In November 2013, we officially left Guatemala and hit the road again.

Within a two week period we explored some of Guatemala, drove through El Salvador, a smidgen of Honduras and then into Nicaragua.

Do you know what I (re)realized? Even in that short period of time, a traveling family can confront a myriad of health concerns that require attention (from the head nurse, which would be me.)

In just a couple of weeks we faced motion sickness, vomiting, bee stings (three of them!!), sunburns, stove burns, staph infection, itchy mosquito bites...

... ant bites, hives, heat rashes, tummy aches, bumps and bruises, earaches, and a skin infection on our dog, not to mention dirty hands, dirty fruit and vegetables, dirty dishes, and all those times when you stay some place or go some place where the sanitary conditions seem a little ‘questionable’ (like the local market, or a hostel.)

There was a time when this used to really stress me out. I’m the mom, and I need to take care of my family. But when we first started traveling back in 2007, I had no clue what to do when someone was uncomfortable, ill or hurt.

Frightened in Paradise

dominican republic

I remember vividly one night after we'd first arrived in the Dominican Republic. We'd just moved into our beach house, which was nestled in a grove of coconut trees just a stone's throw from the beach. It was paradise.

But after dark that night, we were going to bed, when one of my sons (who was four at the time) was complaining of a stomach ache. We had him lay down and I tried to comfort him, but I mostly felt utterly helpless.

literally had no idea what to do to help him feel better. And what was worse was that I was at the end of the road (more than a mile from 'civilization'), in a remote town in a foreign country, without a phone, without internet, without a vehicle. If he was to get worse... what would we do? What could we do?

Of course he was fine. Our Dominican neighbor brought over some Ramen noodle soup with cilantro, and the next day he was playing like normal. But I still couldn't shake the feeling of helplessness. I needed to educate myself on caring for my family, if this was the lifestyle we were going to live.

While living there, I had several more experiences that reminded me of my ignorance. My husband developed a staff infection in his arm, which resulted in an inflammation that went from shoulder to finger tips. Of course I didn't know what to do. He was also stricken with boils (me too), I developed a staff infection from a mosquito bite that left me with a permanent scar, the kids were sunburnt, covered with insect bites (that became easily infected with scratching), and so much more.

Our unconventional lifestyle means that we don’t carry health insurance, and we’re often not near a 24 hour clinic, have access to a phone to call a doctor, and sometimes we even lack access to the internet, the 'source of all knowledge.'

We’ve had to learn to rely on ourselves to know or find the answers. We’ve had to become our own traveling self-care resource.

Knowledge Equals Empowerment

Since ’07 we’ve learned a few things, and we’ve discovered some resources that have seriously changed the game -- they’ve helped to eliminate my ‘mommy fears’, given me confidence and empowered me to be the health care provider for a majority of the issues our family faces on a regular basis.

With the knowledge I've gained, I could easily and assuredly treat all of the health care issues (plus more) that I've mentioned.

I’m going to begin a series of posts and videos where I share my tips and techniques (plus I have a free ebook that I’ll be releasing soon), so that you too can become empowered to care for your family.

If this is something that interests you, please let me know by adding your email here (I don’t want to bombard my regular readers who may not be interested in this subject, so I’m creating a separate list.)

I’d also love to hear from you about any specific questions or concerns you may have regarding natural health care for your unique family lifestyle.

Do you have specific questions or concerns? Please share in the comments below.



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4 Responses

  1. Ellen Byrne

    Hi, I am wondering if you treated your kids with malaria medications?? Is this a “big” worry in Central America, or do you find it has been hyped up via the media???

    • Rachel Denning

      I think in general it is a little hyped up for Central America. We have not taken any medications for malaria while traveling here.

  2. Trinashultz

    Being that you don’t carry health insurance I am wondering how Obama Care is going to impact you? Have you heard yet if you will be forced into buying a plan even though you are not in the country?

    • Rachel Denning

      The little bit that I have read about it seemed to say that if you lived outside of the country more than XXX days (over 200 or 300, I can’t remember) than you would not have to enroll in Obama Care. We certainly fall into that category 🙂 My husband and kids haven’t been to the States for over 2 years.


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