Hey travelers with pain–this week is National Invisible Chronic Illness Week. While the name doesn’t exactly flow trippingly off the tongue, the concept couldn’t be more important. The more folks who participate in this primarily online event, the more visibility we give to hidden illnesses and disabilities. And the more visibility we who suffer with such conditions get, the better treatment we’ll receive from our medical practitioners, our families and friends, our employers, and other folks we come into contact with in our daily lives.
This visibility leaks all over the world of traveling with hidden disabilities and chronic illness and pain. As more people become aware of our needs, we’ll find more assistance when we leave home to travel. Hotels and restaurants will find new and effective ways to accommodate customers with hidden disabilities. Attractions and destinations will seek out our patronage. Perhaps, one fine day in the misty distant future, even the major airlines will find ways to make us just a little bit more comfortable. (Hey, a girl can dream!)
In the year and a quarter that I’ve been running TWP, I’ve seen a lot to feel positive about. I’m seeing lots more attention paid to travel with disabilities on the Internet. just this week, another blog and web site for travelers with hidden disabilities was launched–Traveling Pains. Events like this awareness week are springing up.
So if you blog, consider adding one of the logos and talking about this weeklong event. If you’re like me and suffer from a hidden disability, think a bit about “outing yourself” on your blog or even IRL (In Real Life). I know that can be a hard and terrifying step. But the less hidden we are, the more progress we’ll make towards a world where we can get our needs met.