Traveling and IBD

Last updated: June 2019

Traveling with Inflammatory Bowel Disease is always interesting. Especially so when bringing up the topic of international travel! A lot of people without chronic conditions find international travel to be very intimidating, many of whom avoid it at all costs. Not I. I decided to embrace the unknown and embark on a journey I never had before!

It was all worth it

The trip did not come without its own mishaps or hiccups. Things happened. Money was wasted. But it was so worth it! I can honestly say I have never had such an amazing time and experienced so many emotions and eye-opening moments as the moment I stepped foot in a foreign country.

For a very long time, I was too sick to do much of anything. I couldn’t make it through a full day of work without getting sick or dealing with complications of IBD. So needless to say, traveling was never on my list of to-dos. I didn’t discriminate so traveling wasn’t the only thing on my list of “what everyone else my age is doing, but I can’t.” Only one of many.

I'd been waiting my entire life

When I first decided I wanted to travel internationally, I knew my family would be concerned. I was extremely hesitant to tell them for this reason. I knew they’d have a list of reasons why I shouldn’t go. Why I should “wait for another time” or continue to “think about it.” What many people don’t realize is that I’ve been “waiting” my entire life. I’ve spent my life “waiting” in hospitals, emergency rooms, inpatient surgery, you name it.

I had a sheltered life

After living with active inflammation for years, you can say I began to live a very sheltered life. I didn’t do things outside of my comfort zone. I only did things and went places that were familiar to me, my safe places. This list of people and locations wasn’t long, but it was all I had. Because of my illness, I was forced to make due. I didn’t have time to be dissatisfied or complain. I was much too busy scheduling surgeries and follow-ups. If I didn’t have an entire plan and layout mapped out in my head, I couldn’t attend.

But eventually, as anyone would, I grew tired. Day after day doing the same things, sheltering myself from the same places, limiting myself and in turn isolating myself and becoming withdrawn from friends and even family. It’s not a life I would recommend for anyone, but unfortunately, that is the sad reality for many of us living with any form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

It's finally time to live

I’m happy that while I’m not cured, I’m better. I’m able to explore the world and see life for what it really is and not just through my little window of sickness and isolation. I know this may not last forever. I am liable to get sick at any time. No “back up plan” can prevent flaring of an auto-immune disease. I’m aware of the risks, but after so many years of surviving, it’s time to live!

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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.

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