Tag Archives: vacationing


This week, Bruce and I were able to get away to one of our favorite places ever: Burlington, Vermont. When we booked our trip (months ago), we had envisioned jeans and hoodies, beautiful foliage, and the usual excessive beer and decadent food. We had been looking forward to this trip, especially when we learned that it was actually the weekend of Oktoberfest in Burlington. Having friends from high school who live there, it was such an incredible treat to hang out with them, as if no time had passed since we were all together last, probably when we were just 18 years old. It was unseasonably hot and humid, but we enjoyed it just the same, even if we were wearing shorts and t-shirts instead of jeans and hoodies! Also, I did feel a little naughty because I have never taken a vacation in September before because teachers just can’t do that. in place of my usual blog entry, please enjoy some shots of Burlington through the eyes of #TeamRankin.

We love this hotel. The restaurant is great, the bar is great, and the view of Lake Champlain can’t be

First night: reunion with my girls.

First night sunset… can you blame me for never wanting to leave?

If you find yourself in Burlington, go to the Penny Cluse Cafe and order the ginger bread pancakes.I promise you will not regret it.

On our way to explore Stowe.


No foliage but plenty of flowers!

Beer for him. Smuggler’s Notch vodka and soda for me.

Apple berry pie with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream. I said decadent, right?

Sunsets for days!

We might….

Mural that I love with a pan-handler right in the “V”!

Oh… hello there!

Like I said… not much foliage but plenty of wildflowers.

I can never resist a sunflower.

Crazy fun night with Bru and my girls.

Sunset over Lake Champlain.

My friend Peg and I were among the first to go down the hops slide. Its very steep from the top! I am still trying to get the hops out of the shoes I was wearing!

So. Much. Fun.

Sugarbush Resort.

Got my ticket for a bucket list item for me: zip-lining!

That’s me there!

Flowers upon flowers!

Upon flowers.

I am obsessed with this church and I have taken pictures of it from every possible angle!

And of course… no trip to Burlington is complete without a stop at Ben & Jerry’s!

Our last night in Burlington did not disappoint.

After a great vacation, i know it will take me several days to recover, but that’s ok. It was worth every second, and it is a trade-off I am willing to make because otherwise I would never leave the house. Even though travel has changed for me and Bruce, we still do it, with accommodations, just like everything else in my life. It’s not such a bad thing. After all, my glass of lemonade is still (and always will be) half full.


Who doesn’t love a great vacation away from the stresses of everyday life? When you think about taking a vacation, images of restful days in tropical places, or even experiencing a myriad of adventures unique to the chosen vacation spot come to mind. For me, and for many of my fellow MS warriors, there is nothing more stressful than a vacation, from planning and packing, all the way through to getting back home afterwards. 

Heading out for our most recent road trip.

Heading out for our most recent road trip.

In the last few years, Bruce and I have taken shorter vacations (long weekends) within driving distance, for many reasons. First and foremost, being able to move on our own schedule is a huge stress-reliever. We don’t have to worry about getting to the airport, going through security, or any unforeseen delays out of our control. I don’t get exposed to the range of germs in one of our cars as I do on an airplane, which may seem paranoid to many, but those of us with compromised immune systems are hyper-sensitive and we are affected quite easily, regardless of the precautions we take. It’s also nice (and a necessity!) to travel with ALL of my prescribed medications, especially the one that is not federally recognized and I am not allowed to have with me when I travel on an airplane. Yes, I’m talking about my medicinal marijuana, without which I can not sleep, and I’m unable to find relief from the constant neuropathic pain. Additionally, crowds and small spaces cause me so much anxiety because I can’t maneuver through them like I used to, and can push me into a full-blown panic attack at any moment. 


Luckily, Bru is a pretty cool guy. He understands that things are different for me now and he is open to road tripping to destinations within driving distance for us. This allows us to stop as necessary, whether to use the restroom, or simply to stretch my legs without fear of being knocked over by turbulence or even the vertigo that happens when I’m in a small, crowded space, such as an airplane. The trade-off here is that we stay at beautiful hotels and resorts because we aren’t spending so much money on airfare. Plus, having our car with us means we can go out to pick up things we might have forgotten to pack, and not have to spend a fortune at the hotel gift shop trying to get those same items. 


We research our destinations and we have an idea of the things we would like to do and the local attractions we’d like to see, but we remain flexible in case I need to rest in between activities. Plus, we try to go to popular places, but off-season in order to avoid the crowds. Inevitably, certain attractions have shortened hours, but with a little advanced planning, we enjoy everything that much more because there are so many fewer tourists around. When I am able to enjoy myself more, Bru is able to enjoy himself more, which makes it all worthwhile!  

Sometimes we even do things that don't involve eating or drinking, like this stop at Indian Echo Caverns near Hershey, PA.

Sometimes we even do things that don’t involve eating or drinking, like this stop at Indian Echo Caverns near Hershey, PA.

I’m not saying I’ll never get on an airplane again, but I really wouldn’t mind if I didn’t. I am fortunate in that I did my share of traveling while I was young(er) and healthy. I haven’t been everywhere I dreamed of going, but these days, vacations have taken on a whole new meaning for us. Of course we still enjoy seeing new places and experiencing new things, but now it’s more about spending time together, enjoying each other, and getting away together. It’s about laughing and eating and drinking and more laughing. 


Life with a chronic illness such as MS forces me to make compromises every single day. Those compromises don’t just involve every day activities, but also things seemingly as innocuous as a vacation away with my husband. Gone are the days of long, epic trips to exotic and exciting locales, such as Alaska (where we finally took our dream honeymoon for our tenth wedding anniversary), but that’s ok. We have discovered that we love exploring anywhere, and we actually really love road trips! And the truth of the matter is that vacations are also about relaxing and taking it easy, which we do a heck of a lot more of now. 


Most healthy people would say I’m crazy, and perhaps even some of my fellow warriors out there (although I know at least four others who get me here!), but Bruce and I have never followed the herd, and we aren’t about to start now. We do things our way, and we don’t look back. While you take your fancy vacations to places like Europe or Hawaii, Bru and I will be at some craft brewery somewhere on the East coast, drinking beer and playing Sesame Street Chutes and Ladders. 

(You know you’re jealous!)