Travelling New Paths with Chronic Illnesses in My Pocket

Travelling New Paths with Chronic Illnesses in My Pocket | A Chronic Voice

*These writing prompts are part of a monthly community activity I host. You can find the link to join us at the bottom of the post. We’d love to have you with us!


I’m late to my own party this month, partially because I was on a fairly last minute getaway to Bangkok! It was an easy going, relaxing one, even though my friend from Berlin booked the wrong flight and arrived a day late… ?Needless to say I was a bit annoyed, especially since I took an early flight to meet him at the airport. I had to wake up at 4am, when there are about 10 flights available throughout the day. In any case, I will not complain because I know it’s a privilege to even be able to travel, and to be able to manage on my own despite the aches. With chronic illnesses we tend to need a full day to recover from any flight anyway, be it short or light haul, so I just took the day off alone to rest.

I will also be flying off to Berlin for a few months on a flexible ticket on New Year’s Day itself (cheapest!). Thankfully it was easy enough to reschedule all my medical appointments thanks to my supportive team of doctors, although being away from them for so long is unnerving. This will be quite the adventure for me, having always wanted to live in Europe, at least for a while.

I am having problems with travel insurance, as none of them will take someone with pre-existing conditions for such a long period of time. At most it’s a month of coverage. So it’s quite a risk as well; although having read through all their policies, none of the coverages are really that great anyway, even for a healthy person, should you require admission to a hospital. My only hope is that I don’t end up in a life threatening situation at the A&E overseas, more so because of the cost than anything else. I am willing to put up with pain, the loss of my support network, and other unknowns, in exchange for this travel opportunity.

(Read Related Post: Your Thorough Chronic Illness Travel Guide (with 25 Additional Resources))


I was also delighted to arrive home from Bangkok to the excited squeals from my birds. Scorcher hasn’t whistled or spoken in months, ever since he became a daddy of eight. All that frantic feeding and upbringing must have made him jaded. But that day he whistled in victory, and screamed every single word or sentence I’d ever taught him into my ear. Even shy Stella was squealing away happily. That really warmed my heart up. Birds are cuter than you think (and also messier)! I am going to miss them whilst in Berlin, and will try to spend more time bonding with them before I leave.


Singapore is hot and humid year round, which I find unpleasant. I really hate the feeling of stickiness on my skin. With the arrival of the cooler, rainy season however, comes more fatigue and joint aches. I still find it more preferable however; surprisingly I find such weather soothing, not depressing.

I am not sure how my body will react to Berlin’s winter, but I’m game to find out. I know I’ll need lots of hot teas, coffee, blankets and layers to keep me warm. Whilst winters may be miserable, warming up and getting cosy can be a wonderful feeling, too. Share your best chronic illness winter tips with a summer girl like me in the comments below! 😉

(Read Related Post: What’s it Like to Live with Invisible Illness in Singapore? (7 Locals Share Their Thoughts))


When I go to Berlin, I will be leaving all familiarity and support behind. It will be a leap of faith, a huge change in environment and culture, and so much more. Whether I end up liking the experience or not, I am of the mindset that any travel experience – good or bad – is a useful one in the end. Like I wrote in my ‘About’ page, there is no such thing as useless knowledge, only complex structure.

I know that I will need to be more independent whilst there in several ways. Singapore really spoils you with all the convenience; something I’m aware of having grown up in Hong Kong. Apart from getting around, I will need to learn how to cope with the cold, and also new ways of pacing. Pain will probably manifest in different ways.

I also hope to make some new friends and meet many locals. All whilst still trying to build my business up and find work online. Technically my everyday computer tasks would be the same as in Singapore – work hunting, blogging, etc. But I would also like to spend some time exploring the city, vicinity and people. How much I can explore will depend on how much I manage to earn on an ad-hoc basis. As you can see, I’m going there with huge limits, but it’s an opportunity of a lifetime that I’m not missing out on! 😉 With chronic illness, all you can do is one thing at a time, and take one step at a time.

(Read Related Post: Why Painkillers are One of My Biggest Allies for a Decent Quality of Life)


It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and the ending is no different. Life is swirling in scattered pieces all around me; fortune cookie letters waiting to be picked and interpreted, if I can. I think I’ve reached a stage in my chronic illness life where I’m not struggling to grab a piece, or fighting to pick the piece that I want. Instead I’m just standing still, and waiting for the pieces to flutter upon my feet, whatever they may be. I will then pick them up at the right moments, and read them. Their foretelling will be obscure, as always. I only need to interpret them in a manner that’s best for me. Sure, some things are set in stone. But there is bound to be a river I can still choose to float my stone down, back to the big ocean where we all finally end up in.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to read your responses for December’s prompts too. CLICK HERE to submit your own entry, and to read about what others are up to as well!

*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.

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Travelling New Paths with Chronic Illnesses in My Pocket | A Chronic Voice

Travelling New Paths with Chronic Illnesses in My Pocket | A Chronic Voice

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December 28, 2019 02:03

Sheryl, I’m excited for you in your travels! I pray that you have a great adventure with manageable health issues.

Sheryl Chan
December 28, 2019 02:20
Reply to  Kathy

Thanks Kathy! It’ll be one off the bucket list for me, and it happened without little to no planning, too! Fingers crossed it goes well. Sending you hugs and happiness for the New Year!

JacQueline Roe
December 20, 2019 02:24

I loved hearing you are getting to go on this adventure after such a difficult year! I hope you don’t mind–I am praying for you! Also, the description of your bird now being jaded because of “kids” makes me giggle. As a mother of three, I believe he will recover given enough time–lol! 🙂

Sheryl Chan
December 20, 2019 20:26
Reply to  JacQueline Roe

Thanks Jacqueline, that’s really sweet of you. And yes he did really grow up quickly after his kids. With one still ‘living at home’ he seems none too happy :p Haha I hope he does recover!

December 18, 2019 19:21

One thought that struck me is that I never thought of Singapore as hot and humid. When we have summers here in the UK they are hot and humid but don’t last long. I can’t cope with feeling cold but sometimes the humidity is just too much. Well done on getting a bit of travelling in, I hope I can get travel insurance when I finally decide to to travel. Thanks for prodiving all the prompts and link ups this year, I’ve found it really helpful being given an opportunity to talk about my life and illness. x

Sheryl Chan
December 19, 2019 03:54
Reply to  Anne

Hi Anne, me too! Apart from the linkups, I don’t think I’d write about such personal aspects about my life, though chronic illness and how we cope does seep into everything.

Yea Singapore is awfully humid and I hate it, never ‘got used to it’ (what am I talking about eh…lived here half my life!). Even back in school I could never stand it, heh. When it rains but is still very hot, the aches can also be pretty bad.

Sending gentle hugs xx

December 18, 2019 04:39

Oh my goodness, I am so excited for you!! What an amazing adventure you have ahead of you!

Sheryl Chan
December 19, 2019 03:56
Reply to  Cynthia

Thanks Cynthia, I’m really excited, too! Haven’t done something like this in ageeeees 😉 x

December 17, 2019 06:07

Hello again Sheryl and thank you for all the inspiration and support, for not just this month but for the entire year. Taking part in your link-up parties has often been a challenge but has also been fun and a great opportunity to meet other bloggers that I may not have otherwise.

Anyway, I am wishing you all the best for your upcoming trip to Berlin, and hope it is smooth sailing for you! You are so brave for venturing way outside your comfort zone, especially by yourself. I am sure that it will provide so many wonderful opportunities for you. I am sure that there will be an army there for you when in need of advice or support, especially when needing to adapt to the cold (my tip would be to remember that layering is your best friend – plenty of light layers, which is then easy to remove when getting too warm which can happen easily when in shops and other public places!)

Wishing you all the best for your exciting adventures and hope it is just the start for you in 2020!

Stay safe

Rhiann x

Sheryl Chan
December 17, 2019 18:42
Reply to  Rhiann

Thanks lovely, layers it is! 😉 It should be a fantastic experience. Something that healthy, younger Sheryl would do (and have done!) so it’s not quite ‘stepping out of my comfort zone’ perhaps 😉

I’m happy the prompts are fun and/or useful for you. I love reading your posts and everyone else’s too. Really helps to give some perspective, or kinship. Sending lots of hugs and warmth for the holidays! xxx

December 16, 2019 11:28

Hi Sheryl,

I don’t know how you muster the courage to go for the trip. Being a chronic patient myself, vven a trip to the mall is a challenge. Can you share how you managed to psych yourself up for the trip?
I wish you all the best!

Sheryl Chan
December 16, 2019 20:44
Reply to  Jerry

Hi Jerry,

I understand what you mean, even taking the bus can be daunting for me on some days. I think it was partially the way I was brought up as well – my dad used to take us on trips that weren’t quite ‘ordinary’ either. Like $1 motels, and offbeat destinations. He didn’t like touristy places. So comparatively I think the Berlin trip is quite okay for me as it’s a big city 🙂 Having said that, I’m definitely worried about medical emergencies, but just don’t want it to stop me from living my life and doing what I enjoy – probably the most. Sending you well wishes!