Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.
This week our blogger of the week is Sarah of Travel Breathe Repeat.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 36 years old and married. I’m a born and raised New Yorker. In 2010, at 30 years old, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare, fatal, incurable lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). My husband and I had just gotten married 6 months earlier. Along with a whole bunch of uncertainty, we were told I shouldn’t get pregnant. After the initial shock, I eventually figured out how to cope and just kept on living my life as usual. But the one thing my husband and I always loved to do was travel. We started talking about taking some time off to travel full-time and explore the world and ourselves. It took a few years of thinking and talking and planning, but earlier this year we did it. We both quit our jobs and sublet our apartment and are currently spending the summer in Europe. Later this year and next, we plan to go to Japan, S. Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called Travel Breathe Repeat. It chronicles the journey my husband and I are on as we’ve taken a year off to explore the world and connect with the international LAM community. The blog is meant to: 1) inspire people to live their dreams, 2) show people that traveling with a chronic illness is possible and fun (with tips along the way), 3) raise awareness of LAM, and 4) give my LAM sisters hope.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging about my husband and my travels during a trip to Tokyo in 2010. That blog was more personal for family and friends. I started Travel Breathe Repeat this year as a more public blog to continue to chronicle our travels, help further connect the LAM community, and raise awareness for the disease.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I post on the blog once or twice a week but update social media every day. Right now I wait until we’ve explored a new city fully to post about it (we typically spend ~1 week per location). I also sprinkle in other posts about what it’s like to travel with LAM or a chronic illness, as well as posts about my meetings with members of the LAM community
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
I love blogging. It allows me to document our travels with my photographs, which I love taking as well. Before I started Travel Breathe Repeat, there were a lot of people in my life who didn’t know about my illness. By using the blog to make it all public, I feel so much more comfortable about myself and I think I’ll feel the same way when we get home.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
A lot of people on this forum talk about invisible illnesses. I pretty much have one of those (except during the times when I wear oxygen). I want more people to be aware of the people around them and that anyone could be going through anything at any time. Also, I think it’s important to try to help others going through similar things that I am. If I help or teach one person one thing with my blog I’ll be happy.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Write, pause, re-write, pause, repeat cycle several times, post. Sometimes I’m so excited to write about a place or a meeting I want to post immediately. But my husband is there to help me take some time to think about what will really be impactful to other people and make things more interesting and I’m always so much happier with version 30 than I am with version 1.
2. Take your own photos! I love photography, so it makes me so happy when I see a post come together with photos I’ve taken that I think are so beautiful.
3. Keep notes on topics you want to blog about. I have a list of ideas that I hope will keep me blogging on a regular schedule and I’ve started some draft posts for the same purpose.