Can someone please prescribe me a week-long vacation?
I think I need a vacation.
No, scratch that. I know I need a vacation.
This may sound preposterous for any of my friends and family who know how often I travel. I take a few trips a year, that’s true, and I spend a big chunk of my earnings on exploring the world. I am profoundly lucky that way. But I want more. Please hear me out before you think I’m totally spoiled (I say this while acknowledging my privilege, I promise).
The majority of my trips are work-related. True: I love my job, and I love going to conferences and talking about books and bookstores all day and night. Traveling with my staff is invigorating, and I am grateful that my bookshop is successful enough that we have a budget for continuing education opportunities and comfortable hotels (even if we have been known to sleep four to a room).
My other travels are usually with Jim. About a year ago, we were on a grand honeymoon adventure, driving from Joshua Tree, California (where we got married) back home to Georgia, where we had a big wedding reception. While the trip was amazing and inspiring and full of love, it was also full of wedding-related stress, fumbling for correct directions, petty arguments fueled from “hanger” (you know: when you’re so hungry you get angry and act like a brat), and needing to make good time to get to our next destination on time. On the drive out to California, we were traveling with a big gaggle of friends and a significant amount of luggage, wedding decor, and music equipment. On the way back home, it was just the two of us, wide open spaces, and lots of visits to cool places and national parks. But, most of the time, it really didn’t feel like a vacation. I didn’t return feeling more rested or rejuvenated. I was happy and in love and full of appreciation for the husband, friends, and family that made the journey possible—but I was totally wiped out and fairly stressed.
In April 2016 during the Migraine World Summit, Dr. Romie Mushtaq spoke almost effervescently about the importance of relaxation, mindfulness, and breathing when it comes to coping with migraine. I don’t have her exact quote (please forgive me!), but she did mention that she’s had numerous patients who had significant improvements in migraine after going on a relaxing vacation. That’s right—next up I just need to get my neurologist to officially prescribe that! Seriously, though, her comment got me thinking…and thinking…and thinking. Since watching that video, I haven’t been able to stop surreptitiously searching for vacation destinations and tropical getaways. I’ve looked at AirBNB rentals in beach towns that are an easy drive from here, and I’ve scoured the internet for all-inclusive deals as far away as Central America.
Going out of town isn’t so easy, though. First off, we are barely catching up now on all the wedding expenses we incurred last year—and we had a lot of help, especially from parents, on that front. My husband and I both have jobs that are going well for us, but those jobs allow us to just barely make ends meet—there’s really not much cash left after the bills are paid and food is on the table. Jim’s also an undergraduate in college at the moment (quick cheer for “nontraditional” students like him!), and we’re both working on becoming better entrepreneurs.
Despite all these factors, I can’t stop my wanderlust. While I love going on high-adventure trips with busy schedules and lots of exploring, right now what I’m yearning for is the sort of getaway where I can totally unplug, get some writing done (or not), get some reading done, not look at my time-sucking Facebook page, not think about Avid Bookshop (unless I want to), and not have to report to anyone but myself. I want naps in the shade, dips in blue-green water, lap swimming, and some light snorkeling. I want midday lunches of veggies and salads and fruit juices on the side.
Can any of you identify with my yearning? Has anyone here ever taken a vacation and ended up having an improvement in your migraine? If you were your own doctor (albeit a less-than-traditional one), what kind of vacation would you prescribe for yourself?
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?