Something that I think surprises people about me is that I absolutely love travelling. I rarely, if ever, go to the same places twice. It’s a big part of who I am.
Travelling gives me time to think; to experience different sights and different cultures; to engage with the world in a different way.
And there’s probably a part of me that likes the fact that I am different because I am a stranger, rather than because I am strange.
I have visited 31 countries across 5 continents. But there is still so much of the world to see. And I’m not ready to stop travelling yet.
But I may have to.
For the most prosaic of reasons: travel insurance.
Because I was trying to get insurance today for a trip I’ve just booked. I’m used to declaring my pre-existing conditions – I’ve had to do that since I was 23. And I was resigned to the fact that it would cost slightly more now I’ve been diagnosed with yet another (physical) condition.
That’s all fine.
What I wasn’t expecting was for the quoted premium from the insurance company I’ve been using for years to increase from £14 to £40 when I added Asperger’s Syndrome to the list. The increase was simply because I’ll be travelling on my own. If I was travelling with someone I knew, there wouldn’t have been any increase in cost.
The stupid thing is that I’m much less likely to have autism-related difficulties when I’m travelling on my own than when I’m travelling with others. Admittedly that’s because when I’m not travelling solo then I tend to be travelling with my parents, which increases my anxiety levels somewhat. But they don’t ask sensible questions like ‘will you be travelling with people who stress you out’. They just assume that autism + solo travelling = higher risk.
And I’m only going to the Isle of Man! Hate to think what the premium would be if I was going further afield.
It’s not a major problem this time. I’ve shopped around and managed to find a (much) cheaper insurance policy for this trip. But I hate that I’m going to have to factor this into any future travel plans, when I am no more of a risk than I was a year ago (probably less of a risk, when I think about where I was psychologically this time last year).
It’s just one more unexpected thing to deal with. It won’t clip my wings permanently – I won’t let it. But it makes it more difficult for me to fly.
And there are still so many blank spaces on the map left to fill…