In 2010, just six months after we got married, Sarah was diagnosed with an incredibly rare, incurable (and often fatal) disease called LAM. We were devastated. Life was a bit uncertain. We had a trip to Spain planned a few months later. We almost didn’t go because we were still reeling from the diagnosis and scared of what might happen. The logistics were also complicated (to us) as Sarah would need to fly with an oxygen machine. But we went, and it was the best thing we could have done. For the first time in months, we stopped mourning what we thought we had lost and started enjoying the life we had, together. Almost immediately after we got back, we booked our next trip. And from then on travel became our number one priority.
In 2016, we quit our jobs to travel full-time. We were tired of living vacation to vacation and we didn’t know how long Sarah would be healthy enough to travel. After months of planning, we set off in June (coincidentally on the date of Sarah’s diagnosis). We spent 13 months traveling to 27 countries. We went to places we’d only ever dreamed of visiting like Australia and New Zealand, and places we wanted to get to know better like Germany and Japan. We also raised awareness for Sarah’s disease and connected with members of the LAM community throughout the world.
When we came home, we knew we didn’t want to stop. We relocated from New York to the Netherlands so we could travel more easily. And we started a business – Accessible Itineraries – that helps people with accessibility needs travel to Europe.
Sarah has a rare lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (more easily known as LAM). LAM is a chronic, progressive disease that strikes mainly women.
There are just over 3,000 diagnosed LAM patients worldwide, but the total number of patients (including those undiagnosed) is estimated at 200,000-300,000.
about travel breathe repeat
This blog started as a way for us to document our year of travel and inspire others in similar situations to see the world. But it’s evolved.
Travel inspiration and accessible travel
Though we try to write about accessibility as inclusively as possible, we know that our experience is just that… ours. So we also welcome guest authors who write about their own unique experiences.
Living with LAM
When we set out to travel (some of) the world, raising awareness for LAM was a huge part of our trip. We met with people in the global LAM community including women with LAM, heads of foundations, and doctors and scientists searching for a cure.
A large section of this blog is dedicated to raising LAM awareness and helping people understand what it’s like living with LAM or any chronic disease.
If you’re interested in working with or writing for Travel Breathe Repeat, please get in touch.