Over the past five years, as I gained confidence year by year, I have pushed myself to do things I would have been scared to do during the first year of my stroke. Going out and about on my own was the first major milestone I reached in my journey to independence and recovery in the summer of 2015. This past year, my best friend who lives in British Columbia (BC) turned 30 and so I wanted to be there with him for his birthday, as he was there for my 30th birthday
To accomplish this, I realized that I had to fly to BC on my own. I never worry about the potential problems that can arise in the future. I just face whatever comes my way, which has been key to my recovery. I told my parents about my plan and they had no objections since they knew that I was serious and confident about what I wanted to do. On top of that, they knew that I would be in good hands when I got to BC.
Once I finalized my travel plans, I started to put money aside, because my comfort was my number one priority. Luckily for me, I travelled a lot prior to my stroke, so I called my travel agent and booked my flight. I didn’t have to worry about booking a hotel since I was staying with my friend. The travel agent, knowing my condition, asked me if I needed any special assistance but I said no since I wanted to travel the way I used to.
Prior to the stroke, I mastered the art of travelling light, which was what I planned to do this time around. I bought a duffle bag that had a little sneaker compartment which was a necessity for me. I wasn’t planning on checking in any luggage, instead I was just going to have a carry-on bag so that I could cruise through the airport without having to wait for any luggage. I had my duffle bag and a personal passenger bag which was perfect to pack clothes for five days.
Five days was ideal for my first solo trip since I figured that I can gradually increase the duration of my trips over time. I upgraded my seat on my way to BC and had a layover in Calgary where I caught my connecting flight to Kamloops (which is where my friend resides).
My friend asked me what I wanted to do when I got there and my only request was for him to take me to all the places where he takes pictures. I flew in on his birthday so when I got there, it was already past my bedtime. He took me to the guest room and got me settled in and made sure that I was okay. I was too exhausted to stay up and catch up with him, so I went to bed, since I am an early sleeper. I ended up waking up at 1am (BC time) the next morning. However, the beauty of this trip was that it was the first time I had to do everything on my own without any assistance.
Because I had woken up so early, I had ample time to get myself together for my first day in BC. The plan for the day was to go out and explore Kamloops and take pictures. The beauty of Kamloops is that it is a small town surrounded by mountains so it was very scenic.
Going to Kamloops made me realize that there is so much to see in Canada. On my way back home, I had a layover in Vancouver, however because of flight delays, I ended up missing my connecting flight back to Toronto, so I just waited and caught the next one.