Hey there travel lovers, I am Michelle of 193 Life.
At the ripe young age of 6 months old I began traveling. My parents, specially my mom always had a love of traveling, and I guess you can say she rubbed off on my dad.
My family and I began travel the US by car. Road trips kinda became “our thing”.
After years of so many people coming to my mom for advice and help with their travel plans, she decided to open up her travel agency, and thus MCH Vacations Inc was born!
I was only 7 when I took my first international trip and in 2010 I traveled to Europe for the first time. From there on I caught what my mom likes to call the “Europe bug”. Because I shared the love of traveling with my mom, I decided to jump on board and help her with MCH Vacations while I was in school.
After my first Europe trip, about a year later, I was helping a couple with a trip for their honeymoon and I saw an incredibly cheap cruise to Europe, which to this day I believe was an error on their part haha lucky me! I decided to submit my name and $100 deposit and book the cruise without giving it a second thought. My sister and I had a “gap semester” before we could graduate with our Bachelor’s degree, so I talked her into joining me on the trip.
Because we had so my frequent flyer miles and did our research for the most affordable prices and locations, my sister and I were able to travel for 21 days, visiting 10 different countries on our own.
While we were on that trip, she had mentioned how great it would be to move to Europe some day, even if it was just for a few months. Seemed like just a dream, so life continued as usual once we were back home. I move to Charlotte, NC for law school, and she went on to teach 1st grade in Miami. Unfortunately, I got sick and had to move back home, still reminiscing on our 20 day adventure, and how far fetched the idea of living in Europe seemed to us.
6 months later, my sister went off to Brno, Czech Republic and I went off to San Remo, Italy. We both stayed in our respective cities for 1 month and traveled throughout Europe. We lived in Europe for a total of 3 months.
I mentioned to someone that I had a dream of wanting to see the whole world, not just the main tourist attractions, but I wanted to visit every country in the world, to see how they work to experience how they’re different. I was told it was impossible, so of course being as headstrong as I am, I said I’ll do it WATCH ME!
As of 2011 I have been working to make it a reality. I have attempted to visit as many countries as possible. It’s not always glamorous, and can definitely be exhausting, but it’s something I’ve set out to do.
Traveling has become my lifestyle, not just a hobby. Traveling is something I plan my life around and I’ve been very fortunate that my job and circumstances have allowed me to do that.
In 2015, I was misdiagnosed with Lupus. My inflammations levels were so high that the doctors could not fully understand what was going on with me (which in all honesty has been the story of my life). As a result of constant testing and trying to put all of the conditions together, I was diagnosed with severe case of psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
I was in a doctor’s room with my mom and I was told I had 4 different auto-immune diseases. In a moment, I saw life change drastically. I refused to let my illness change my life, and the plans I had for myself. I had 5 trips planned for the rest of that year, and I was determined to go on and fully enjoy myself. My doctors were also aware of my lifestyle, and they knew how much it meant to me that nothing would change.
Yes I live my life in constant pain, and I’ve had to acclimate my travels to accommodate my conditions, but I refused to let it stop me from traveling. It has taught me more about life, and myself than I ever thought it would. I have come to realize that at 30 years old, every day is different with my pain level and some things might need to be adjusted and that’s okay. It has taught me that life is short, and we don’t have that luxury to wait until later to visit the places we’ve dreamed about. We need to make our dreams happen for ourselves, and see as much of the world while we can.
In life, we all need to adjust to curve balls that get thrown our way, and this is my curve ball. I will go into more depth into each of my conditions in hopes that I can help someone struggling with it as well as to bring awareness, because not everyone understands what auto immune diseases are, or how they can affect someone.
My hope is to someday help find something that can cure them or help make them manageable so people with auto immune diseases, like myself can continue living a happy fulfilled life.