Being sick on vacation sucks.
It sucks when you want to hike a volcano and see the city, but your lungs are on fire. It sucks when you want to go to hot pools but your nose is running like a faucet. It sucks when you want to go outside and do things, but your entire body is just saying, “No.” Sure, you can power through it to the best of your ability, but that won’t help you get over the sickness. If anything it will prolong the torture. It’s best to just take a sick day, rest up, and get better so you can get back to adventures.
That being said, being sick in a foreign country can be an adventure in and of itself. Here’s how to do it:
- Try foreign medicine. If, like me, you came prepared for every other ailment other than the common cold, you probably don’t have any medicine on you. Now is the perfect time to try new things and cringe at the somehow-worse taste of cough syrup.
- Try feel-better foods. I was amazed when I walked through the supermarkets in New Zealand that somehow Lipton soup was not a thing there—mostly because it’s my go to for when I’m feeling bad. Instead they had a different brand of practically the same thing. Whether you call in room service, have a friend get takeaway, or make a trip to the supermarket, see what another country has to offer in the way of comfort.
- Read a book by a local author. Load up or grab something to keep you entertained while you’re stuck in bed. It’s pretty easy to Google local authors or books set wherever you are and then at least you can have a mental adventure. Plus, reading is fun whether you’re sick or not.
- Watch a movie made in that country. I think one of the best movies of the trip to Auckland has been What We Do in the Shadows, a New Zealand movie about vampires in Wellington. It was hilarious, made me feel better despite encroaching sickness, and gave me a taste of the Kiwi sense of humor. Every country has some sort of cinema, and a few countries still have movie rental places so it should be easy to sit back, relax, and get over your cold.
- Dream of adventure. Of course, rest is rest and that involves sleeping. So try to dream of the adventures you either would have had or will have in the near future when you aren’t dying. Curl up under a blanket made in the region, close your eyes, and power dream your way into epic memories.
Being sick on vacation isn’t fun, but by indulging yourself with the slow side of the local culture it can still be a good memory from your vacation. And, next time, you’ll be better prepared. So grab your tissues and something local and get well.
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