What would I tell people with TBI about taking a trip?
Travel is one of the greatest gifts to most people. TBI people have some challenges, but you also have ways to get restart your abilities. I would also have someone who would help me. For me, it’s my wife. Both of us have had to find new ways to deal with our lives. Start with a few short trips and review what worked and what needs an adjustment. A year ago, my wife and I went to Chicago for a week. We made a few mistakes and I had to admit a few of my mistakes. (I couldn’t find a restaurant and I got lost and ended up walking into a dark alleyway. By the time I found the restaurant I was angry. I needed to slowdown and remember that I am lucky to be in Chicago… “Go Cubs.”)
What are easy tools for traveling?
My Apple travel Apps have been helpful. (I’ll give more info in this section.) One of the things I have always used while traveling is using printed trip itineraries. I printed hotels, airplanes, trains, and even purchased museum passes just to make sure I had everything with me. I would look at my iPhone Apps and double check on my printed information the day before. (My TBI has caused me to get into those rabbit holes that can drive me nutty. Rethinking…rethinking…rethinking—let it go and now it is okay.)
My old days of travel never bothered me when I would get lost. One of my TBI problems is that I can get trapped into a thought that I cannot avoid. Now days I need to plan and stick with my traveling. (Yes, I have slowly improved on my TBI.)
So, use your APPs and either write your plan for the day, or talk with your partner and go through your trip for the day. I have always been a person who arrives early and then I would just look around and relax. It is a vacation. Don’t get wrapped up in a problem, open your world and don’t stress.
Hotel APPs have been helpful for me. Before you start to log in to the hotels use Privacy so the web pages don’t track you by the hotels and increase the costs.
After you find the hotel that you like, use the other web pages to compare the costs on the hotel. I always use: free breakfast, air conditioning, location, and four stars. It takes a little time, but it is worth it.
Why did I print my airport information?
- I printed my airplane trip so that I could see and read my information. There were times I needed to see my printed out information and recheck my times and locations. (Yes people with a TBI might have times when they have trouble understanding the difference between a mixed memory and the truth. Does that mean I am crazy? Nope. It means that I can memorize short and single items.)
- We traveled from Seattle to Reykjavik to London, to Madrid to Barcelona, and then to Paris.
Some of the hardest parts were me admitting that I couldn’t do things I used to do. Reykjavík was pretty easy because it’s a small city and has a limited number of people and limited words that you have to speak.
(Icelandic people are amiable and most people speak the English languages to travelers, so Iceland is a great TBI location.)
- England can be a good location, but it can be difficult to understand when locals talk fast. It is always okay to ask people to shorten words and to explain to TBI people. Yes, it is okay to tell people that you have had a brain injury. (Avoid trying to stress yourself. Take some time to just sit around and watch people in London. Always be in the moment.) Yes, I used to think that the English language made sense… then I had my TBI/Aphasia injury… the English language is a mess.
- This APP is a Mac iPhone. The Google translator works well too.
- You can speak into this iPhone and it will speak in a different language. There are multiple languages on the Translate APP. Play with it before you take your trip. Find an APP that will work best for you.
- There is a Google APP that Translates also. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.translate&hl=en_US&gl=US&pli=1
Here is my trip: Airplanes, hotels, buses, trains, museums, restaurants and parks. This helped me, and my wife, a ton. TripIt allowed me to talk through my wife with what we would to tomorrow. The APP allows to send your travel to your friends and partners.
Why am a cheap weasel?
Well, I could pay $200 to use a Taxi near my airport to my hotel, or I could use $20 to walk .4 miles from the airport to the underground to my hotel. I could then use my $180 left over cash and eat ten lunches. Yes, I would have to walk a little more to my hotel but it is better to lose a few pounds once I start eating in Paris.
Yes, I always walk to the underground and go to the ticket person and say, “Bonjour. I’m a dumb American. I need to take the Metro from Charles de Gaulle to my hotel.” French people usually understand that most Americans cannot speak French words so don’t sweat it. I always add a few words… “Merci, au revoir”…”Thank you, goodbye.”
Take your time to get in the right Metro direction and sit down until you arrive at the hotel. If you are taking a large luggage bag I have no advice. Well, I do have some advice, “Leave half of your travel clothing in your house before you go to Europe.”
Spend some time using your APPs and get used to what works best for you. Yes, it is important to practice before you travel with your TBI problems. Try to avoid getting frustrated and angry. Just be happy you are alive and enjoy your trip.