There are few things that compare to being truly, truly sick while traveling. Being ill, regardless of location, is a major blow to anyone’s productivity, well-being, and ability to appreciate anything. At least while you’re home, you have the comforts of your own bed and (if you’re lucky) a person to be there to take care of you. On the road, you’re wasting away – both in terms of your body, and the days you have left in your foreign environment.
While I’ve been fairly lucky not to be too sick on any of my trips this past year, that all changed these past few weeks. On my way home from Spain, I made a week-long pit stop to London, England, and then later spent a little more time in Los Angeles. In London, I was lucky enough to still make it out and see the land, but by 10pm every night, I was knocked out in ways many sleep-deprived insomniacs could only dream of (my previous self included).
In Los Angeles, however, it really began. In the course of a week, I experienced an intense flu, stomach bug, an ear infection, and then what seemed to later be the beginnings of an eye infection (which I managed to catch before it crippled me). I once went through the terrors of a bad ear infection while in Dubai, but never while I was hit with several other health problems at the same time!
This time has been a fitting end to what has been a year of consistent coughing and feeling under-the-weather. This, unfortunately, is a part of the job of teaching English that no one tells you about. Though working with teenagers and adults means you’ll avoid this to a greater extent, if you’re like me and work with pre-schoolers, you’re not going to be as fortunate. Perhaps my immune system decided it was time to flesh out all of the bacteria those adorable kids brought on me for so long. It’s okay, I feel good now, I tell myself. With that said, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
What this brings me to is this final point: take care of yourself while you’re out there, seeing the world. You can live cheaply while being adventurous, but that shouldn’t mean not getting the nutrition you need. Sometimes catching a cold on the road is inevitable – as I said, working with kids results in this a great deal of the time – but sometimes it’s avoidable. Even when it’s likely to happen, it’s manageable! Although my time in Spain is over (for now), I know I’ll take these lessons forward with me for the next adventure. Good food and a good workout are never out of reach, even on a remote beach or mountain.