Well, look at that, we have a new name and a new look. A brand new adventure is beginning. How exciting? Shouldn’t that be an exclamation mark? Sorry, I’m a little rusty. I haven’t written that much in way too long. I’m feeling wobbly.
I’m engulfed in a bubble of excitement and apprehension. It feels like it’s going to burst any second. If you listen very closely, you might hear it let out a shy, Wee! Then, moments before the inevitable rupture, it doubtfully asks, “Are you sure this is a good idea?”
Nope, not at all. It could be a horrible idea and a complete disaster. Certainty? Ha, I’m not sure about anything in this life. Is that going to stop me? Well, it’s early days. Can’t say anything for sure. Oh, poop, here we go. Ready or not, we’re doing this, so throw your hands in the air and say it with me, “Wee!”
I’m not entirely confident, and my steps are tentative. I’m limping along at a snail’s pace, and the other gastropods (that’s a thing) might lap me. It’s a bit intimidating, and I’ve had some sleepless nights. There have been and will be a few panic attacks. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but that’s what makes this fun.
At least it will be an amusing experiment.
I’m really selling this, eh. Follow me if you want to get lost! Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that? Again, I’m a little out of practice. I’m…Stalling for time because I’m incredibly nervous and unsure of myself, and my heart rate is rising….Deep breath, exhale, whew, all better.
Since this is all new, I should tell you a little bit about myself. Sure, the only thing that’s changed is the name, look, and genre. While those things are a bit hefty, I’m still me, and my origin story remains the same. Despite wishing on stars and crossing various fingers and toes, I can’t change whence I’ve come.
Or can I? If anyone has any suggestions? No…No, I didn’t think so.
If you’ve read my previous posts under my old name (well, my name) then feel free to skip ahead a few paragraphs. I won’t be offended. I completely understand. This will be a quick introduction for the brave souls who’ve found their way here for the first time.
Welcome, nice to meet you. My name is Keri-lee Griffiths (newly monikered: The Wandering Cripple), but please call me Keri or Gimp or Hop-Along. I respond to them all, but please don’t use my full name. It still makes my stomach drop. I have to suppress the urge to profess my innocence. Does anyone else have that reflex or have you grown up?
Where was I? Ah, yes, that’s one thing you need to know about me. I have the attention span of a toddler who accidentally drank their parent’s wakey-wakey juice. It has its pros and cons. The biggest pro? It leads me down some strange paths and out on some peculiar adventures.
This brings us right back to: Hello, my name is Keri, and I am The Wandering Cripple. I was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure (kidney disease) when I was three years old. In the decades since, I’ve had three kidney transplants, been clinically dead multiple times, and sometimes I walk like a drunk penguin. My joints don’t always bend, my body doesn’t perform like it should (it would be easier to tell you what does work than what doesn’t), and I’ve had more surgeries than years of life.
That last line, I stole it from my dad because it has a wonderfully dramatic flare. A flare I come by honestly. You can’t fight genetics, so you might as well have some fun with it.
And that’s what I want to do! I want to have some fun.
I’ve been locked away in a bug-out bunker for two-plus years. I’ve played dodgeball with a pesky virus and lost twice. But the wonderful news is: We’ve made it this far. We’re moving from pandemic to endemic, and I want to be free again.
The one downside— perhaps the only one— of an organ transplant is the medication I have to take. It lowers my immune system so that system doesn’t attack the kidney that was generously and selflessly given (a big thank you to my incredible brother). The pills keep me alive but put me at risk of severe, life-threatening infections.
I assume you’re a kind, empathic person, so you can imagine how hard it has been with this pandoodle. My world shrunk to two locations; my home and my parents. We created our own protective bubble, and it has, for the most part, kept us safe. It has also kept life at a great distance away.
It’s hard to really live when every day is groundhogs day. Wake up, sanitize, stare wistfully out the window, and wait for bedtime. Rinse and repeat. Don’t go outside of the bubble. It’s not worth the risk. My world became small and tiresome. Oh, what a pity.
Nah, it was what it was, and we all did our best.
But now what?
Where I live, case numbers are decent, and vaccination rates are high. Oh no, that word triggers so many emotions. Before anyone starts typing, let’s get one thing out of the way. No, we aren’t going to argue or talk about vaccines. Believe what you want, and everyone can mind their own. This is a happy, fun-time place. Cool? Brilliant.
Where was I?
The numbers are looking good, and I’m feeling a little safer. Not to jinx it or anything, but I’m more than ready to go out and explore my corner of the world. It’s been so long since I could breach the bubble. I’m nervous and, perhaps a bit terrified, but let’s do it anyway.
If you’re game, let’s start venturing outside the bubble and see what mischief we can come up with. Baby steps at first, and I’ll stick close-ish to home. Let’s see what’s out there. The beauty, the bizarre, the delicious, and everything in between.
I’ve always wanted to write about travel, but I’ve put it off for good reasons and bad. But if I’ve learned anything over the last two years? Life is for living, as trite as that sounds, and what better time to start. Come with me as I reenter the world— well, my corner of it— and become a tourist in my backyard.
I’ve got a long list of places I want to visit. Some I haven’t been to in decades. Some I forgot existed. Oo, hello, old friend. There are even a few locations that I didn’t know about. Just typing these words are making my hands shake with excitement.
I’m ready to do this. Scared, yes, but let’s do it anyway.
Welcome to my new site! We’ll explore travel and lifestyle from the perspective of someone living with a disability. I’ll be telling you about my adventures (misadventures?), and I’ll include some information on accessibility as well. For me, the hardest part of travel is not knowing if I’ll be able to move around a space with my gimpy legs and my ill-functioning body.
I’ve always wished that information was readily available, so let’s do it. At the end of the story, I’ll give you as much information as I can, so the mystery will be gone. If you want me to include something? Let me know, and I’ll do my best.
I’ve spent the last few years writing and mental health, chronic illness, and living with a disability. This is a bit of a departure from that, but it flows together. Living with all three highlights a single word that’s the most important: Living.
A big part of living with challenges is finding or creating moments of happiness. Those times- those memories- shape us and make us who we are. They give us the energy and strength to keep going when life gets miserable.
So, let’s have some fun and make some memories.
Wee! I’ll gladly get lost with you. And we could use more resources and advocates for accessibility, especially for travel destinations & points of interest. I’m sure you will inspire many with your bravery and boldness.
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