It is inevitable that you will get sick on the road. If you are lucky, this sickness will involve a quick trip to the doctor and some anti-parasite medication. If you are me, your illnesses will straddle several continents, a multitude of body parts and an exploration of Eastern and Western medicine – all in the span of one year. 

I am obviously not a medical professional, but below I've listed some of the Dos and Don'ts that I have cobbled together from 14-odd months on the road:


● Do try and bring a friend who speaks the local language. If that fails, bring a point-it [LINK]dictionary and a lot of patience.]

● Do keep sterile syringes on you. They take up very little room and are indispensable the one time the hospital or doctor has run out of clean needles. These are much cheaper to purchase on the road – I bought mine in Chile.

● Do invest in travel medical insurance. I took mine out as a Canadian national, meaning I am covered everywhere in the world except Canada. Check the riders for activities such as scuba diving, skydiving, jumping off random bridges or high altitude climbing if you've a bit of an adrenaline addiction, like I do. A good resource is BootsnAll's travel insurance page.

● Do eat street food, often. The reality is, street food is a great way to explore local culture and cuisine, will earn you props with the locals and is usually a safer option than whatever fancy restaurant is in town. So long as you stick to street carts that have lineups or a good turnover, and make sure your food is cooked through, you are less likely to get food poisoning than a quiet touristy spot.

● Do read How to Shit Around the World before taking off. If possible, try to read this book in public places, with the cover in plain view. You will make new friends.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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