Traveling is awesome.  There’s nothing more fulfilling than leaving your home to unravel the mysteries of all the places you’ve never been.  Discovering new worlds, meeting new people, and trying new food are some of the advantages of traveling but once you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone, there’s no telling what you may experience!

…I know.  You’ve probably heard this speech before. Possibly from some travel agent trying to sell you a timeshare in exchange for a “free” cruise.  Or from that one Spanish teacher who only needs three more students for their annual trip to Peru.  But people say this all the time because…well, it’s true.  Traveling is super cool. And, nine times out of ten, you’ll come home with amazing stories about people and places that changed your life or perspective of the world…but what about the tenth time?

Well, this post is dedicated to the tenth time.

The time when you were abroad and you accidentally drank water from the tap or unknowingly ate some bad chicken at a really awesome restaurant or (while feeling ambitious) jumped out of a tree on the beach and hurt your knee.

If you’re still confused, I’m referring the very frustrating problem of getting sick or injured while abroad.  It’s usually something that’s completely random, poorly timed, and, probably, very uncomfortable to deal with. But what’s most important is, it’s not the end of the world! (…Or the end of your trip!)

After being endlessly assured (and reassured) of a “life-changing vacation in paradise”, it can be a bit difficult to accept the fact that there are lots of risks involved in traveling and that sometimes (to put it frankly)…stuff happens.

No, this blog entry is no meant to scare you out of your next trip around the world, I am only writing this as a piece of cautionary advice.  So that, someday, if you do go on that ‘tenth’ vacation to the country of your dreams, you’ll be a little bit more prepared to overcome the obstacles.

If you do happen to have a mid-vacation mishap, here’s some helpful advice:

  1. Don’t panic: that doesn’t help in any situation (or country)
  2. Be smart: if you think you need a doctor, find one. Don’t try to ignore sickness symptoms or pain in exchange for a good time. It could be serious.
  3. Keep a positive attitude: like I said, it’s not the end of the world! And a good attitude is the best solution to a tough situation.

Speaking from experience, I’d say the most important thing to remember is to stay cool.  Do what you can, when you can and be grateful for the time you have abroad.

…and the awesome story you’ll have to tell! (haha)

Sick or healthy, wounded or in top physical shape, it doesn’t really matter.  Your experience abroad is what you make it.  So I suggest that you do your best to make it awesome and unforgettable!

Written by Patricia Osiomwan, Social Media Journalist

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