What is one of the best feelings in the world?
_ it is stepping off the plane to be greeted by a gust of warm air, as the sun shines down and the heat ripples over the tarmac.
_ it is the smell of suncream early in the morning as you get ready for the day.
_ it is the sea air that floats over you as you relax on a sun lounger.
_ it is the happiness you feel on every day of that much needed break away from reality.
For most, going on a holiday is one of the most exciting things. The build up and the preparation gives you weeks of excitement. Yet, when you have a condition this experience can be shadowed with doubt, fear and worry. For some with an illness, going abroad is a complete ‘no go’.
There are many worries that pull to the front of your mind and you start overthinking things. The same thoughts arise before every holiday for me and these are:
#1. Will the air on the plane give me a cold, how do I prevent this?
#2. Will the food and drink options cause issues with my tummy?
#3. What if I end up with severe cramps, and find myself bed bound for the trip?
It has taken a lot of trial and error when it comes to management of my Crohn’s whilst on holiday. Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot about what takes its toll, how my body reacts and steps to reduce the physical strain of a holiday.
Lets start at the beginning, the travel day. Flying always puts a huge amount of strain on me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a short haul or a long haul flight – it gets me. Personally, I think that the combination of airport stress and poor air quality on the aeroplane is what makes for a difficult situation. I always end up disembarking the plane with some sort of cold, instantly. To tackle this, I ensure I get some vitamins in before a flight. A glass of orange juice is great but I love to take the dissolvable vitamin tablets that you add to water. In addition to this, I always make sure I have the option to wrap up warm, I get very cold in flight and it becomes uncomfortable. Having a couple of extra layers enables you to regulate your body temperature and get the most comfortable flight experience as possible.
When you finally get to your destination, how do you look after yourself?
Fortunately for me, my Crohn’s isn’t bothered about food too much. I’ve always been able to eat what I like. When I flare, it’s down to stress – emotional and physical. However, I have noticed when on holiday the lines tend to blur a little. The excess sugar, fatty foods and icy drinks play havoc with me. Because of this, there are a few steps that I take to look after my diet when away. I tend to stay away from salad based foods (as the salad is most likely washed in tap water – which I will never drink tap water abroad), I eat fully cooked meats and vegetables and I stay away from ice in drinks – you never know when they last cleaned their ice machine.
The truth is, you can never really know when you are going to experience a flare. It’s not nice to get a flare at any time but it seems even worse when you are on a holiday. I like to be prepared, I always pack pain killers and my favourite hot water bottle. These give me instant pain relief, allowing me to feel in control and to reduce the travel anxiety overall.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer but you cannot let the anxiety stop you. You need to get out of your comfort zone, learn more about what works for you and create your own routine, ultimately make holidays easier, simpler and more enjoyable.
Let’s face it, who wants to miss out on some of the most beautiful views in the world?
My favourite landscape photos include📸: