“Harmony, Vitality and Adventure”
When I chose these as my guiding words for the year, I didn’t realise how often I would refer to them. And here I go again!
My visit to the UK was over in a flash, and although I managed to get around the country and see my family, there was little time for reflection or relaxation. I know that is the deal though, I have been overseas long enough to know that home leave is home leave and not a holiday. The special time with family and friends is accompanied by a crazy logistics-fest to get around the country and spend time with people. I also find that the backlog of various tasks such as bank stuff, correspondence, immunisations, hair colouring (note how I just slipped that in there – oh yes, that is a subject for its own post), phone conversations and stocking up on various essentials and goodies which I can’t get my hands on is always takes far more time consuming than I realise. Every year!
This time my visit was shorter, and I was sad that I was not able to connect with many special people. However, this year was different to the general home leave schedule. Two years ago I did not manage to get back on home leave, for a number of reasons. The biggest one being the unplanned encounter with Breast Cancer. Nuff said! Last year, my visit was at the end of the treatment and for the first time I did not even attempt to get around the country as much as I usually do and spent a good bit of time on a remote Scottish island. Looking back, I realise how frail I was and how “cancery” I probably looked. Being bald helped that image.
So this year has been very different. Having my checks just before the visit gave me a wonderful peace of mind before travelling. I also felt confident about travelling on my own. In fact the main challenges I have found have been relatively minor. There is the continual “faulty thermostat” issue – being too hot, then too cold, then too hot again (repeat ad infinitum….) and the yucky crumbly nails. The faulty thermostat is no different in cooler climes I have discovered. I just have more layers to remove and replace and often in more crowded spaces! I think the nails have probably been affected by the travelling – carrying bags, and putting my hands into handbags for passport, purse etc has resulted in 8 of my nails being quite badly damaged. That is 8 of my fingernails, and not including toenails, so quite a high proportion! One thumbnail has been particularly damaged and tore off eventually far enough down to cause bleeding. Not nice. I am not sure whether this is still the after effects of chemo, effects from Tamoxifen or both. In any case, when you add the travelling factor, it has resulted in quite a combo.
So I flew back to Bangkok on Friday/Saturday and when I woke up this morning I had absolutely no idea where I was, what day of the week it was and what time of night or day it might be. Slowly it came to me that I am in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for the first time in my life. Despite living in the region for many years, and having had a fascination to come here, I have never quite got here. Till now.
I am in that beautiful phase of “anticipation” now with a new place to explore and discover. Planning for and anticipating the coming days for jungles and rainforest temples. Enjoying the harmony of these surroundings and the break. Feeling so much healthier and with a sense of real vitality. And embarking on another adventure!
Wow, Philippa! I love this post. There’s such a spirit of adventure here, that I find so exciting. Can’t wait to read your impressions of this new place. Sorry about your nails, love that you got your hair done. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for your support and encouragement S – I do get that tingle in my stomach with the thought of being able to push myself again. I have now got thousands of photos and updates to organise! I have a strong sense of the importance of living for the moment now, and not putting things off, as you just never know what is round the corner! And the hair colour was just as exciting as the rainforest temples!! Says it all! Hugs x
How exciting! You are quite the world traveler. I enjoy reading your posts to learn about places I may never visit. It’s like a travellog, but from a friend like me who had a brush with cancer. Enjoy your adventures!
Thanks J, I really feel very fortunate, and have to remember that much of this is recent. In fact I have never been west of Dublin (yep, never been to the US!) nor to Australia, most of Africa and hardly south of the equator! I know my little quadrant well but need to step out of it a bit more. I think you are right in that the blog is taking a new direction, still living life through the breast cancer lens, but it is not purely about breast cancer itself just now. Hope it stays like that! I hope you are doing ok and I am thinking of you during your worrying time, sending very warm wishes and positive vibes P xx
P – so glad you are enjoying your travelling again and finding yourself in a different place… your confidence is shining through. x
Thank you S – yes, it is so good to be in that different place. I have an incredible sense of calm and resolution at the moment, knowing that I am making the most of time when I am well. I know the big checks in October will see me stressed and anxious again, so all the more reason for enjoying this moment! I had not realised how much confidence had lost, it is so good to feel stronger in every sense. Thanks so much for your support.
I just love your latest adventure – you look stunning! I have really enjoyed reading about your day out with the Queen 😉