Now that travelling seems to be back on in the world, I am reminded of why it's such an important thing for me. Travelling provides eudaimonia, a feeling of being happy, prosperous,healthy and even excited. When we travel we leave behind our worries, responsibilities and routines from back home. We become immersed in the moment, in the culture, in the excitement of new experiences. We can just be. No roles to fufill. No labels on who we are.
But now what about travelling with persistent concussion symptoms? At first you may think that sounds like a bad idea. But actually, it could be just what you need: Getting away from that PCS label and life's disappointments. Getting out of your therapy routine. Creating fun, joy and excitement in yourself.
Of course travelling with potential symptoms requires a bit of attention. I can tell you from my firsthand experience. Since struggling with PCS since 2017, I've been to Hawaii, Bali, Mexico, New York and France and all over British Columbia. My symptoms are mostly under control now, but they can still flare up if I stumble or jar my neck, get super fatigued or overstimmed or overwhelmed.
First off, travel simply. (this helps with a tight budget too, which was a concern for me) Take direct flights. Drive your own car. Travel with a companion to help with the details like directions and check ins. Stay in one location. Take time to unpack, get organized and settle into your new environment. Allow your travel plans to include much free time for walking and exploring, rather than booked up with tours and events. Rest and eat properly while away. And use your Yogi skills of breathing, grounding, and walking/moving mindfully ro provide safety to your nervous system.
Finally, know yourself, and what triggers your symptoms and body alarms. I've had to say no to motorcycle rides, cliff edges, big concerts and sometimes boats, but I've been able to say yes to hiking, cycling, camping, airplanes, speaking other languages, exploring cities and so much more.
Travel can make you feel alive again, sparking curiosity and joy that you may be currently missing in your life.
To close I'm going to let you in on a little Occupational Therapy secret here. It's really the core to our profession: Enjoyable activity is key to rehabilitation and healing.
So if travel is an activity that you enjoy, stepping back into it might actually
be just what you need.