A blog about writing, reading, travelling and great characters I meet in life. I love these things more than cheese-on-toast times trampolines times monkeys.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

An incredible adventure by Chris Senior

I went along to the Royal Brompton Hospital In South Kensington last night to see Chris Senior.

When I arrived, Chris was just finishing off his pork chop dinner, his arm connected to a drip.

Chris is a mate of my friend Wesley, who sent me a Facebook message a few weeks ago asking if I could give Chris a few travel tips as he's planning a round-the-world adventure.

'Sure,' I said to Wesley. 'I'll talk about travel with anyone.'

So back in February, Chris and I met up for the first time in CB2 cafe in Cambridge. Chris had downloaded a world map on to his Mac - and he was picking out countries like a muso picks out albums they really want to buy. We non-stop chattered for 3 hours that day about places far and wide - from India to Thailand, South America to Malaysia, Jordan to Australia.

It was as clear as Philippines seawater to me - Chris had the totally incurable and infectious buzz for travel.

When you've gotta go...

Chris is in his late twenties and runs a successful drum business in Hertfordshire and Essex. But he's decided it's time for an incredible adventure in his life. Stops on the trip might include trekking in Nepal, island life in Thailand, the hills and mountains of New Zealand and the Indonesian jungle.

Last night from his hospital bed, Chris tells me he's decided.

He's got his list of backpacking essentials to buy.

He's travelling as light as possible.

He's booking a flight to Bangkok then the rest is totally open.

He's leaving as soon as he can get off his IV Aminophylline and complete the latest round of physiotherapy to clear his lungs.

The Royal Brompton is a specialist heart and lung hospital. Chris has spent around 3 and a half years of his life in hospitals, receiving life-saving treatment for cystic fibrosis. He's on up to 4 strong antibiotics at any one time, to keep infections at bay. It's really bloody hard for him to breathe a lot of the time.

And of course the advice from his doctors is not to go...

...it's too dangerous for him.

"I'm going to live my life," Chris says to me with a grin. "I've been wanting to go explore the world for years. I love adventure and I hate being tied down. My psychology and my physiology don't really go well together!

"Over the past 3 or 4 years life just seems to have got so much harder. Both physically and mentally. It got to the point where the juice ain't worth the squeeze... it's just too much effort to live day to day for the enjoyment and results I actually get out of life.

"I'm not the sort who likes the idea of wasting away in a hospital bed over a number of months. I'd much rather go out with a bang! So, I'm gonna go experience what wonders the world has to offer. I want to find inspiration again. To enjoy being alive and like when I was younger, be able to almost ignore the fact that I'm not very well and just have some fun!

"I'm putting a few things in place before I go so that if I don't come back then the money that I am currently taking from the business can go to do good things to help people for years to come. And at at least I'm going out swinging....No one can say I just gave up!"

A doctor pops in at the end of my visit to Chris's third floor hospital room...

She says that the IV bag that's currently feeding into his arm will be the last one of this round. When that's finished, the physiotherapy will start and Chris will be able to get outside for the first time in a week.

And then it's Bangkok for Chris in just a few weeks' time.

Chohk dee kha Chris - good luck and wishing you a wonderful journey round the world :-)

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