Thursday, 29 November 2012

My Travel Paradox

Here's a paradox for you. I love to travel but travelling makes me sick. How does one reconcile this mess?

Some needed history.

The Husband and I have always talked of extensive travel. There is after all, so much out there that we want to see and experience, and only a fraction of that can be found within a ten mile radius of our home. Pictures are nice and so are travelogues, but we have always had a desire to get out there and view the world face to face. Sounds great, right? Except that travelling requires motion; movement by planes, trains, automobiles, boats, buses, and maybe even the odd helicopter. And therein lies my problem. I am a desperate wanna-be world traveller afflicted with chronic motion sickness. 

Now, I'm not talking about typical lightheadedness or the odd "I don't feel well" moment. I'm talking full on nausea, head bent over the toilet, vertigo inducing, crashing waves of rolling sickness that can strike at the most inopportune of touristy moments. I have been sidelined at some of the most beautiful places in the world. Really! The Blue Grotto in Capri? The Husband took stunning pictures for me, because I was cleaning up in a "pay for play" restroom after a particularly horrendous bout brought on by a mercilessly bouncing hydrofoil ride over from Naples. Sausalito? The ferry from San Francisco rocked for 40 minutes until I was so green that we had to sit for an hour on a park bench after disembarking. Saint Lucia? The pitons were great to see going up, but the van ride coming down had me hanging my head out of the window like a labrador retriever with my tongue blowing in the wind. Santorini? I actually stuck my head under a closed-flap tarp on a tender boat so that I might have fresh air. These stories are but a sampling and I tell them with massive embarrassment and zero embellishment. I have witnesses. They love to share in my humiliation. Oh the horror! There is absolutely nothing that compares on the shame scale like being stone cold sober and puking in public.

But, I refuse to let it stop me even though some say I should. Stop cruising? Ok, but I get just as sick driving in a car. Stop flying? You can't take a train across an ocean. And anyway, subways do it to me too. What am I supposed to do? Sit on my sofa and wait for the inevitable? Nope. So I suck it up, pray a little, and hope for the best. And....I try to prepare as best as I can.

As part of my upcoming Shabbatical, The Husband and I will be taking a month off to travel Down Under. Australia and New Zealand are anticipating our arrival and we are excited beyond belief, but my enthusiasm has been slightly tempered when I read about and study all of the methods of transportation that await. I worry that I might spoil Sydney or heave at the Great Barrier Reef. Wouldn't that just suck? A person's greatest travel anecdotes should not all be about vomit! It just isn't right or fair! So, I plan and I prepare. I will take the strongest possible prescription medication available. I won't read in a moving vehicle. I will try to gaze at horizons and stay in the fresh air. I won't sit at the back of a bus or car. I will wear Sea Bands even though I am not convinced about their effectiveness. (Hey. Can't hurt, right?) I will chew on ginger even though I loathe ginger. I will carry airsickness bags with me at all times. I will even chug tomato juice because I was told that it might help. All of these meticulous plans still might be for naught, but this trip is just too important to me to be sidelined by spewing.

There is no explanation as to why some people like The Husband feel nothing of the world's continual spinning on its axis, while others like me suffer every single movement. There are theories, but very little that can be done. But there is much for me to see and fawn over during our upcoming journey and I want to enjoy it all. Here's hoping that the stories I get to tell upon our return are puke free. 

*I am not proud. If any of you have remedies that you swear by to combat motion sickness, please send them along. I will try almost anything short of sacrificing live animals and virgins.


  1. How awful!! Does your doctor know of any medication that could help??

    Good luck!


    1. Kathy, Thank you. Actually my doctor and I have both done much research and she has prescribed me a new pill for this trip. Here's hoping. The problem is that many of these meds have drowsiness as a side effect, so either I doze or I.....well you know. Just want to keep my cookies. :)

  2. Oh, you poor thing. And I really mean that, even though I'm still smiling after reading your post. I can totally sympathise! I'm not quite as bad, but I'm not a great traveller. If I had a super-power, it would be to be able to zap anywhere in the world in the click of my fingers.

  3. Had vertigo room spinning and continuous vomiting was given gravol in emerg within a short time all symptoms stopped

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, but Gravol has absolutely no effect for me. I need stronger stuff.

  4. I know it's motion sickness and not vertigo but maybe this treatment JB had a few years ago would help. It's one of the types of therapy for paroxysmal positional vertigo. There are several websites describing therapies. It worked for her :) Your trip sounds AMAZING!