When am I Ready To Travel Alone in Eating Disorder Recovery?

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Whether for business or leisure, traveling is often part of living and included in normal routines. Even if traveling may not necessarily be your “cup of tea”, you may find if necessary for various reasons, such as work-related trips, visiting distant family members or joining special events.

Even the most basic trips can become arduous when in the midst of an eating disorder and can make traveling much more challenging. Even when in recovery, traveling might be much for difficult than expected, and it is important to understand when may be an appropriate time to resume doing so.

Signs of Recovery From an Eating Disorder

Travel journalTraveling does require some flexibility on the traveler’s part. Delayed flights, lack of food choices, language barriers, time zone changes and more – all these factors can create a sense of chaos, especially for a person in recovery from an eating disorder. Structure is often needed, particularly in the earlier phases of recovery, to help a person establish self-care and healing, and this can easily be lost in the mix when traveling.

In the most ideal circumstances, a person should be well established in recovery before considering traveling independently. Support is a necessary part of ongoing and lasting recovery, and being away from loved ones and friends for an extended length of time can feel isolating.

If you or a loved one is in recovery and considering traveling alone, reflect on the time in your recovery up to this point and your ability to sufficiently care for yourself. Are you able to sufficiently feed and nourish your body on your own? Can you independently manage medications you might be on? Are you able to appropriately cope with stressful situations? These are all factors that should be considered before planning to travel independently.

Taking Baby Steps

While you may be eager to resume normal aspects of your life after treatment for an eating disorder, especially traveling, be sure that you are not prematurely putting yourself in a situation that you may not be ready for. If you are still working with a treatment team or eating disorder professionals, discuss your thoughts and desires for traveling as well as ways to be successful while in recovery.

You may even consider taking some smaller trips that are closer to home and for shorter durations as a “trial period” before launching out on your own big adventure. Consider your reasons for wanting to travel alone as well. Are you looking to escape from someone or a certain situation? Are you looking to prove yourself to friends or family after being in treatment?

If it is not necessary for you to travel alone, consider asking a close family member or friend to come along with you. Whatever your particular situation might be, do not pressure yourself to do something that you might not otherwise feel ready to do.

If the thought of traveling while in recovery creates stress and anxiety for you, this is a good indicator that you may not be fully ready. This does not mean that you have not been doing well in recovery – but rather, that you might need to give yourself more time. Taking things slowly and in stride in eating disorder recovery can help you be more successful when encountering the various challenges that may arise when traveling alone.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

If you have resumed traveling while in recovery, what were some ways that helped you know you were ready to travel alone? What encouragement might you offer to other individuals who are hoping to resume traveling?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 10, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com