When I hate life on the road – getting sick when travelling

Nearly all of the time, I love our life on the road. Who wouldn’t? Each morning we wake up and life is new and exciting. We don’t have to worry about getting to the office on time and we don’t have the stress of paying rent or other bills.

Lots of people dream about the life we’re living and we count our blessings that we’re able to do it.

Crescent Lake in Washington Double-Barrelledtravel

With breathtaking views like this one – Lake Crescent in Washington – who wouldn’t love travelling?

But sometimes I hate travelling.

Sure, this is rare. It hardly ever happens. But every once and awhile I wake up and long for four walls to call my own.

“What?!” You might think. “Surely not!”

But yes, it’s true. And it happened to me recently.

This is the story about me getting sick when travelling.

*Don’t read on if you have a weak stomach.*

I fell ill.

Really ill.

I had food poisoning for eight days. EIGHT days.

panda face double-barrelledtravel

This is what you begin to look like after having food poisoning for eight days

Food poisoning is bad enough for one day but when you go for more than a week trying not to poo your pants, it becomes a pain in the ass. (Pun totally intended.)

 What made me sick?

I’m not sure what made me sick but I think it might’ve been some pizza we ate in Wisconsin.

It had minced meat on it and after reading Fast Food Nation I’ve discovered a lot of minced beef in the USA has poo in it.

Obviously this can make you sick and sometimes seriously ill (and each year people in the US actually die from contaminated meat) but of course I only read this part of the book after I got food poisoning.

Needless to say I won’t be eating minced beef for awhile.

 My food poisoning journey

Anyway, I spent the first night of my illness rushing to the toilet and the next day in bed.

The problem was that the following day we were leaving our Wisconsin house sitting assignment to go camping through South Dakota and Wyoming, exploring the Badlands, Yellowstone and everything in between.

bedroom in London Double-Barrelled Travel

Where I wanted to be rather than sleeping in the van…

I assumed I’d be better by the next day.

I wasn’t.

You’ve probably all had food poisoning at some point or another.

It’s not fun.

Try having food poisoning when you’re camping in the wilderness, sleeping in the back of a van and are scared to go to the outhouse (no flush toilet and no electricity) in the middle of the night in case a grizzly bear eats you.

That’s really not fun.

Yet that was my life for the next eight days. We drove through the Badlands and Dave kept pulling over, wanting to go hiking. I kept wanting him to pull over so I could make it to the toilet in time.

buffalo in the black hills double-barrelledtravel

As we drove through the Badlands I began to envy this buffalo who was curled up on the ground

Serverly dehydrated and with my stomach rotating more than a carousel at a fun fare, I dozed in the car while he went hiking, or panicked and yelled at him to drive faster to the nearest gas station so I could use their facilities.

I began to long for home – even though I don’t have a home!

 Lowest point of the food poisoning fiasco

But the highlight of this food poisoning experience was when we pulled over to have lunch at a picnic spot in the Badlands. I went to the outhouse immediately, while Dave set up the picnic table.

Upon my return, Dave tried to get me to eat something even though I didn’t think I could stomach it. I nibbled on a sandwich and immediately felt a movement in my bowels.

Queue second rush to the toilet.

Pretty flower in the Badlands double-barrelledtravel

The Badlands is so pretty but I could hardly bring myself to take this photo nevermind hiking up the hills behind it

As I was exiting the outhouse, I neared a large American family from Illinois (according to their license plates). The granddad, probably around sixty years in age, pointed at me and said at the top of his lungs, “That girl has diarrhoea  That’s the second time I’ve seen her go to the toilet!”

His wife, daughters, their husbands and even the grandchildren all turned to me and stared.

If I wasn’t so low on energy perhaps I could have thought of some witty response.

But as it was, I was tired, in pain, and angry.

So instead, I bowed my head and made the walk of shame past the family and back to the sanctury of the picnic table, my cheeks burning.

And that’s when I decided that yes, there is a time when I don’t like living on the road.

Have you ever been sick when travelling? How did you cope?

friendly burros in the black hills double-barrelledtravel

Even the burro began to realise something was up…

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

6 comments on “When I hate life on the road – getting sick when travelling”

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Oh my gosh, just read it – that sounds awful! I contemplated going to the doctors too, but decided against it because being in the US I knew it was going to be a pain in the butt to claim the insurance back. Perhaps I should’ve gone and I would’ve been better sooner. Nevermind, we’re all well again and fit to travel 🙂

  1. Valerie Reply

    Oh, that sounds miserable! My lowest of lows while sick and traveling was in Uganda. I was doing a medical mission trip and we were tent camping in a missionaries yard to save on money. It was monsoon season and I spent the entire night throwing up in my tent while it was raining harder than I have ever seen it. My sleeping bag was wet and my tent flooding. It was one of the most miserable moments of my life! And to top it off, the next day we did the medical clinic and I was so exhausted and dehydrated.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Oh my gosh that is dreadful! I think that is worse than my experience. At least the weather wasn’t bad when I was ill, so I could crawl out of our van, if I braved it, in the middle of the night to use the loo!

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