Anyone who has backpacked know that it’s not all sunshine, margaritas, and beaches. Backpacking can be really, really tough. Getting sick while on the road is possibly one of the worst feelings in the world, yet it is in inevitable if you are going to be backpacking for a long period of time. I’ve had quite a few travel illnesses and mishaps. I’m going to share them with you today!
My Worst Travel Ailments
Those 10 Times I Got Food Poisoning
I’ve gotten food poisoning a lot. Really, I should just stop eating fresh fruit and veggies on the road. The people who stick with the fried local delicacies always turn out a-okay. It’s like a constant battle between not wanting to put on excessive amounts of weight and not wanting to be running to the bathroom my entire trip. Anyways…I’ll share the most notable two times with you.
The first time, I was hitchhiking through Laos. I started to feel sick in the back of some random guys truck, and knew it was bad when one of my Canadian friends looked at me and said, “You look like you’re literally going to die.” We ended up getting dropped off at a random guesthouse in middle-of-nowhere Laos, where I proceeded to puke in the flush-it-yourself style toilet all night.
The next time was while I was living in Chiang Mai. I had thrown everything up, but the pain in my stomach would not go away. I was lying on the bed crying to my mother over Skype, who instructed me to get my ass out of bed and go to the doctor. It was pretty severe food poisoning, so they put me on an antibiotic drip. They also gave me a shot of something like morphine, which knocked me right out.
When I Burned My Ass With A Curling Iron
Words to the wise: never, ever leave your curling iron plugged in on a chair. Just don’t do it. I was staying at a tiny guesthouse in Cambodia, with one of those bathrooms where everything gets wet when you take a shower. I was going to go out that night, so I plugged in my curling iron before I got in the shower. Being a forgetful dimwit, I put my underwear on, and promptly sat on the curling iron. Cut to me bawling, standing under the freezing shower, and trying to unpeel my underwear from my now blistered butt. I had to go to the pharmacy in the middle of the night to request large bandages and gauze. Trust me, the pharmacy at 8pm in Sihanoukville is not the place you want to be.
When I Had Bronchitis
I’m always getting some kind of respiratory infection while traveling, and I had this persistent cough in SE Asia for about a month. I was prescribed antibiotics, but being the dumbass that I am, forgot them at a restaurant one night and stopped taking them mid-cycle. This promptly made my cough worse, and I ended up down on the Thai islands. I was in bed with a fever for a week, and coughing up black mucus into the sink. Lovely!
When I Crashed My Motorbike
Expats who have lived in Thailand call them the ‘Chiang Mai Scars’ for a reason. The amount of motorbike accidents that foreigners and backpackers have while driving motorbikes in SE Asia is probably ridiculously high. Almost everyone I know has a story, whether it be burning themselves from getting down on the wrong side of the bike, or crashing and burning. My accident came about five months into living in Chiang Mai. I owned my motorbike, and was getting a bit too cocky with it, swerving around corners like I was starring in ‘Fast and the Furious.’It was on just one of these corners that I crashed my motorbike.
With. No. Other. Cars.On.The.Road.
The Thai farmers watching me couldn’t help but chuckle at the dumb white girl as I shakily picked up my still running motorbike and drove my bloody self home.
When I Had That Weird Spider Bite
I was camping on Koh Rong, Cambodia and woke up one morning with two strange puncture wounds on my thigh. Throughout the day, they started getting worse and worse, and being the perpetual dumbass that I am, I used the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rationale and put a band-aid over them. They ended up getting infected, of course. I tried to take a boat back to the mainland, but of course it looked like a goddamn monsoon was brewing outside and none of the long tail boats would take me. I finally bribed one of the crazy boat drivers, and sat there fearing for my life on the rocky waves the entire ride.
I have so many other stories. That time a drunk guy dropped me on my head in Vang Vieng. That time my boyfriend was driving his motorbike and banged my foot into a pole. That time I fell out of my inner tube and slid halfway down the river on the rocks. (Vang Vieng, again.) Another day, another story. And hey, I haven’t died yet, right?
What are some of your worst travel ailments?