Monday, September 27, 2010

Vantramping with a disability.

I have been planning on writing this post for quite some time, but my reluctance to make mention of my own disability (Cystic Fibrosis) has kept me from it until now.  I am not ashamed of it or embarrassed mind you, I just really choose not to let it have any more impact on my life than I have to.  I believe, however, that the time is right to share some of the positive sides of vantramping with a disability in the hope that someone will benefit from it.

There is no doubt that many look at a vanhome as a very small space to live. The positive side of that is that it is a small environment requiring much less to maintain than even a small apartment. It is an environment that is easily customized to work more efficiently in suiting the needs of those who live within it.  In addition, this customized and highly efficient space, is conveniently along with you in most every situation.  There is no concern that you may have left an important or much needed item at home where it will do you no good in an emergency.  In my case, it offers me a private, comfortable place to relax and use my nebulizer if I find myself feeling congested, no matter where we may be. For just about anyone, it can be nice just to have a quiet place to lay down and let a headache pass or get over a stomach issue.  Having the peace of mind that comes with this mobile and always available refuge is truly priceless!

There are many out there, living nomadic lifestyles with a disability, that otherwise would not have been able to travel and experience so much of life without the economic advantages of a mobile dwelling. More specific information about finances can be found in my post on "The costs of life on the road".  Applying for the various national, state, and county park passes that offer discounts to those who qualify, is a small task well worth the effort.

Being able to migrate with the climate is a major advantage to those who deal with breathing issues or the various circulatory issues etc. Also, the ability to leave an area that has suddenly turned hazardous due to smoke from forest fires or an outbreak of influenza, without having to pack and make arrangements, can truly be a lifesaver.

I know that some contemplating this lifestyle in the future may have questions about dealing with ongoing care and any specialists they may require.  I can only tell you that for my situation, it has not been a problem. In most every area of the country, there are qualified doctors and specialists. It may not be the one you prefer, but with a little research as you travel, it is not hard to find any service or practice that you may require.

I have read many discussions on keeping your medical records along with you on the road, and I can tell you that I don't do this. In the cases where a doctor has needed access to my medical records, they have always been able to request them from the last medical facility that I utilized.

For prescriptions that are ongoing, it is pretty hard to beat Walmart, as there just are not too many places you can go and be far from one.

The last aspect of vantramping with a disability I want to cover is dealing with maintenance or modifications, etc. This is really something that is more about the individual than the disability. The ability to break a job down into many smaller tasks, then slow down and focus on one tiny goal at a time, is often what is needed to make almost any job possible. It may take 20 times as long but if it matters to the person, and the time is available, there are very few limits to what anyone can accomplish. 

As always, I hope this information is helpful and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have if I can.


  1. Your right, Mike. We think being mobile is a plus too. We've been able to find doctors any place we've needed one and really haven't had any problems at all.

    We've been using Walgreen's and have found them almost anywhere we've needed to get meds.

    Good post,


  2. Mike,

    Truly an inspirational post. Thanks for stepping out and posting, it can't help but benefit many.

    All the best,


  3. My only health problem is being (almost) 64 and a bit overweight!

    I had breast cancer a few years back, and this summer when I had another scare (bad mammogram etc.) I thought thru how I would deal with it if I was on the road. I decided that it would not be a problem, and that we would just have to stay put for however long treatment took.

    Fortunately it turned out OK.

  4. Good post Mike and a lot of good points & things to think about. As a debilitating migraine sufferer, having the option to kick on the A/C, block all light & lay down as soon as a migraine strikes would be much better than having to try to attempt to drive home or calling a cab. Merci bien ami :)

  5. Something I want to mention here - medical records may be good to have. But really, medical people anywhere will be able to give the best care to people who know themselves and their condition(s) and the best way to treat them. (As you do, Mike.)

    the former RN

  6. Inspiring post Mike. I think you made the right choice, to travel and live in your van. I know you will help people who read your post, and who might wonder if they can live the rv or van lifestyle, with whatever their health issue might be.

  7. I admire your courage and confidence to get out and enjoy life! GOOD FOR YOU!

    I have also used our motorhome, while parked in the driveway at our house, to recuperate from a couple of surgeries. It's all one level, in contrast to our home where there are too many steps. Everything is closer at hand, compared to our house. And I could lean on the cabinets and doorways easier to get from bed to bathroom to kitchen, compared to our house with big open spaces and nothing to lean on.

    So even at home, being debilitated for even 8-10 weeks was made easier by having the RV.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  8. Very inspiring post. Like Karen (above) I too admire your courage and confidence to live a fulfilling life!

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Your words have no doubt touched and educated many people, including ourselves.

    My husband and I have had the discussion if one of us were to ever end up with a sickness or disability we will do whatever it takes to maintain our current lifestyle.

    It's refreshing to hear that you have such a huge zest for life!


  9. Good post Mike....good stuff and well written....

  10. Becoming ill or having a disability could stop most folks from traveling. I am healthy but my mom is 80 and is experiencing some breathing problems. We see our doctor once a year, we go to Walgreens for our prescriptions, and there are always Urgent Care Clinics, doctors, and hospitals wherevever we travel. Thank you for sharing. Living in a van is the only way to travel and to live. Great Post.

  11. Great post...thanks for sharing.

  12. This was such a great read. Thanks soooo much for posting this.

  13. Wow! Thanks for all the positive and very kind comments! Seriously, it means a lot to me that you all took the time to read it and were so thoughtful with your words ;)

    -Mike(who has the best blog friends anywhere!)

  14. good post
    in fact, perhaps your best so far

    well done

  15. Nicely said! I love the idea that you can change your environment so easily. Weather changes don't impact me horribly, but I am aware of a difference in how I feel. How nice to be able to listen to your body and go where you can be your healthiest!