I was raised on the Northwest side of Chicago, Illinois. As you may know, Chicago is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world spread about the city in well-defined neighborhoods. As I got older I would dine and explore the other areas of my great city to expose myself to each neighborhood’s food and culture, all along becoming more curious about the people I shared my great city with. By my early 20’s, my gal pals and me would take off for day trips and weekend getaways to other parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. I cannot tell you how wonderfully therapeutic these getaways were. Not only were we able to explore and eat great food, we were able to relax, unwind, and connect in a way that we could not do at home for one reason or another (school, work, husbands, children, large families, you know, life). As luck would have it I would move to another great city: Orlando, Florida in 2004 with my husband and three children. While most of my gal pals still live in Illinois, I have others who have now moved on to other states as well—New York, Georgia, and New Hampshire. My gal pal getaways have taken on new meaning now that we are so spread out.
I worked in the legal industry for more than 20 years and in 2008, I developed a serious illness, and was diagnosed with a chronic pain autoimmune disease for which there is no treatment or cure. Until recently, my condition prevented me from living my life due to regular bouts with pain and fatigue. While trying to find my new “normal,” I felt completely lost most of the time. I lost my identity; I lost me, and had no clue on how to find myself so I could start living again. My gal pals were instrumental in reminding me of a version of myself that felt remotely familiar that I could identify with. Our gal pal getaways solidified our bond in sisterhood. Now, I have learned through trial and error how to handle my symptoms so that I may continue my passion for travel and bonding with my gal pals. Today I have a unique understanding of the difficulties involved in recommitting to hope and having a well-lived life.
While doing research to implement a plan that would help me understand my “new normal”, I searched for hope, ideas on how others handled their new limitations, and if my feelings of loss were normal. I knew I had limitations now, and I accepted that, but I wasn’t convinced that meant I had to live an unfulfilled life. I found few positive resources. Much of what was available to me focused on the science and symptoms of illness, but I wanted to find out how to re-engage and live again within my limitations. I began my “rebirth” just over a year ago. Taking baby steps, testing my new boundaries, and accepting my “new normal” self. My mission is to live a life of quality and I hope that sharing my experiences will help you find strength, hope and solutions when you make a commitment to live beyond your illness.
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. I hope that by sharing my experiences you find strength, hope, and solutions when you make your commitment to live beyond your illness.
Carmen M. Perez, Travel Counselor
Your Florida Travel Expert and Gal Pal Bounce Back Getaway Specialist
“You dream it, I plan it, you deserve it.”
Call me now to get pampered, play around, or just bounce back with your girlfriends, and without all the drama.
Telephone: (407) 900-9258 E-mail: Carmen@CmpTravelCounselor.com