Traveling with Raynaud'sThe site TravelAwaits publishes articles to inspire 50+ travelers to explore new destinations and discover exciting experiences.  The site recently published an article on traveling with Raynaud’s titled “What It’s Like To Travel With Raynaud’s Phenomenon” written by author Samantha Priestly, a fellow Frostie.

Samantha first became aware of her Raynaud’s symptoms about eight years ago.  Her hands would get numb and tingly, needing the warmth of a blanket or radiator to provide relief.  Samantha was fortunate in having a doctor who recognized the symptoms (even if she labeled it in error as a “circulatory condition”).  Once aware of the cause of her discomfort, Samantha focused on how she would learn to live with Raynaud’s, targeting how she could ensure it wouldn’t interfere with her love of travel.

Here are some of the tips Samantha shares in her article:

  • Lots of Layers – When staying in a cold tenement building in Scotland, Samantha layered vests, T-shirts, long-sleeved T’s and sweaters, covered by thick coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.  For feet (her most difficult issue) she wore a thick pair of socks covered by a second, thicker pair, and good boots.  Wish she’d mentioned the fabric for the socks (assume wool works best) and the brand/type of boots she considers “good.”
  • Preparing for Ice and Snow Conditions – Packing waterproof gloves wasn’t surprising, but what we hadn’t expected was the need for extra socks for her hands at bedtime!  In colder conditions she finds she needs socks on her hands to sleep, as well as on her feet (most of us sleep with socks on our feet year round…).
  • Public Transportation – You can control your environment in a car (turn up the heat, bring a blanket), but on a plane or a train, it’s tougher.  I expected to hear how she dresses and adds layers in these situations, but instead, she talks about the benefits of getting up and moving around to get the circulation going.  On trains, she walks to the dining/food car to get a warm drink – and the combination of the two do help.  But on planes, she says, “Don’t be afraid to be the one passenger who’s always walking up and down the aisle.”  I thought maybe she wrote this before the COVID pandemic, but the article was published on January 6, 2022.  Who wants to be walking past lots of passengers, some of whom may have masks off while eating or drinking, in these challenging times?  She also mentions how “they’ll bring you extra blankets to help with the cold of the air conditioning.”  What airline is she flying?  The ones I fly stopped offering blankets except in luxury class quite some time ago, and now with the virus, it’s considered a risk unless you get one that’s in a plastic sealed bag.  Suggest bringing your own!
  • Dealing with Stress – Traveling can be stressful, as there are often a lot of moving parts to an itinerary, and things don’t often go as planned, potentially causing travelers anxiety.  When her Raynaud’s is triggered by stress, Samantha gets different symptoms from those triggered by exposure to the cold.  With stress, her fingers are more likely to go numb, along with areas of her face, like the lips.  She suggests just “go with the flow,” and gives the example of a time when her hotel room was double booked.  She calmly went to the bar, ordered a drink, searched for another hotel, and let the hotel where she originally planned to stay take care of the arrangements, including ordering a cab to the next hotel.  Her view is she’s better off staying calm and trusting things will work out than having a Raynaud’s attack, and this works for her.

While we disagree with her statement, “There’s currently no treatment for Raynaud’s other than keeping yourself warm and staying active,” we love Samantha’s attitude:  You may have to be creative, take a few extra steps, or find some workarounds, but it’s worth it to enjoy what you love, which – for her – is traveling with Raynaud’s.  It’s an important part of our mission to help Frosties not give up on things they want to do or accomplish.  Just find strategies that help get you through the cold times!

Here’s the full article on traveling with Raynaud’s:  What It’s Like To Travel With Raynaud’s Phenomenon

 

 

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