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3 Things Traveling Taught Me About Myself

Over the past a few months or so I decided I wanted to travel. The decision was an easy one for me and I quickly moved through the process. Traveling was a luxury I couldn’t afford for the longest time. And I don’t mean financially. For years and years, I spent my life sick. Ulcerative Colitis controlled every move I made. There was not a thing I did without having my condition in the back of my mind. It was tough. I could barely travel to work, so I certainly wasn’t going anywhere outside of the country! That was nonsense.

Over time, I heard my friends talking about things they wanted to do and places they wanted to go, but I couldn’t bear to think about it. Any time travel did come up, all I could imagine was how bad it would suck to be in an active flare overseas or how embarrassing it would be to have an international accident. I went some places (when I had to), but for the most part, I stayed pretty close to home. Most places I went were via road trip. This was hard because I hated people riding in the car with me! What if I had to use the bathroom? What if my random sharp pains returned? Would they understand? Would they be mad if I needed to pull off the road? These were some of my worst fears and because of this I ultimately avoided any crazy trips altogether.

Well, until recently. Recently I decided I was done with playing it safe. I was fine. My condition was under control and my blood work was normal. Nothing was holding me back, so I did it. I left!

3 things traveling taught me about myself

IBD hurt me, but it did not break me:

For a long time, I felt broken. I felt like everyone around me was whole, but here I was a small, broken brown girl with nothing to offer the world. I was wrong. IBD hurt me. It took a lot from me. Friendships, money, relationships, the list goes on. But it didn’t break me. I am still fighting and there is so much to see and explore, I won’t allow my condition to hold me back anymore.

My digestive system is actually pretty good

I thought when I traveled internationally, I’d for sure end up with some kind of food poisoning or something. To my surprise, I didn’t. I was fine. I ate street food, well, to be honest, I ate just about everything. And I had no issues. I guess my digestive system is actually pretty strong for what it is.

Although my body has been through a lot, it’s still got a lot of fight left:

With everything my body has been through with all of my past surgeries and current medications, ect. I always seem to see myself as fragile. As if my body will give out at any moment. Traveling taught me that the truth is quite the opposite. My body can handle so much. I walked miles on this trip and although tired, I’d never felt better! I’m so grateful for how far I’ve come mentally and physically.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • ddebodoo
    5 months ago

    Great for you! I smiled while reading your post as I had a similar experience in December when I chose to take an extremely long overdue trip with a friend. My struggle with Crohn’s had kept me sidelined for far too long. After my friend’s urging to take the leap, I took a chance and booked my trip! I was a wreck in the weeks before stressing that it wouldn’t happen. Not only did it happen, a great time was had by all…including me!
    My attitude has changed because though I have Crohn’s, Crohn’s doesn’t have me!

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    5 months ago

    “I have Crohn’s, Crohn’s doesn’t have me!” Yes, yes, yes!!!!

    So happy you had an amazing time on your trip.

    Always dancing,

  • Pam.Kingsland moderator
    5 months ago

    I Love this…I love that you took a risk and it worked out for the best.. and I especially love that last sentence!!! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 – Pam (team member)

  • KayceMac
    9 months ago

    Fantastic to hear this! You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Shawn Bethea moderator author
    8 months ago

    Thank you for your kind words! I really did enjoy myself. It was an amazing experience. – Shawn, Team Member

  • darci6646
    9 months ago

    I am so happy you were finally able to travel! I totally understand!

  • Shawn Bethea moderator author
    8 months ago

    Thank you! I was super excited! I will never forget it! – Shawn, Team Member

  • Kelly C (#purpleproject) moderator
    9 months ago

    I am SO glad you decided to travel and get those life experiences in. Your photos make me so happy!

    Thanks for sending the message to others that it’s okay to be crazy enough to follow a dream and tips to help us introverts with IBD do that, too!!

  • Shawn Bethea moderator author
    8 months ago

    Aw thank you Kelly! You’re so sweet. I always appreciate your support! I had too much fun! Hope to go somewhere again soon *crossing fingers*

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    Love this! Rock on!

    I am so glad you were able to travel and enjoy and much as you did without any complications. It just goes to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    For anyone who is in the worst flare of their life, just know that soon it will pass and you will heal and be able to function again. Don’t lose hope!

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s a glimmer of hope for those who are dealing with the worst right now. If you can do it, so can they!

    Wishing you the best in health, always.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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