I didn’t write a blog entry for The Travel Coach last week because I wasn’t feeling well. It was a random fever – no big deal…. but it made me think about what happens when you get sick while traveling. After planning for months and investing time and money in a fantastic trip, it can be awful if you get sick! Depending on the illness, however, it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t still have an amazing experience…getting sick just makes it different than what you expected.
The first time Greg and I went to Europe we literally started our travel planning in the summer for a December trip. Our first country was England and 5 days into our adventures we found ourselves in Bath enjoying pre-Christmas festivities. We toured the Roman baths, enjoyed a Christmas concert and had a nice dinner before turning in for the night in an inexpensive B&B we chose earlier in the day. Everything was wonderful! It was great, that is, until the following day when we woke up and Greg was not able to eat the full English breakfast carefully prepared by our host. He doesn’t like baked beans on a good day but on that day he couldn’t even sit at the table with me when we were offered baked beans, eggs, bacon, toast, broiled tomatoes and freeze dried coffee. He did not feel well at all.
But we had plans!! We had a schedule to keep! Seriously – we planned to visit Salisbury Cathedral and then drive to Dover, stay over night and take a hovercraft across the channel to France where we would then take a train ALL DAY to Germany to meet a friend.
So what did we do? Well – we were in our 20s then and this was our first time in Europe. I love my husband but I was not at all interested – or patient enough – or understanding enough - to change our plans in any way just because Greg was a “little” green under the gills. So we pressed on. He managed to drive the tiny little stick shift car on the left hand side of the road to Salisbury and then all the way to Dover. The ferry ride across the English Channel the following day definitely did not help his stomach feel better and the train packed with smokers who seemed to have not enjoyed the pleasure of a bath or fresh deodorant in a few days didn’t help either. When we made it to our friend’s house in Germany, Greg was queasier than ever.
I met our German friend through work and he was fantastic. When I initially asked if we could visit him in Germany his response was not just positive; it was positive with an itinerary that was quintessentially German in its precision!! So we did not stop just because Greg was not feeling well. No! We drove on the Autobahn to Rothenberg – Tauber and toured that beautiful medieval town. Our friend and I ate German bratwurst with sauerkraut and drank steins of beer and Greg….just couldn’t stomach much of anything. And he loves beer. Enjoying German beer was one of the things he was looking forward to more than anything else on this trip! But he just – couldn’t – do it. We stayed overnight in Munich and then the next day our friend took us to Dachau and the Castle Neuschwanstein. Greg plugged along with us the best he could but he clearly was fairly miserable.
On our drive back to Munich, Greg took a nap in the back of the car. We sped along the highway for an hour and a half or so and all of a sudden, Greg sat up. He said: “I’m better!” “I feel better!” He was so happy!! His illness was over and he could eat! That night we went to the Hofbrauhaus and he ate sausage and drank liters of beer like it was going out of style. He was SOOOO happy!!
That is all to say that we had a great time, even though he was sick – and we have more stories to tell because it wasn’t what we expected! Also, Greg appreciated that beer all the more when he finally got to enjoy it.
So do your best to stay healthy when you travel. Take some familiar medications with you so you have them if needed but know that they have really good pharmacies in Europe. It can be an adventure getting medicine but sometimes they sell items over the counter that you would need a prescription for in the States. A conversation with a good pharmacist can be extremely helpful and keep you traveling even if you’re not up to par. But no matter what, make the most of it and make those memories regardless of what happens – they last a lifetime!!
If you’d like to talk about your travel dreams with me, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear your ideas and help make them come true!