I’m health conscious, annoyingly so. And I take great pains to make sure I stay healthy, whether I’m stuck in a routine or galavanting somewhere far away.
One of the main anxieties I had, when I started to travel full-time, was ‘staying healthy’. It got overblown when my parents shoved themselves into my travel plans. Because that’s how they are!
Is it safe? Should you get any vaccine? Do you have enough meds? How can we contact you? It went on and on…
I understood why they were fretting so much for a week-long solo trip to Indonesia. My immune system isn’t known to be the best. They wanted to know if I could handle myself.
And I did, even as falling unglamorously from my surfboard every day for 2 hours became a performance of sorts (for others).
By the end of the trip, I realized it wasn’t physical precautions but the mental peace that helped me come back with a swollen knee, tanned forehead, and lifetime of happiness.
The following five measures have now become the base of my travel planning, and it was because of these steps that I could find the strength to consider traveling as my calling.
Put some Zinc on it
I bathe in sunscreen, being one of those people who apply it every 2 hours. Not some spray, but the pasty, sticky kind.
It’s extremely important to know which sunscreen you need to use that actually protects your skin. I find sunscreen lotions with Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide work the best against broad-spectrum UVA and UVB rays.
I personally love Neutrogena’s products. Some of them contain both minerals and come in higher SPF ranges. I use SPF 60+ because I’ve sensitive skin (sigh!).
Treat yo’ self with right skincare, because you deserve it!
Healthy and otherwise
I carry a medical file of relevant reports and prescriptions. And keep images of the important medical data on the phone.
So when my phone gets moody and hangs or drains at the right time, I still have access to my history if I need to get medical help. This has saved my ass when I almost choked on my own cough in Japan and needed to seek medical help.
You don’t have to carry a file like me. But having a summary sheet or an ID with you is a simple but effective assurance that you’ll get the right treatment.
It’s also a great supplement to your cashless travel health insurance.
Deep breathe in
Meditation is the perfect way to bring the life back into you, literally. I do it every day (though I started doing it to soothe my mom’s scary outbursts).
All you have to do is close your eyes, breathe in and out for a few minutes. You don’t have to reach Zen on your first try. You can’t, anyway. Let every and any thought come and go. That’s it!
The place doesn’t matter while you meditate. I do it when I know I’ll be tired like on flights, in layovers, or anxious: When I eat something fishy or do an overnight journey.
One coconut, two coconut
We all have a love/hate relationship with our hair. It flows, it sticks, it splits. It’s an arduous process.
When I travel, my hair tends to become its own entity completely. Long flights, different minerals in local water, food, and weather do their goddamn best to ruin it.
How do I counter that? I apply coconut oil and let it soak into my scalp for at least 2 hours before washing. It’s a nourishing, organic supplement that reduces hair damage due to sun exposure, weather changes, salt water, and pollution.
I strongly recommend using it in your daily life to improve your scalp and hair health and growth.
P.S.: Coconut oil is fabulous for the skin too.
In case of emergency
Full disclosure: I do this step for my sanity. Once I decide the itinerary and know the cities I’ll visit, I sit down and open Excel sheets.
I put on my oversized glasses and list down nearest hospitals, clinics or emergency facilities, the care they offer and whether they accept a travel insurance.
I don’t stop here. I note down the country-specific emergency numbers, embassy address and contact information.
This is solely for my own interest so that I can truly be in the moment and appreciate what I have in front of me. I’d recommend doing this step if you find it assuring like I do.
. . . .
These steps are not exhaustive, but they do a great job of giving me peace of mind with lesser uncertainties (not a big fan of them). Wherever you’re or plan to be, I do hope you put enough effort to stay healthy and make the most out of your adventures.
I’d love to know if you’ve taken similar steps during your travels and how they’ve helped you in the comment section below.