This summer our family had a reunion in my country of birth. It had been over a decade since I had last been on holiday in South Africa! The cost had always been the main obstacle for me personally.
But apart from that, just trying to find a time that everybody could actually travel to meet up in one area was another problem. South Africa is huge, so it usually requires many hours of travelling to go from one relative to the next. As a person with severe ME, this was no longer an option for us.
We still didn't manage to see everybody, as much as we wanted to. But this was a special occasion: my gran's 84th birthday and it just seemed like the perfect time to go - the majority of us could make it - at last!
An Unemployed Traveller
Being unemployed due to chronic illness means that I live on benefit payments and they don't even cover my rent, not to mention groceries and other expenses. Having my sister living with me has been a huge help and she and my parents cover the rest that I cannot pay for with my allowance.
For this trip I actually maxed out my credit card for one flight and my sister paid for the rest. There were 6 flights in total and coach transit too. Travelling is not cheap and for those of us who cannot work due to illness this means that we are usually also unable to enjoy trips away no matter what the occasion.
I hear of many chronically ill friends missing birthdays and Christmases, baby showers and weddings. Apart from the symptoms that keep us isolated much of the time, the lack of funds is isolating us even more. So I am very grateful for the opportunity and support I have had.
A Holiday In South Africa: My Travel Log
Our journey started in London. My sister and I took a coach to Gatwick and from there we flew to Malpensa in Milan where our parents picked us up. Three days later we all took off from Linate in Milan to Charles de Gaulle in Paris where we took the long-haul flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.
21 July 2016
Another gorgeous day for flying!
It's 31° here in Milan at the moment with lovely clear skies. First stop Paris, then overnight flight to South Africa. This heat is doing me good, been quite well considering all the travelling already done. Back, hips, legs and tailbone causing some pain due to long periods of sitting still, but hoping to get an Isle seat and walk during the long flights. Love that tomorrow morning I'll wake up in Africa and then I get to hug my family again. Can't wait!
22 July 2016
Finally in Africa again!
Had a good flight, couldn't sleep though, too much turbulence over the Sahara, kept waking me up. Aching and stiff all over from all the sitting, but totally worth it!
Loving this warm weather, couldn't tell it's winter today! So warm in the daytime! Much cooler in the evenings though, so I'm enjoying the electric blanket right now. Was mesmerised by the landscapes - so unfamiliar to me. I didn't grow up in these parts. Just loved the vegetation around Johannesburg, very different to the East Coast where I grew up or even London.
Of course we had a tearfully joyous arrival at the airport, meeting family again after many years, ate some good South African food and just enjoyed catching up with family. So blessed!
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