How to Travel (the World!) After Breast Cancer
A decade ago, the “bucket list” wasn’t even a thing. Somewhere along the way, it became an imperative and we all had to get one – most likely with “Travel” written in bold letters across the top.Travel after breast cancer might be daunting for some women, but we think you deserve a getaway, and we know you can handle it. Our friend Karen C. from the U.K., indulged her travel dream, going abroad for an extended adventure, and shared her best tips for traveling after breast cancer with us.
Health-First Travel Prep and Planning
After my breast cancer diagnosis and 18 months’ treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Herceptin IV, I decided to take early retirement and travel the world. It’s a dream I had always wanted to fulfill, but because of my
After my cancer, though, my children were in their twenties and self-sufficient, so the opportunity to travel opened up.
My travel commenced about a year after treatment. I was nervous about not feeling well while traveling, so I decided to visit countries with established health care systems. My adventures led me to travel extensively in Australia, New Zealand and the west coast of America.
I ensured that I had full medical insurance in place. Although costly, the peace of mind outweighed the cost. I could travel with the assurance that I could seek medical assistance if I needed it.
Packing for AdventureNo matter how long you’re traveling for, my recommendation is always to travel light. Really, whatever you need can be bought en route, in the airports or the cities you visit. I suggest a ‘capsule’ wardrobe; that is, a compact collection made up of 8-12 staple pieces in coordinating colors. You can then mix and match items of varying weight for different weather conditions. On my world
That tip about rolling up your clothes really does work; it saves a lot of space in your luggage. Roll them up tight!
In-Flight Fancy: Lymphedema Prevention
Always dress for comfort when flying, especially long flights – legs,
Where to Stay
My accommodation for the trip was varied and multi-functional; different venues were appropriate for the countries I stayed in.
- Australia included a mix of staying with relatives, friends, Airbnb, and camping in Australia's red center, a magical experience sleeping in a swag (hammock) under the stars!
- In New Zealand, I treated myself to two days of hotel luxury after the plane journey -- because breast cancer taught me that being kind to myself is okay! Refreshed, I picked up a camper van and spent five weeks touring. I stopped in freedom camps and established
camp sites… there’s a travel tip: Always try to find established campsites. This ensures you’ll see a good balance of surroundings. While in N.Z., I did lots walking, kayaking and sightseeing. The highlight of that trip? Flying over the Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers.
- In America, I had signed up
ona tour of the west coast starting in Los Angeles, and finishing in San Francisco, via Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Death Valley and Yosemite. It’s a lot of sites to see! Again, different accommodation styles were available: motels, hotelsand inns. I made sure to factor in time for rest!
Travel’s Best-Kept Secret
During my epic world travels, I met some lovely people from all over the world who remain friends now. I advise others to not be shy: connect with fellow travelers on the road. While in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia, I met someone from Sydney who then gave me a ‘VIP’ introduction to the city when I got there. In New Zealand on a rainy day, I exchanged stories with fellow travelers from Canada, the U.K., Australia, N.Z. and even South Korea. What an enriching experience! I learned a lot in our discussions on all sorts of topics.
If you’ve been writing your bucket list, and planning to travel after breast cancer treatment, there’s no time like the present! Ready? Get more tips about the airport security