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Travel, Health, Stress, and Why I'll Do It Again by gmuxx

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· @gmuxx · (edited)
$38.43
Travel, Health, Stress, and Why I'll Do It Again
<center><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-845" src="http://www.muxxy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/20180620_074404-1.jpg" alt="" width="2048" height="1152" /></center><br/>

My new found taste for travel began last year with my solo trek to Portugal for Steemfest. Originally a friend was coming with me but the airline we booked with went into liquidation, and he could not afford to purchase further flights. Thanks to a @roelandp's generosity, I managed to get the cheapest flights I could, but this meant me flying to Belgium, then onto Lisbon, and my return trip took me to Prague before flying home. It was the furthest I had ever ventured alone - previously I had only ever traveled with family.

When talks about a possible meet up in Gatlinburg for The Writers' Block, I just knew I had to make the trip. Not only was I excited to explore the future direction of our community, but also to travel to America. It's always been on my bucket list to visit The States so I jumped at the chance. I priced up the cheapest airfare and approached @neoxian about a loan, which he quickly agreed to. Terms were set and I bought my tickets.

It's not easy for me to travel alone: I have Multiple Sclerosis which affects my mobility, my memory, and processing functions. On a bad day, I can scarcely walk more than a few yards without the use of a stick and use a mobility scooter. A month prior to leaving I had also been randomly passing out, even while just sat down. All things considered, a trip to America was probably not the best idea, but damn it, I wasn't going to let my health dictate to me.

<center><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-196" src="http://www.muxxy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/20180622_010456.jpg" alt="" width="1502" height="844" /></center><br/>

When I booked my flights I got in touch with American Airlines to request assistance with my connections. After spending fifteen minutes with a confused American lady on the phone, we deduced that I had phoned the wrong airline as my tickets were booked with United Airlines. After profuse apologies, I called the correct number. 'Sure Mr. M, we can do that. From your first point of departure onto your arrival in Knoxville, you shall have assistance. Do you need to bring your mobility scooter? That would be free of cost.' I didn't, as I was not in a downward phase of my condition, my stick would do.

My flight out of Birmingham was to be early morning, and the first train would leave me scarce time to check in. I, therefore, decided to catch the last train the night prior and spend the night at the airport. Unfortunately, the Special Assistance desk would be closed until early next morning. No bother, directly opposite was an all-night coffee shop with a profusion of electronic goods charging points. Coffee procured, and Surface Pro charging, I settled in for the night watching Amazon movies. Sat next to me was a young man playing games on his laptop, and we took it in turns to keep an eye on each other's charging devices as we made bathroom trips or fetched more coffee.

Right on cue the next morning, Special Assistance opened up and I presented my ticket to them. 'Ah, yes Sir. Do you wish for a wheelchair - one of our assistants will take you to where you need to go, or would a mobility scooter suit you better?'. I opted for the scooter as I am quite independent and prefer to go where I want at my own pace. A quick swipe of my ticket and I had my chariot. There is nothing quite like zipping around a packed airport filled with people desperate to sit down and a limited supply of seats. Mine was built in so I sat where I wanted. The only problem with the scooter was that whenever reverse was engaged, it would beep loudly to announce it. To overcome the embarrassment I quickly found routes whereby reverse was not required. As boarding approached I made my way to my gate where I left my wheels. Propped up with my stick, myself and a few others were ushered onto the plane first.

Upon arrival in Dublin special assistance was waiting for me. 'Would you like for us to take you through US customs?'. Imagining long, sweaty lines of frustrated people, I agreed to a wheelchair. This helped enormously as I bypassed the longer queue. I didn't have to stand but was given a thorough pat down. My assistant also took care of my hand luggage, presenting the agents with my electronics for me before repacking my bag. The flight to Washington was delayed, but airport staff kept me hydrated and checked my needs. Again at departure, I was ushered onto the plane first. I could get used to this. The United Airlines staff could not have been more helpful. Did I need anything? Sorry, we cannot move you to one of the front seats for extra legroom, despite your height, but regulations etc. I would be pretty useless in an emergency I had to admit. Pillow and blanket were provided, an open offer of assisting me to the restroom should I require it.

<center><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-199" src="http://www.muxxy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/20180622_011410-1.jpg" alt="" width="2048" height="1256" /></center><br/>

Upon arrival at Washington Dulles, a placard had my name on it, held aloft by someone with an empty wheelchair. After explaining that I would not be catching my connecting flight to Knoxville - which due to the delay I only had about ten minutes of reaching anyway - I was wheeled to the baggage claim area. I insisted I could manage from there and after a while, @Rhondak arrived to pick me up.

During my stay in Gatlinburg, my health held up pretty well. I have a low heat tolerance, and high humidity makes it worse. The weather was mostly glorious, hotter than back home. Despite this, and I think helped by living off the adrenaline the trip had provided, I fared well. The time difference didn't have much effect as I tend to sleep by US timezones anyway, thanks to the work I do in the Steem communities. A few days I had to make use of my stick, but luck was on my side and I didn't have another passing out spell until after I returned home so therefore never got to experience American medical care. I had made sure to buy travel insurance before I left, just in case.

My return trip was much the same - if I wanted assistance it was there on offer. I cannot say enough good things about how I was treated and helped. I am quite a proud man, and asking for help isn't in my nature, but on such long trips, it was very welcome.

I kind of expected to get hit hard upon my return home. I didn't sleep much while in The States and knew this would catch up with me. Sure enough, these past few weeks have been hard physically. It doesn't help that the UK is still in the midst of a heatwave, and I have had to go for regular daytime naps. Stress is an enemy I can ill afford to ignore, and while the traveling was somewhat stressful, the adrenaline I think acted as a counterpoint. None the less, my return to Steem communities has caused some issues which have been stressful, so I have taken a small step back, and am easing myself back in.

All in all, I am glad I got to make this trip. I am pumped for the future of The Writers' Block, I got to meet several of our leadership team and members, and of course, I fulfilled a dream of visiting America. I cannot wait until our next meetup.

<center><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-331" src="http://www.muxxy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/20180623_165146-1.jpg" alt="" width="2048" height="1277" /></center><br/>

&nbsp;<br /><center><hr/><em>Posted from my blog with <a href='https://wordpress.org/plugins/steempress/'>SteemPress</a> : http://www.muxxy.co.uk/2018/07/13/travel-health-stress-and-why-ill-do-it-again/</em><hr/></center>
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@banglawolf ·
Good luck 

Posted using [Partiko Android](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.partiko.android)
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@yidneth ·
$0.05
I love travelling, I get airports though I get hectic... fine with flying but extremely hectic on airports, transits, cancellations...  Oh I wish there were a gathering close to me hahaha XD  I could bring the harp and lull you to sleep hahah 
lovely background in that last one picture... and smiles on front!
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@gmuxx ·
The idea of you playing harp is heavenly.
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@yidneth ·
elvenly :) ;-)
Harp is really healing. It relaxes me to play it.
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@tts ·
To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.
[![](https://s18.postimg.org/51o0kpijd/play200x46.png)](http://ec2-52-72-169-104.compute-1.amazonaws.com/gmuxx__travelhealthstressandwhyilldoitagain-scc2ruema9.mp3)
Brought to you by [@tts](https://steemit.com/tts/@tts/introduction). If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.
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@rhondak ·
$0.05
>I didn't have another passing out spell until after I returned home

GAAACK!!! I did not know of this!!!
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@gmuxx ·
Yup. Seeing doc in a week or so.
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@sk43 ·
$0.05
Sounds like the Airlines took good care of you. But instead of a scooter they should have offered you a Harley. I can see you cruisin' through the Airport, pipes a blaring, "Born to Be Wild" blasting over the intercom. :-)
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@gmuxx ·
Haha.
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@weetreebonsai ·
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That sounds so awesome that thru out the long trip you had some awesome help, happy to hear that the airlines did all they claim to do for folks with any disabilities!
The question I have now is just when and how fast till you become American ;-)
👍  
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@gmuxx ·
A lot to organise...
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@weetreebonsai ·
You can do it!
See I have absolutely no doubts in your abilities to make it happen ;-)
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@karinxxl ·
$0.05
It was totally worth it right?

Its cool to hear that the service that was provided was actually as good as I had hoped, that does help on the level of stress and physical issues, because in the end..lets face it, traveling costs a lot of valueable energy. Energy that you need more yourself, mr muxx.

Good to see you guys all together!
👍  
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@gmuxx ·
Totally worth it, thanks.
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@nocturnal ·
Man, multiple sclerosis sounds really convenient! I hope I can get it before the next time I fly!
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@kristyglas ·
$0.06
This was fun to read, can feel your enthusiasm :D
It makes me really happy that you had a lovely trip and were given assistance if needed ^^ 
I especially liked the part where you switched watching belongings for bathroom breaks haha :)
 Gives me hope that there are times when we can trust complete strangers.
👍  
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