It’s been 6 months since I’ve left the confines of Denver, CO to pursue a lifetime experience to travel the world. I’m happy to report zero gut issues. I’ll let you into my secrets on being able to travel without worrying about upsetting your microbes.
For those of you who like to travel to far off lands for more than just work you know that eating exotic foods can be quite the test for our gut microbes.
These outsiders are trying to introduce themselves to our gated community. Can they be trusted?!
The last thing I want is a repeat of my Guatemala travels when I was stuck in a room for a whole day making sprints to the bathroom. My exploration never was supposed to include multiple visits to a restroom per day.
While we love diversity for our flora, introducing opportunistic pathogenic bacteria isn’t the type of diversity I’m looking for.
This will leave you in a ball wishing you had never left your apartment.
Here is my plan on keeping my gut in tip top shape while traveling abroad (or anywhere).
cook your own meals.
I decided to volunteer during my time abroad. Being in a Western place ie New Zealand, I wanted to try and conserve money.
One way to do this was to help cook my own meals. Another plus of volunteering in exchange for housing and food, I had the opportunity to be able to work in the gardens. This means more flora diversity in the works!
Since most of these gardens and farms are organic, these are just the type of microbes I want to be hanging around.
Sooner or later I will leave the confines of the Western luxuries of typical Western meals. It’s time to explore and try food of the locals!
This might be a big test on the microbiome. There will be a minor adjustment period, but just allow yourself time to get used to the food.
long lines are a good sign.
Street vendors who have crowds forming around them mean the food most likely yummy and fresh. Here is once case you want to be a follower.
Many avoid these but if there are many locals at a food stall you can bet the food is good to go!
Signs that it may not be smart to chow are fly’s and pungent odors.
Always make sure the meats are cooked well done. No need to play around with salmonella poisoning.
who is handling the cash?
This is specifically for the street vendors. Good hygiene practices can be spotted easily. Is there a separate person touching the cash?
Are they wearing gloves when touching money?
If not, you may want to seek another vendor.
They live there and can give you advice on hole in the wall places that will most likely be delicious, inexpensive, and safe to eat.
Upon entering Kuta, Bali I was walked down a few side alleys to a family food kitchen.
Had myself a delicious breakfast!
put the FEAR in unwanted pathogens
I don’t do this but I read about somebody who does. They bring around water kefirwith them to each country. How neat is that?
It may be a pain in the ass dragging around a jar hostel to hostel, but your microbes deserve it don’t they?
back up plan.
Ok, so you had a glitch in the biome and some bad guys got in. We are talking about the dreaded Travelers Diarrhea. Make sure you equip yourself with activated charcoal pills and probiotics.
These will be your life saver.
As much as I hate to use antibiotics, if symptoms persist longer than 3 days without improvement I’d seek medical attention.
Now you are armed with all the tools needed to make your way across to other parts of the world!