Be gentle, folks, this is my first disability blog carnival entry.
As the theme for this one is "On Holiday" and I love word-play, that's the title.
I have a love/hate relationship with vacations. Once I get there, I love it (usually). It's the *getting there* that I hate.
Imagine that crowds, noise and lack of privacy can trigger anxiety and panic attacks. Imagine spending a full day surrounded by people non-stop, noise overload, the only "alone time" available is a trip to a dirty airport bathroom (or a claustrophobic airplane or Greyhound bus toilet). Over the years I've figured out some coping strategies - I wear my cloak (hurray for medieval re-enactment) so that if I have to, I can pull the hood over my face, wrap myself up in my "blankie" and feel secure enough to take a nap (this strategy only really works once I'm ON transit though - I shouldn't recommend it for airports or bus terminals); I have an MP3 player to help shut out some of the background noise so that I feel a little more alone; I bring books so that I can tune out my surroundings and lose myself in someone else's world; or (especially when I take the night bus) I have my writing notebook and I sit there in my little circle of bright from the overhead light thinking and crafting poetry. One day I want a laptop computer so that I can also play some of my favourite games to help distract me. (The Sims 2 and Civ 4 rank VERY highly on my list of favourite games - well so does World of Warcraft but that relies on an internet connection and that is tenuous while in transit).
Great. So now I'm "there" and I'm away from my familiar house, my familiar routines. Internet access ranks highly for helping me maintain my balance - take away my access to my blogs, my email, my games, my message boards and I start feeling very isolated. I've spent my adult life relying on the internet for a sense of support, of community. No matter how screwy my sleep schedule, my online communities are there when I need them to be - that can't be said of real life people who have lives and schedules of their own - at my convenience and theirs. Yet another reason to get a laptop! It's even more important when I'm away from home to have my decompression time, my alone time so that I can process what's going on and enjoy being there.