Travel as a sensitive person isn’t easy. Plus, I am an adventurer. If I am on a trip, I want an EXPERIENCE. My husband loves to re-tell the story about the time we were touring the underground labyrinth at Buda Castle in Budapest which featured a fountain of Dionysian spickets flowing with red wine. Of course, as though it were a water fountain, I didn’t hesitate and leaned in for a drink. Later, reflecting on the vinegary taste, I realized it may have been someone else’s spit bucket wine.
When in Rome, right?
Yes, for a person who should be more cautious than most, my enthusiasm to try, taste and experience has gotten me into trouble. Foolish impulses aside though, for even the most cautious traveler, international travel involves a bit of risk. With new food, new water comes new pathogens. Then there’s the air travel itself. Over time, as I’ve traveled from Cairo to Damascus, Rome to Barcelona, I’ve learned that a certain amount of fear and trepidation is healthy, and that there are certain things I can do to minimize physical distress and disease. If offer: my checklist. I also keep this checklist in my suitcase so I can pull it out and check things off, as forgetting certain things can really cramp my style -sometimes for weeks, ugh.
___Slippery Elm powder: for internal lubrication. Air travel is drying. In Ayurveda, being up in the air presents an overabundance of Vata (air) activity which dries out our innards, we get constipated. When waste stops moving, our risk of infection increases. You can find this in your bulk spices and herbs section of your health food store. Mix 1 tsp. with water and take at beginning of journey and upon arrival. Take daily, for at least first few days, to keep things moving.
___Detox baths. You arrive at your trip and feel you “may be coming down with something”; you are all out of sorts even if you never actually get sick. It may be radiation. Air travel exposes you to radiation because you are flying so close to the sun. For this reason I pack 1 cup epsom salt to baking soda, blended to detox from radiation. What also helps: avoid x-rays in airports (use reason: “I have health issues…can I get a patdown instead?”) and fly at night if possible.
____ Eye mask and earplugs
____Headphones and iPod
____Sleeping herbs. I recommend: Sleepy Nights by Wish Garden and Herbatonin, a more bio-available natural plant based form of melatonin.
____Daily vitamins and pills in pill organizer (I like this one), including a few extras for emergencies: D-Mannose for UTI, oil of oregano and extra vitamin C for infections, GSE for questionable water, extra probiotics for diarrhea.
____ Powdered greens. I am spoiled in California where I can eat fresh greens and veggies every day, but travel far left or right and it gets dodgy. I mix Amazing Grass Raw Greens Superfood with water- or coconut water if I have access to that.
_____Yoga mat. It’s nice to have a lightweight, packable mat to stretch out on. This thin one by Manduka gets the job done.
Eating healthy in an unhealthy world is hard. More and more, no matter where you go, packaged processed foods infiltrate ethnic diets. Airports are the worst for this! In flight and on land, as a rule of thumb I aim for eggs for breakfast, if an option (or grain-free porridge), a big salad with olive oil, lemon and protein at lunch, more veggies and animal protein at dinner.
____Bedtime and morning teas
____Porridge or healthy instant cereal you can add water to. The typical “European breakfast” served in hotels, one of hard rolls, processed meats and cereals is not healthy.
____Aged hard cheeses, wrapped in parchment, stored in air-tight container.
____Beef jerky. Make a healthy grass fed version with this recipe.
____Raw or whole grain crackers
____Cans of wild salmon or sardines if you like them can be helpful
____Sliced lemons. Lemons are alkaline so help keep your system disease free.
On the Plane
Don’t eat what they serve you in flight and instead pack your own food. Remember, you will be dehydrated on the plane so you will want to avoid snacking on things that dry your insides out — like nuts, chips, crackers.
____Huge salad with protein source like grilled chicken or fish, your own dressing
____Hard boiled eggs
____Raw fruit and nut bars
____Plenty of water – at least 8 ounces every couple of hours
Your List Here (swimsuit, shorts, sunscreen, hat etc):