All posts by julie

3 Tips for Healthy Air Travel…

Heading to Pakse to explore southern Laos and the Mekong...

I read somewhere that 75% of people get sick in the first week of the their holiday. Most people blame their vacation illness on “the guy that was coughing in the seat behind”, but, really, germs are everywhere, it’s a matter of how well you have equipped your body to fight them.

Here’s my quick analysis of the problem… when you are getting ready to leave for a trip, life gets crazy – there’s a ton to do before you leave, and, you have to pack (always a source of stress for me!) Being extra busy keeps you from eating right and getting enough sleep, adding to the stress. Now, you and your compromised immune system get on a plane, with a bunch of people, and germs. 

I take precautions, but they may not be what you’d think!

Get every shot you can, take antibiotics as a preventative, wear a face mask in the airport, and drink heavily on the plane. I’m just KIDDING!  I actually know people that do this – but really, I do not recommend any of these strategies.

Here is what WILL save you:

Think of your immune system as your army – you must prepare your soldiers for war – germs & stress are the enemy! Organize your battle strategy. The week prior to departure is critical. To minimize all of that last-minute stress, set a fake deadline at least 2 days before your actual departure for getting as much taken care of as possible, and give this same deadline to others, that way when they dump projects on you at the last minute, you’ll actually have time to deal with it. Prioritize! Only do what absolutely must get done. Ask yourself, “will putting this off a couple of weeks, really matter?” (Yes, in this case, procrastination is your friend!)

Make lists, keep one by your bed, it’ll help you sleep better. Make eating right and getting enough sleep a priority (it’ll be difficult, but just DO IT!) Take vitamins that boost your immune system – my savior is “Wellness Formula” by Source Naturals. And, cut back on alcohol and sugar, both weaken your army!

On the plane, drink lots of water, the less alcohol the better, and try to sleep. I refuse to get neurotic about germs, but I guess wiping down your armrest and tray table with sanitized handy wipes would be OK, (but I have never done it). Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, and take your vitamins – same prescription for flu season.

If possible, plan your trip so that you do not hit the ground running – allow a recovery day or two in someplace relaxing. Don’t visit the big city FIRST, save it for the end of your trip. I am not a big pill-taker, but DO take something to help you sleep for the first 2-4 nights – depending on how many time zones you have crossed. And, continue to boost your immune system with vitamins for the first week of your trip.

Salud and Gesundheit!


Choosing between Travel & Vacation…

Travel to feed your soul…

Sharing home made vodka, from a tin cup, with the locals in the Republic of Georgia

As you journey through life, choose your destinations well, but do not hurry there.
Wander the back roads and forgotten paths
Seek out new voices, strange sights, and ideas foreign to your own.
Such things are riches for the soul.
And if, upon arrival, you find that your destination is not exactly as you had dreamed, do not be disappointed.
Know that the true worth of your travels lies not in where you arrive at the journey’s end,
but in who you become along the way.*

Who you become along the way, that is the difference between travel and a vacation. When people ask me “where should we go”, that is the first question I ask them “do you want to vacation, or do you want to travel?” Both have their place, but if you give some thought to the purpose of the trip, you are more likely to get what you are looking for.

By my definition, a vacation is mindless, relaxing, maybe even involves pampering.  Whether that means just sleeping until noon, reading a book by the fire,  snoozing by a pool, or playing tennis, hiking and ending the day with a great meal – all good ways to spend a much needed vacation.

Travel involves not always knowing what comes next, giving up control, relying on the locals, and often, some degree of challenge, or even discomfort, but through all of this, you experience a destination and it’s people in a very different way. No matter how off-course an adventure goes, I have found the pay off is always there – enriching experiences that leave me connected in some small, but deep way, with another culture.

It can be a tough decision whether to travel or vacation. We all have too much stress and can certainly make the case for being entitled to relaxation and pampering, but in my experience, indulging myself gets boring pretty quickly. The good news is, these days, it is possible to combine soul-nurturing, mind-expanding travel, with a little vacationing.

Vacation replenishes the body, travel feeds the soul!

*I am a master Googler, but I could not dig up the author of these wise words. It is used on many websites, plagiarized on a few, and attributed to “anonymous” on others. (and once to Jorge Heredia, but I could not verify that)