Sick and travelled.

โ€‹I had decided. I wanted to be a journalist. When other children were by-hearting lessons, I was busy writing my own stories. Parents noticed this talent, and without much ado said, “She’ll be a journalist like Jaanu Tai (my sister’s BFF’s elder sister whom we never met, but were collectively overwhelmed by her profession.)

But that was childhood.

As I started growing up with chronic hyper-acidity, I realised journalism is not my profession. I mean, who’ll be out in the sun, covering news the whole day, and battling acid reflux in the washroom the whole night! Thankfully, I discovered a better outlet for my creative writing and joined advertising.

But, that’s not the topic of today’s post. Then why am I telling you about my childhood dream? I’m telling you about it because today I was about to make the same mistake, by letting my health dictate my future.

My entire friends circle, my colleagues, and of course, my family is aware of my hyper-acidity. According to WebMD, I have IBS. It may be true. It may be false. But one thing is for sure, my stomach creates acid like there’s no tomorrow. Too much sun, untimely meals, skipped meals, a few food-foes like raw onion and capsicum; anything, absolutely anything can aggravate it. doctors say that precaution is the only cure in such cases. But it’s extremely difficult to control these factors all the time. And when you’re travelling, it’s next to impossible to manage the temperatures, availability of food, etc.

So last night, while combatting with a heavy migraine and constant vomiting in a hotel room at Hampi, I was almost on the verge of quitting once again. As I grew up, I realised I wasn’t cut for journalism. I thought, may be I am not cut for travelling as well. I popped a painkiller and forced myself to sleep.

Come today, I woke up as fresh as a flower, all set to fill the backlog of yesterday. Undoubtedly, I had an amazing time, which covered up for yesterday’s sulking.

No way, I can do this compromise and stop travelling the way I want to. No way, I’m letting my weak health win over my strong passion.

Now, as I’m contemplating while heading back home, I felt the need to write this post.

So, here’s my promise to myself in order to have safe and healthy journeys forever. If you, as my reader, find any tip from below helpful to sort your health issues while travelling, it’ll be my pleasure.

1. Tanking up is compulsory.
Just like a vehicle on road, your body also needs fuelling up. There’s a logic behind dividing your food intake in four to six meals. For God’s sake, stick to it. If you are planning to visit a remote destination, stock up some chocolates, nuts, cookies, anything that you like and your body is familiar with. My favourite is the good old Parle-G.

And one more thing! Go ahead, load yourself with the complimentary buffet breakfast at your hotel. But don’t try to miss your lunch time and cover one more sight. You’ll end up wasting your rest of the day in the washroom, and you don’t want it, do you?

A scrumptious lunch at German Cafe, Hampi.

2. Sun is unavoidable. But sun stroke is not.
A scarf, a hat and a pair of sunglasses with UV protection; make these three your best friends. You may feel like ditching one of them in quest of travelling light, but don’t make that mistake ever.

I never understood why cats love to soak in the sun so much… until this happened in the afternoon, at the Sunset Point, Hampi.

3. Hydrate yourself.
These days, almost all backpacks have bottle-holders, so why not put them to good use? Always carry at least a litre of water with you. Keep sipping while you’re out. You can even compliment your meal with refreshing drinks. Juices made from the local fruits taste yum. Ginger lemon honey tea goes perfectly well with any kind of food. Even coconut water works wonder when it comes to hydration. Heat strokes can be tackled better with hydration.
While I was dealing with throat inflammation, acidity, migraine and a god damn corn, all at once in Kerala, coconut water came to my rescue. Why aren’t we declaring this as the world’s most magical fruit already?

4. Accommodating doesn’t mean compromising.
While travelling with groups, being accommodative becomes a virtue. Do not compromise on the basic needs of your body and go with the flow, just because someone wants to go to an Echo point. Articulate your needs. Tell your friends that you need to tank up first, or that your legs are hurting, or that you need to pee. They are your friends, they’ll understand. And if not, make a mental note to make that the last trip with them. If things are completely out of hands, and neither you nor your friends can do anything about the situation, put your solo traveller cape on, and step out from the group for a while. Let them proceed with the plan, and you cater to your needs. Once you feel better, join them. They’ll be happy to see you after recouping than looking at your sulky face while you torture your body in order to be ‘accommodative’.

These three ladies handled my sickness so well in Kerala, I have no words to describe my family’s patience. (The driver was too cool to not be in the frame.)
5. Travel happy.
Stress makes your head hurt. Avoid any kind of stress while on the road. Plan well if you are a person who frets about the drawbacks of unplanned plans. I usually do a little homework to understand the weather, food, amenities, etc, that the destination offers. It helps you pack your bag well and be geared up for any uncalled for situation.

But hey, don’t pack your other worries with you. Be it some pending work at office or any odd job that you were supposed to do this weekend, do not take anything of this sort along with you. Trust me, you’ll feel the difference when you won’t.

How can your stress not melt away looking at these snow-clad Ladakh mountains?

Did you notice most of these things are quite predictable and simple? But interestingly, simple things are the most difficult ones to do. I hereby promise myself to follow these five rules, and wish that all of you too may always enjoy a happy and healthy vacation! 


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