June 20 Pamela MacNaughtan

Staying Sane During A Travel Hiatus

I have spent the better part of six yeas travelling around the world, spending a month, maybe two, in my hometown in Ontario, Canada. My passport and backpack were the two constants in my life. And then at the beginning of March, things changed. I fell, several times, while walking on icy sidewalks and streets in Québec City, my home away from home.

I’m not new to falling, especially in Québec City, but this time was different, on the day I was set to fly back to Toronto I slipped once more at the bottom of the stairs outside my hotel, twisting my back as I fell. That evening, as I stood in line at the airport to go through security my back ceased up to the point where I needed a wheelchair.

Prior to falling outside my hotel, I could walk around for about an hour or so before my back would hurt. After the last fall, I am lucky to last 10-15 minutes before the pain sets in and I need to sit down.

As someone who walks everywhere, especially while travelling, this injury has been a heavy blow. I have never had mobility challenges, and while I know there are people who suffer more than I, it is still difficult to accept that, for now, I am unable to live as I once did.

I’ve had x-rays, and there are no fractures or breaks. Technically the pain should be gone by now, but it is not. Why? Nobody is sure. Maybe it is stress, maybe if I lose weight things will heal faster — although I am unsure of how to do that without walking or exercising.

So I’m here, in my hometown, with my family, and trying to decide on how to best move forward.

Staying still to deal with health issues is not ideal, but it is the smart thing to do. Or, so I have been told.

What does one do when they have to go on a travel hiatus?

The first, and possibly most important, is not allowing myself to get swallowed up by depression or self-doubt. It is so easy to get frustrated by a lack of mobility and then let a wave of depression wash over you, swallowing you into its depths where is will slowly suffocate you. Fighting that wave is difficult.

There are times when my arms are tired and I start to sink below the surface, but then I get a boost of strength and I fight my way back to the top and frantically look for something to hold onto. Something that will eventually help me to get far away from the waves of depression and self-doubt.

For me, the key is to stay busy/distracted. And if you have read this blog in the past, you will know that writing here has not been a priority for me. Instead of writing, I have been working on my Québec City website, as well as doing social media work for a couple clients. It is enough to keep me busy, and I am not constantly worried about trying to come up with blog content or the blog analytics or staying attractive to brands.

Making tough decisions

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, and I especially love sharing travel and food and culture stories, but after a lot of thought, I have decided to distance myself from the travel blogging world. I wrote about that a couple months ago.

I don’t identify with that world, not anymore. I miss the way travel blogging was in the beginning, the way I was in the beginning when I wrote because I loved to write and I wanted to keep my family and friends updated on my adventures. In the beginning, I didn’t worry about numbers or brands or paid campaigns or advertising or trying to be a popular blogger.

I have debated about closing thing blog for good, deleting the facebook page, and writing only under my own name. Anything to distance myself from the things I have done in the past – text links, sponsored posts, paid campaigns, press trips, free hotel stays for reviews.

Yeah, so not a perfect blogger. I have made mistakes, well, they were mistakes for me. And now I am working on correcting them.

I have decided, for now, to not delete Savoir Faire Abroad. I have put a lot of work and hours into this website, and it is hard to let that go completely. I am, however, changing things up and cleaning this site out. Sponsored posts and campaign posts are being deleted or rewritten (if the content is still of value). Going forward I am doing things old school, which means no more press trips or free accommodations or brand partnerships or paid campaigns.

I’m going back to travelling for myself, with my own money.

When I write, it will be because I have a story I am dying to share. At the moment, with my back injury ruling my life and keeping me from travelling, my writing schedule will be sporadic, and I am completely cool with that. After all, if I’m not thinking about numbers or going viral, I’m writing for me and my family and my friends and whoever else wants to read the posts on this blog.

I am not happy about being unable to travel right now, but I am doing the best I can to keep my head above water.

Plus, there are so many stories I have not shared.

**Feature photo taken by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom during our hang-out session in Bangkok, Thailand


About the Author

Pamela MacNaughtan I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.