There are thousands of things to avoid while suffering from an extreme physically injury. World traveling, especially backpacking, is probably at the top of the list. But my doctors gave me the all clear, and here I am: wondering what I’m doing so far from home, and more importantly, the hospital.
Traveling with a broken back is a lot more difficult than I originally anticipated. It’s not that I thought it would be easy; it’s that things that never bothered me before suddenly mean the difference between a decent day and searing pain.
Beds, for one thing. Yeah, hostels have shitty beds. Duh. But sleep is the one time the overprotective muscles in my shoulders relax, and well, they can’t. It’s not like hostel dorm rooms are the breeding ground of sound sleep and healthy bodies.
Another thing to look out for, if you happen to be insane like me and travel across the world with broken bones and metal holding your spine straight, is the availability of transportation. I am staying on a beautiful sheep farm, about a 40 minute walk out of town with a bus that could pick me up 20 minutes in.
Which would be great and secluded and lovely if I could walk 40 minutes.
Instead, I depend on taxis and my hosts for rides. I am an independent person. I hate being a burden. I can’t carry my own luggage, therefore I can’t backpack alone. It’s incredibly frustrating and unbelievably humbling.
I could go on all day about the dangers and difficulties about what I’m doing. But instead, I’m learning how to deal with it. I’m learning to slow down and cuddle up with a latte in a cafe for three hours to rest my back. I’m learning to let others go ahead while I trod behind. I’m learning to rest, to slow down, and to speak up when I need help.
I can’t travel like I want to. Maybe I’ll learn that I can’t travel at all. But the important thing is I am trying, and I am learning. I’m not stopping—I’m simply slowing down.