Sitting on the toilet, doubled over in pain, my pants around my ankles, I can hear in the dining area just outside the bathroom door, babies crying, children screaming, and chaos in general.

Between our family and that of the friends we're staying with, there are four adults and 8 children. The adults are all feeling sick. The house is in shambles, and disorder reigns.

I think to myself - "This is travel. Glamorous, isn't it?"

It started simple enough - a little boy complaining of being cold during our evening walk along the malecón (boardwalk) of Lake Chapala. Returning to the home of our hosts, it was apparent he had a very high fever.

He went straight to bed, only to awake during the night complaining of a very urgent need to poop! As I pick up baby Atlas (who was now awake), so I can locate daddy to help out, he unexpectedly begins to vomit over my shoulder.

Oh my! By some act of fate, there's a bowl on the night-stand, where Atlas now violently deposits any contents of his stomach, while Kimball continues to cry in the bed next to me.

I try to call Greg to me using my mental powers, but when that fails, I wait for a lull in the puking to go get him.

Returning to the room where the action is, I set Atlas on my lap, where he promptly fills his diaper with some very liquidy substance, which rapidly exits onto my lap and the floor. Thank goodness we're staying at a house that has a shower and running water. While he wails, we use it to clean him off.

The rest of the night doesn't go much better. Kimball manages to mess his diaper several times, and concludes with some spewing of his own. Atlas keeps pace, and in an effort to not feel left out, by early morning Parker joins them.

Perhaps it was a lack of sleep, or so much exposure to bodily fluids - maybe some of both. But by the time the sun begins to filter through the drawn curtains, I can feel that my body's crusade against invaders has begun.

My temperature has risen, and my gut is in knots. I get out of bed only long enough to clean up the diarrhea that's leaked from Atlas' diaper onto the bed and my back. Then I return to it and stay - except for mad dashes to the toilet in anguish and pain - for the next three days.

Travel isn't just exotic destinations, white sandy beaches and pina coladas. It also includes plenty of regular life events, as well as inconveniences and obstacles, which ironically all seem to happen at the same time. Especially when you're traveling with children.

Why is it that at the exact moment one child says, "I need to go poop," and daddy runs him off to locate a bathroom, another one has a diaper that's exploding down his leg, and a third falls off her stool and hits her chin on the counter, all while you're in the middle of eating your meal in a busy marketplace in Mexico?

Back on my throne of pain, I'm cursing this stomach flu, and blaming it on travel. "I don't want to travel if it's going to make me sick!" I whimper in a pathetic moan, even though it's not really the travel that has made me sick, it's just a stomach bug.

But three long days of intense pain and suffering have tampered with my mind. And when I tell my hubby about my disgust with travel sickness he reminds me, "People who don't go anywhere get sick too."

Hmmm… well, that's true. Staying at home isn't 'glamorous' either. It still includes stomach flues, diaper explosions, injuries and occasional disorder and chaos.

As with all things, our sickness soon passes (with the help of my 'magic pills' which kill off anything bad that may have been lurking).

And with the return of our health, comes the return of our 'normal' traveling life. Boat rides to historic island ruins; shopping in local tiangues (street markets); hiking to exotic waterfalls; exploring early century architecture; celebrating local festivities and customs; viewing the monarch butterflies; eating amazing authentic food.

So which will I choose? Stay at home and avoid (as much as possible) the uncomfortable, or take my chances on the road?

I think I'll take my side of obstacles with a big, heaping serving of travel. It still tastes better to me.

How do you deal with life's inconveniences while traveling?



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9 Responses

  1. MaryAnn

    You are a saint! Or at least you have the patience of one. I traveled cross country USA with my 3 young sons, a dog and 2 cats. We decided to eat at local places in lieu of chains so we could get a taste of local cuisine. At some point in the middle of the southwest desert, we were all sick, including the dog! Nothing around for miles, so the sand became our “outhouse”. I have visions of dying in that desert with some archaeologist finding our remains and trying to establish what tribe we belonged to. Would I do it again, you bet!

  2. michele

    so this post drives me to ask the question of how you deal with this when you are out camping or driving (not at a friend’s house). do you carry a portable toilet with you?

  3. Glenn Dixon

    First, we got a Steripen just as soon as we returned from Mexico in 2008. To this day, we still haven’t used it! But we have good intentions.

    Second, the reason we got it is because we both got sick in Mexico. My symptoms started with chills and a fever. A few days later I threw up what seemed like five days worth of food. Our trip was only ten days long, so it definitely hampered things. Dixie was fine until we got home, then she spent a couple of weeks in bed with some sort of extreme malaise.

    Hopefully we’re inoculated by now. We are completing our fourth day in Mexico and so far, so good! We’re also drinking probiotics and eating yogurt just to be sure.

    • Rachel

      We really rely on our essential oils now. I just took some more this morning because I need to ‘run’ to the bathroom a little faster. 🙂 They really help to keep our systems in good working order.


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