International Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis is Possible

Sara Nash Health Guide
  • Last summer, I journeyed through South America on an amazing trip that fell over the anniversary of my first RA symptoms.  It was my little way of telling my RA to shove it. This year, I am embarking on another bold trip that might even top last year’s: I am off to Egypt and Jordan to see the Pyramids, sleep under the stars in Wadi Rum and behold Petra!

    After I was first diagnosed, one of my biggest fears was that my days of bounding around the world were over. Traveling has always been important to me, so the idea of not being able to do it, or being limited to certain types of travel felt like I was losing an integral part of myself. Even before my medications were fully working, I made up my mind that I was not going to let that happen, even if it practically killed me. I decided to go to South America last year with a friend, and we packed in a full itinerary that included Macchu Pichu, the Peruvian Amazon, Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires. 

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    I went over all our plans with my rheumatologist, who thankfully understood why this was important to me and was very encouraging and supportive.  She helped me prepare accordingly to make sure I’d have contingencies in place. It took much more planning than usual, but the pay off of not letting RA keep me from doing something so important to me made the inconveniences along the way worth it.

    This year, I feel well-equipped and confident going into another adventurous trip. I’ll carry a small arsenal of ‘just in case’ medications with me, including prednisone, since I don’t take my enbrel shots with me on these types of trips. I know I have to be careful about pacing myself and making sure I have time to rest and relax.  In between hiking around the Pyramids and the Wadi Rum desert, we’ll spend time on the Sinai Peninsula where I can choose between recharging myself at the beach and getting massages or, if I’m still feeling spry, scuba diving, snorkeling and hiking to nearby Mt. Sinai. And, after two weeks of hopping around Egypt and Jordan, we’ll close our trip by pampering ourselves at a spa resort on the Dead Sea before boarding our 13 hour flight home – which is sometimes the most trying part of a trip! 

    I’ll let you know how it all goes when I get back.

    Sara is the author of the blog, The Single Gal's Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis and a partner in the Buckle Me Up International Young Arthritis Awareness Movement.

Published On: September 02, 2009