May 7, 2012

Why I Still Travel to the Wild, Even after Stroke and Autoimmune Disease

Friends have often asked why I–a klutz with zero athletic aptitude, a stroke survivor on blood thinners–travel to places they see as  perilous: the jungles of Thailand or Borneo or Papua New Guinea, for example. Or, more recently Syria, Jordan, or the always chaotic India.

I answered that question in the essay “Why I Still Travel to the Wild,” which was published in October, 2011, in the anthology Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness, available at bookstores and on-line. I hope you’ll check it out.

In that essay, I explain my love for adventure travel.

Frisky pandas roll around at the Panda research center near Chungdu in China’s Sichuan Province

Travel broadens my world, keeps me connected to the earth’s hum

I also talk about my fears, traveling to wild places where medical care is thin; “where the water is often unsafe and the food chancy; places with infectious diseases, malarial mosquitoes, venomous snakes and the wildest of animals.

“To prevent another stroke, my doctors told me, I’d have to take dangerously high levels of blood thinner for the rest of my life. Any travel remote from medical help would be risky. An infected finger, a slip on a damp temple step, even a minor traffic smash-up would no longer be mere annoyances–they could be life threatening. Not to mention autoimmune flares, overreaction to heat, or a jet-lagged mistake taking more or less of  those hazardous blooding thinning pills.”

So why go?

Because I wanted to wiggle my toes in the mud of adventure? To share in my husband’s fearless and irrepressible wanderlust?

Botswana’s Okavango Delta – Startled by our boat, this hippo was not happy

This month, JunglePants features some of the sights that keep me headed back out on the road and asks the question:

Why do you travel?




Filed under:AfricaStoriesTravel Books || Tagged under:

Like Jungle Pants

Put on Your Jungle Pants

sign up for free updates
Stories, Tips, Resources and much much more.

Anne Sigmon

For more information about stroke and autoimmune disease, visit