appointment, I asked Johan, could we get away for 24 hours and travel no further than 2 hours away. He thought that was possible. I suggested one place we had already been but the scenery is peaceful and beautiful and there are things to do in the area. He suggested another place not far from there, where I had been only to spend a night in 2015.

Arnhem.

We booked a hotel and thought up 4-5 things we might do over the two days and prepared to leave. After a late start to make sure Johan ate a second time before we headed out, we spent Friday afternoon at the Dutch WWII Military Cemetery. I had never been there. It is in a beautiful wooded setting and I'm sure in full-spring bloom and summer it is absolutely gorgeous.

Then we had lunch and went to Hartenstein Airborne Museum. It was not too crowded which gave Johan time to sit when he needed to rest and time for me to wander and take it all in. Afterward I had a lovely piece of chocolate cake and a coffee at the restaurant next door before we checked into the hotel.

Our hotel had great energy and some amazing purple chairs in the bar area, but I had zero energy to go sit out there and have a beer and snack. I remember the days I would enjoy a drink and snack in the bar and relax and write or chat with whoever was with me. Instead, we enjoyed the quiet of our room and ordered room service.

Saturday we again left later and went to the Kroller-Mueller Museum where there is a huge Van Gogh collection. We took our time there and afterward drove through the Veluwe. I MUST return there this summer and hike or bike because it is an incredible National Park.

After our long, leisurely drive through the park, we went to Arnhem city centre to have lunch and see if the fountain pen shop we thought was there, was. Sadly it was not. Still, we enjoyed a short walk and then headed home.

When we returned home we discussed how the 24 hour getaway went. We both agreed it was just what we needed to reconnect and be away from the usual setting. It was not too much that we couldn't manage Johan's eating schedule or let him rest. Finally, we discussed my summer trip and are already booking a 2 night stay at the beach in a castle-like hotel. We might also try to get away a little farther for a few more nights, but will discuss that in April.

My invitation to you this week: If you have ruled travel out, consider whether there are other possibilities.

  • Can you, the caregiver, get away for 24 hours by yourself somewhere close by that would give you energy and create some joy in your life?
  • Can you find a spa nearby and hotel to get away and enjoy some pampering?
  • What else do you like to do that you could if you left home for 1-2 days?
  • What possibilities exist for you to plan something with your loved one who requires care, to get away for short periods together? Is it really that impossible? (I do realize in some cases yes it is. In others, we seem to make it impossible because we have lost hope.)

I would love to hear your thoughts and how you are getting away to refill yourself, reconnect with friends and loved ones, and creating your life.

I would love to hear what you think about the question posed here. Please comment with the video on our FB page. Let's start a conversation!

© 2019 Jennifer Holik Finding the Answers Journey

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