“I’d love to travel the world if it wasn’t for all the dangerous things out there”
I’m especially concerned about my health.
Do you think that a long term journey around the world sounds absolutely fantastic, but you can’t stop worrying about all the terrible diseases that are waiting to jump on you as soon as you leave your home?
Or, maybe you’re not really afraid of small things like the viruses and bacteria but of the big ones – the sharks and the venomous snakes?
Or perhaps you aren’t worried about big or small creatures but instead avoid taking your dream trip fantasies seriously because you keep thinking about all the crime, violence and terrorism that you have heard about?
Or you think that flying is one of the most unnatural and terrifying things you could do so you don’t even see the point of dreaming of other places and cultures?
If so, you are not alone.
When we start thinking about actually doing something about traveling to some distant place, it’s not uncommon for our instinctive fear about the unfamiliar to show up.
We become hesitant, maybe even change our mind about that great trip because we see all the terrible things that could (or probably will!) happen to us if we take that step into the unknown. And of course, bad things that we want to avoid in our lives do exist, all around the world, as well as where we live and in our homes.
If you are dreaming of taking the trip of a lifetime but feel that your focus on the risks is bigger than your motivation to travel, there are of course many things you can do to alleviate your fear and increase your motivation.
Our goal for this site however, is not to present specific solutions to various practical problems with respect to traveling because there is plenty of great information written by other experienced travelers about that. Here we just want to give some general advice as well as express some opinions about some of the areas that we know can be distressing to people.
The most fundamental thing is –YOUR HEALTH
Health issues, or rather the fear of acquiring some acute or exotic disease or of becoming ill in an unfamiliar environment is a “biggie” for many travelers and potential travelers.
If this is something that worries you, one thing to start with could be a health check up with your doctor or health practitioner. Knowing that you are fit and healthy is a good way to start and also gives you the opportunity to discuss your health worries and get some advice. This is especially important if you already have a specific health issue that needs attending to. Seeing a specialist about traveling can also be a good idea if you think it will help you feel safe.
”Living a healthy life in general is of course the best way to lay a good foundation for a successful trip.
The same goes for your teeth.
Knowing that your teeth are in good condition is reassuring, especially if you want to travel to a part of the world where you would prefer to not having to visit the dentist!
“First Aid” course
For additional help to feel safe and make it easier to let go of focusing on health risks, one option is to participate in a “First Aid” course. Doing this will strengthen your self confidence to travel whether you are planning a trip to somewhere exotic or whether you are thinking of exploring closer to home.
If you are dreaming about really adventurous traveling, you may even considering something like a “First Aid Wilderness” course.
It is also important to educate yourself about the environment you are traveling to.
You’ll find plenty of information on this subject on the Internet. You can, for example, find updated recommendations at each country’s Foreign Offices. Here are two good ones with plenty of information for world wide travel.
If specific diseases in specific areas worry you, educate yourself about the situation.
Research the facts:
- Where is the disease – in the whole country you want to visit or in certain areas?
- Is it a year-round problem or only during a special time of the year?
- How can you protect yourself, are there preventive actions you can take?
- What can you do if you become affected?
- And also, what is the real risk?
Finally, if you find out a risk really is bigger than you feel comfortable with, why not choose another destination or another form of traveling? The possibilities are endless!
When you then have learned everything you can and been on your dream trip and are back safe and happy, you can even be a role model for other people who want to go on similar trips and don’t think they can!
The only travel related “disease” our family has been affected by is the one that is also the absolute most common; travelers stomach. We’ve had it twice, after we had visited other families who were ill. It was in France and in Canada! On the other hand, when we’ve visited more exotic places, India for example, we remained perfectly healthy the whole time!
If you are faced with some health issue while away, don’t hesitate to consult a local health practitioner. Usually they know a lot about illnesses that are common in that specific part of the world and you also get the opportunity to get some new perspective on medicine and health care.
|This doctor in Kerala, South India, treated us when we got the flu. Our symptoms disappeared almost instantaneously!|
|A very interesting selection of his medicines|
We have also been careless enough to gain experience with the second most common travelers complaint – sun burn. We have now learned that going snorkeling on the day you arrive in an exotic sunny location, without sufficient protection (high SPF sunscreen and/or long sleeve t-shirts and trousers) is not a very good idea if you want to be able to sit comfortably during the day or rest comfortably in bed at night.
“Mistakes are great moments – at least in retrospect:)”
You can get ill anytime, anywhere…
Most commonly though, is that you will become ill in your home environment. Often the reason is too much stress and worry which affects you in an even more chronic way.
As we see it, stress, worry and living an uninspiring life are considerably bigger risk factors for coming down with a serious illness than a relaxing, adventurous, long term journey around the world.
So remember: taking it easy, having fun and relaxing are things that can affect your immune system in a positive way. This, together with some common sense, takes you a long way (maybe even further than both vaccinations and medicines.)
Visit Books we recommend for some reading suggestions.