Family Travel and Autism

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Time for Myself

Posted on October 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM

My husband thinks I have gone off the deep end.  I asked if we could arrange the schedules so that I could take a week off by myself to travel.  By yourself?  Yes, a whole week by myself.  Some of you may be scratching your heads.  I imagine most of you are saying to yourself -- ah, a whole week without the kids to do what I when I want where I want.  Heaven.


He agreed.  Such a good man.  I knew that I had to schedule it early because in our house, the children's schedules are priority.  If it goes on the calendar then it is written in gold.  Unmovable, will be done, come heck or high water.  Of course, since I have booked the flight, the week I picked out has filled up with can't miss children's events.  Ugh, I guess I will just have to miss them.  Oh darn.


Many of you have taken a vacation with your family.  And yes, this site is dedicated to promoting family travel.  So why am I writing about taking time on my own.  I have said before, great family time traveling is 99% planning.  I thought I would write about my thought process on planning.  Perhaps it will inspire someone to take their own trips -- with or without the kids.


Stress in a family with a disabled child is a given.  Add to that a life threatening cancer diagnosis and stress doesn't even describe it.  My head has not been in a good place lately.  I have been having a difficult time imaging life post cancer with autism and my own disabilities.  Up to now, my husband was open to me traveling but with a friend.  That way, if something happened, someone would be there to help.


I thought, why not now, by myself.  My latest scans are clear.  I am as physically able as I will ever be.  We have a little in the savings to use (thank you for leaving some money to me Dad and Mom!)  Why not now?  The more I thought, the more I became convinced it was a good idea.


I really looked at from my husband's perspective.  Could I navigate the airport, car rental, maps, hotels, etc. by myself?  If something happened, where would I go for help?  How would I get help?  Would I be too lonely?  Would it be too expensive?


Well, it is true that my memory has been shot by chemotherapy.  So the concerns about navigating the travel process are not far fetched.  Compensation it is then.  Lists were the answer.  Google every aspect of the trip and create many post it note lists.  Review the lists with anyone and everyone who will listen.  And be willing to alter if it means you will be safer.


Now comes in the cell phone.  Up to this summer, my cell phone has been a drug dealer disposable phone.  With my eldest going off to college, we upgraded to a family plan.  Now I have a real cell phone.  I invested in cigerette lighter plug so my short battery life smart phone would be ready at any emergency.  I also planned my route to be near cities yet far from masses of people.  A good balance for my sanity and safety.


Lonely?  Are you kidding?


Expensive.  Well, this could be a problem.  In my next post I will give you a complete breakdown of the costs and compare to recent family trips.  Depending on your own financial situation, it could be a real relevation.

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