Girl snuggling with stuffed animal

Getting Back Into Things

The title probably isn’t funny to anyone but me (I seem to inherited my dad’s terrible sense of humor), but there’s a joke in there! We had to abandon our plans of a year of travel back in early September when my back decided it was too cranky to carry on.

Back pain isn’t interesting except to those who suffer from it, so I shall simply say that I was barely sleeping because of the pain and had significant pain while walking, sitting, or standing as well. Put all of those things together while trying to shepherd three kids around the globe, and I guess it’s a recipe for failure—or at least a change of plans. So that’s what we did.

After visiting 14 countries over the course of three months, the kids and I flew from Podgorica, Montenegro back home (via Warsaw, Poland and NYC). Just in time for Hurricane Dorian to hit Charleston (well, technically we missed the storm by a day as the airport was closed)… and Dorian to hit our house and necessitate replacing our roof this fall.

Instead of Traveling, I Might Like to Spend the Fall Convalescing

Upon our return, I got to bop around the medical community in Charleston instead of bopping around the Balkans (as I had planned) and learned via MRI that I had sciatica in addition to three herniated discs. In the 2.5 months we spent at home, I had:

  • two steroid injections with a spine specialist;
  • multiple sessions with a physical therapist (Jason is awesome, even when he is sticking enormous needles in one’s glutes and hamstrings);
  • countless visits to a perpetually kind and upbeat chiropractor;
  • near-weekly massages with my all-time fave massage therapist;
  • and finally thrice-weekly sessions with a crazy smart and strong trainer/chiropractor who specializes in disc injuries and training through injury.

In short, I guess I made getting better my full-time job, especially if I include all of the PT and stretching exercises I did solo at home. Part of getting better was coming to terms with the change in plans—having set out to travel with the kids for a year and coming back after just a quarter of that time felt really disappointing to me. Some of that work was in therapy, some of it was with Sam in his role of a supportive husband, and much of it was with treasured friends—reconnecting over coffee or on walks through the neighborhood. More on all of these hard-won life lessons at a later date, perhaps.

On the Road Again

Child cuddling stuffed animal
Getting cozy with her stuffy Brody on our overnight flight to Portugal

Anyway, WE’RE BACK ON THE ROAD! We left yesterday (Tuesday, November 19th) afternoon—luckily with a long layover built in at Newark—as our first flight left 2.5 hours late. But, we still had plenty of time to make our connection to Porto, Portugal (an 11pm flight!) and arrived in Porto this morning around 10:45am local time (five hours ahead of Charleston). It was chilly and raining when we arrived. Luckily, our AirBnb hosts were accommodating of an early check-in, so we headed straight to our apartment and had some downtime before a short afternoon of exploring once the rain slowed and we had a bit more energy.

More soon as we get some sleep and have it in us to see a bit more of this city before Sam joins us on Friday.

Hey there! I’m Melanie. Originally from Brooklyn, home is now Charleston, SC--or wherever my three kids and husband are. Our family gap year will take us around the world, touching down on six continents over 12 months.
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