@isabelmc You are not alone! I have been an avid outdoors person - hiking, camping, backpacking - you name - it for over 20 years. I also have Crohn's disease which during a flare-up can cause some pretty serious medical issues. I have to be super careful about my diet and about the water I drink because my immune system is already on a hair-trigger. I've consulted extensively with both my family doctor as well as my specialist about the precautions I need to take before venturing outdoors, and how to take care of myself if a flare-up happens when I'm far away from home. If you have not already done so, I would request a special appointment with your doctor and let them know ahead of time the reason for the appointment - you want to talk specifically about self-care in a wilderness setting. Mainly I'm sharing because I want you to know that, as I said, you are not alone. Even REI Employees and other outdoor professionals have challenges that we have to overcome, but at REI we believe the outdoors are for everyone, and that "A life outdoors is a life well lived." Happy trails, and all the best to you!
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@AlexH-C Welcome Alex! I went to UMASS Amherst (among other places) for undergrad and love western MA. If you ever have any questions about gear, hit us up here! Also, I know it would be quite the drive to get to an REI store from where you are, but did you know that REI offers virtual outfitting? It's a virtual video conference where we can connect you with an expert to answer any questions you might have.
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