traveling while sick

How to Manage Traveling While Sick

So it’s been almost a month since I’ve put anything out there on this blog. This isn’t because I haven’t been doing any writing, like I explained previously. It’s because I just haven’t had the real inclination with everything going on. Aside for working on my graphic novel and traveling full-time, I’ve also been traveling while sick. Even though I’ve been traveling as a lifestyle choice for the last year and a half or so, this is the first time that I’ve been traveling while sick.

Obviously, it’s just as bad as it sounds if your trip is only a finite length. But if you’re traveling long term, there’s much more you can do. Firstly, you need to be aware of where you are traveling and what the conditions are like. When getting into Hanoi a few weeks ago, I had no idea that the weather change from Chiang Mai and the air quality would be such a significant factor. If I had done my research, I might have packed more appropriately, both with warmer clothes and more medicine. But of course, nobody expects to have the experience of traveling while sick, so I didn’t really think about it.

But for long term travel, one of the things you’ll quickly recognize is how disparate the places you are traveling to weather-wise, even if there are cultural similarities. For example, there are a lot of similarities between South Koreans experience with the Korean War and how Vietnam portrays the Vietnam War (or if you ask them, the ‘War of American Aggression’). But when traveling while sick, you don’t notice these things. The cultural nuances get lost to your cold, your headache or your sore throat due to the abrupt weather change. You don’t go out and experience the place you are and learn about the culture you’re surrounded by. Instead, you stay in and watch season 2 of Stranger Things and order cheeseburgers.

Fortunately, when traveling long term, it’s not as though you don’t have the time. You can take a week or a week and a half to recover. And that’s just what we did. We took time to let the sickness dissipate. When working from home and being in a foreign location, it’s actually pretty easy. You don’t have to take a sick day or anything like that. But what you do need to do when traveling while sick is be aware of your health. You need to listen to your body and realize that this week might not be a good one to go out and explore. While that’s always tempting when traveling while sick, it’s ultimately something you need to avoid in order to get better.

Sometimes all you can do is hang out in bed in your short term rental or hotel room. And instead of destroying your enjoyment of a new location, you can let it be a part of the experience. You can take the time to actually feel better, adjust to the weather changes and experience the culture. Only than can you truly make traveling while sick a natural part of the travel experience, and not something to be reckoned with.

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  1. You travel and you are working on a graphic novel! That is an awesome combination. Though I don’t travel full time, I hear you that you need to be aware that you may need to take days to rest and nurture your health and not feel guilty about it. As someone with a bunch of chronic illnesses, I usually need at least one day to rest and not do anything.

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