I hope you are all doing well, sorry it has been a slight break in my posts. We have just returned from our family holiday. I wanted to share with you a little about the experience and challenges that I faced. I also wanted to share with you how my family felt about the experience.
This trip was a little unexpected, in the way that we had not planned it for long. My bessie was round for a BBQ one weekend and told us about her holiday she booked last year and that it was to Zante, Greece in August. She was expressing her concerns with the current situation. She was unsure if it was going to go ahead. So we thought we would join her in the uncertainty and book on the trip. Theres nothing like being kept on your toes! We remained excited and luckily for us there were no restrictions on travelling to Greece so we were set to go.
Being the only woman in the house it has always fell to me (frustratingly) to be the packer. I mean boys/men are not the most organised, at least not mine. So my first challenge begun. I had four cases of clothes to iron and pack. All the technologies and toiletries to double check and although I have done this many times before, this time was different. I took my time and completed it over a week, this way I could double check everything. My life has become all about the planning and for a woman who was most defiantly not about the planning this was a great feeling once it was achieved. Steve threw in his and Alfies last minute purchases and we were set to go!
There was a little anxiety before and on the way to the airport but everyone was still tired as it was an early morning flight, so that helped. We were sat on the plane about to take off and Dylan said to me mummy I am excited, scared and nervous. From the mouths of babes! In that moment I realised that we are allowed to have an array of feelings at any one time. We don’t just have to be one thing. I loved him even more and that helped calm me and him, just by him saying it out loud. We both had an inhale of lavender and held each others hands whilst taking deep breaths and we were up and away.
On arriving to the resort and checking in to our apartments everyone was giddy with excitement. The first couple of days seemed to breeze by in a blur so I didn’t quite get the time to take in my surroundings and find my feet. It felt like I was carried along. Once I took the afternoon to myself, I had a yoga session and meditated. I found that I opened up to everything a little more. I think I allowed myself to be carried to avoid the feelings of disappointment and exclusion. The problem with this is that I wouldn’t remember the experiences and feel connected. It was difficult to balance my need for independence and my safety in a new environment.
My family and friends were amazing in helping and allowing me to be apart of the journey. When I asked Steve and Dylan about how they felt about the experience with me, Dylan said “It was great, I don’t know” and Steve
“I feel proud of the things you overcome and I saw how it was easier for you to manage your emotions. There were challenging times but in all it was great” I sometimes forget that my family are experiencing all of these ‘firsts’ alongside me and their feelings are just as important.
My hardest challenge to overcome was the sea! I was always paranoid of the sea, not scared just aware. I am a good swimmer always have been. It is the things that live in the sea that worry me!
Having no sight you think would make it easier but in mind, it is like that challenge you see on ‘I’m a celebrity’ where they stick their hand into a dark hole knowing there will be creatures crawling over the contestants. I did not want to let Dylan down so off I went. Then they all started telling me about he fish, Oh my gosh! Grabbing Steve I ran out of the sea back to safety!
I had five minutes to myself, then I realised that if I sit here alone I will miss out on the moments and I already feel I miss out on so much with my sight loss, so why would I choose to miss more. Asking my best friend, Nina (yes my best mate is also called Nina and believe it or not her fella is also called Steve – what are the chances hey!) and we went back in. I knew the fish were there but knowing I was not missing out on Dylans experience melted my own fears and the fish away, well at least in my imagination!
There were a few things on this trip that I think shocked people. We hired a speed boat to visit turtle island. When anchoring up we jumped into the sea and swam. Yes I did it too! Steve said the look on the skippers face as I jumped off the boat and climbed back in was that of amazement and confusion. We took the kids one evening to play mini golf and when getting the clubs and paying the man only gave us four. Steve said no it was five, his response whilst looking at me was OH REALLY! Steve said again the look on his face was priceless. I love shocking people into realisation that people with sight loss are not vacant and can join in. I enjoyed the golf and got a par 2 on a par 5 hole, just saying!
We had a few moments of people at the table asking Steve for my order but I spoke up. All in all though the Greek are such a lovely nation. They were so friendly and welcoming. This made the experience so much easier and just much more pleasurable for us all.
Travelling has become another challenge for me in many ways, from the transport to the logistics of a new environment. I also feel sad when I travel and think of the things that I wish I got to see before losing my sight and missing out on seeing the moments with my family. Then I realise that even though I am entitled to these feelings and allow myself to have them, I need it to not allow me to miss out. I have always been one that doesn’t like to miss out so why stop now! Even though I can’t see all of these things, it is the participation and and the feeling of inclusion I get from being there physically with everyone. I still hear the laughter, feel the breeze, smell the aromas and connect to these important life moments. This is the one thing I have took from my travels and facing those fears and I intend to keep doing so.
I would truly recommend Zante, Greece for a family holiday. I am sure the other islands are just as
wonderful and I look forward to experiencing these in the future.
Take care all, sending love