But even with that, most people can still plan a spontaneous trip or decide to travel across the world at the drop of a hat with very little thought or worry. When you have a disability though, you’re not always afforded that luxury. When you have to worry about trying to get your luggage into the overhead bin if you’re traveling alone (Note: airline staff can’t help you and if you look “normal” people will give you dirty looks or not offer to help you get it up there). When you ask to pre-board because you take longer getting on the plane and the lady behind the counter clearly doesn’t believe you. When you have to think about how much you might be walking once you get where you’re going. When you have to worry if you’re staying at a place that has stairs and no elevator. When you’re traveling with a group and you’re afraid your limitations will somehow take away from the experience of their trip. When you have a connection and your first flight gets delayed and you’re unable to run to the gate and can potentially miss the flight on the next leg of your trip. Let’s not even get into what might happen if the plane has to make an emergency landing.
These are just a few of the concerns people with disabilities have when traveling. So while yes, I can still be spontaneous to an extent…I still have to plan, whether I like it or not. I just can’t go with the flow and see what happens because there’s just some things I can’t physically do and if I’m going to risk falling or hurting myself, I have to try to avoid that at all costs.
I’m more than aware that my situation could be much worse. I’m still able to go up three flights of stairs. Will I be tired and potentially fall later on because I’m weak? Yes. I’m able to drag my luggage around. I’m able to go to places even if though don’t have an elevator even though it’s not ideal. I can travel on my own. But I’ll be honest that sometimes it’s just plain overwhelming how much harder even the simplest things can be for me. My disability has made me who I am and for that I am immensely grateful but it also seeps into every facet of my life. Dating, relationships, working, traveling, parking…all of these things are more difficult because of something I was born with and I’m not always able to take that in stride.
Some days I want to be able to just go up a flight of stairs. I want to be able to just get on a plane, throw my suitcase into the bin over my head and walk for miles and go on hikes. I want to be able to see the top of the cathedral at Mont Saint Michel. That’s not my reality though and as much as I may want to sometimes, I can’t change it.
What I can change is my attitude about it so right now I’m working on practicing gratitude instead of attitude.