It’s only fitting that my first blog post for 2018 (and in over 4 months!) is about travel!!!
I had a super amazing (and busy – hence the lack of blogging) 2017 settling into life in London and making the most of being so close to the rest of Europe. In Australia, you can’t just nip away for a weekend to another country quite as easily as you can here!!
We feel like we know a lot of London pretty well now, plus we’ve had some fab trips around the country including Cambridge, Oxford, the Forest of Dean for my Dad’s 70th, Canterbury and Whitstable, met my husband’s relos with his mum in Blackpool, a seaside escape to Brighton to see Kat’s Bag of Crap, and Birmingham for the Purple Wing’s Charity ball. We ventured across the Channel too, to Berlin for a long weekend, a music festival in Florence, drove around Sicily where I finally got to visit my dad’s home town, had a romantic anniversary weekend in Lille, spent my birthday eating tapas in Barcelona, and finally saw the new year in with my mum in one of my favourite cities in the world, Paris! Wow, was that all only last year?!
We already have lots planned for 2018, and I can’t wait to share my ostomy travelling experiences with you all along the way!
A few other blogging and Stoma-licious highlights for 2017 were being asked to contribute to some other IBD and ostomy advocate’s projects, as well as volunteering for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
The IBD & Ostomy Support Show
In August I was honoured to be a guest host alongside Stephie (Colitis to Ostomy), Rachel (Rocking 2 Stomas), Natalie (The Spoonie Mummy), Louise (Crohn’s Fighting) and Steven (@BagDaddySteve) on the weekly IBD & Ostomy Support Show (watch live on Thursdays at 8pm GMT or catch up on YouTube). Episode #23 was the round up of #ostoMYfit as well as talking about travelling with a stoma of course!
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naS3Kh2E_LM
Ostomistic Life e-zine
The lovely Talya (Feeling Ostomistic) asked me to contribute to a 2-part series on Travelling with an Ostomy for her Ostomistic life e-zine. Talya founded and created this free e-zine to help guide ostomates aged under 40 navigating their life with a stoma.
You can find Issue 1 and 2 here: http://feelingostomistic.com.au/ostomistic_life
Crohn’s & Colitis UK Volunteering
I started volunteering with Crohn’s & Colitis UK last January with their East London network. I used to co-facilitate a support group for Crohn’s & Colitis Australia back in Sydney. These organisations do so much towards battling the fight against IBD, raising awareness, fundraising, education, research and most importantly support for those with IBD and their families. I have met a lot of awesome people and it’s very rewarding to be giving something back and hopefully helping others. It really helped me when I was first diagnosed.
In 2017, I participated in the London Walk It! event to raise money on a spectacularly beautiful June day walking with thousands of other CCUK supporters across London. It was such a fun day! Our local network in East London has ongoing monthly social coffee mornings, plus last year we organised a family picnic day in the park, had a cheer squad at the London Marathon, and a quiz night at a local pub. We have lots more planned for 2018 including hosting a stall at an IBD Open Day at Royal London Hospital (Saturday 24th March, 10am to 2pm), bucket collections, an awareness stand at Westfield Stratford, Park Runs, plus another quiz night!
Last but not least in 2017, I was selected as Miss April for the Stomawise Ostomy Awareness Calendar for 2018. How cool is that?!! I was super shocked but incredibly chuffed to have had my picture chosen!!! The photo is from a very windy Sandwich Harbour in Namibia in 2016.
So where to in 2018?
This year I’ve already had a mum and daughter trip to Luxembourg, and this week I am super excited to be jetting off a little further afield to New York!!! I haven’t been to the USA in over 10 years, and this will be my first trip to the US since having my ostomy! Even better, my husband’s work is paying for me to go over and meet him, so flights and accommodation are all paid for. How lucky am I?! I’m interested to see what it’s like travelling with an ostomy in the USA compared to my other travels, especially with things like airport security which I have a feeling may be stricter in the US. I will be sure to keep you updated and share my experiences from on the road!!
I have lots of other trips and adventures planned, but I am going to keep those under the wraps for now!
What travel plans do you have for this year? Please do share in the comments 😊
One final piece of news is a new project I am working on for 2018 that I’ve named “Around the world in 8 days (with a stoma)”. I thought it might be fun to make a little competition of “where in the world is my stoma?” (a game I play where I post photos getting my belly out in different places around the world and you have to guess where we are) 😊 WITH PRIZES OF COURSE!!! I am currently contacting ostomy companies for support and to try and source some prizes, so watch this space!!!
Happy travels and a happy and healthy 2018 to everyone,