Shit. It happens.

All flowery language aside, the point you start shitting blood is usually the point when you should stop naively hoping your body will sort through the problem and go seek medical attention.

I hadn’t been well in some time. At the start of the trip I was flying, sampling every street food I could find and priding myself on the fact that I seemed to have beaten my belly into submission after the initial round of violent nausea on day 3. I pictured my stomach as having given up on me after the fifth meal of mystery chaat and having left me to my own devices. “Fuck it,” the mental image of my stomach said. “Eat what you want. I just don’t care anymore. Whatever.”

But 3 weeks later in Rishikesh I found myself in the hospital to get a prescription to combat a sudden bout of food poisoning. It delayed our bike tour departure date by a couple days but, after the round of meds, I was feeling good again.

Until I caught a cold.

That was around Vrindavan. Having been slammed by gulal for Holi meant that whenever I blew my nose the tissue came away tie-dyed into a colorful snot Rorschach. And that lasted well into Jaipur where everything went south in more literal ways than even I care to elaborate.

Until, finally, when leaving to view the infamous Taj Mahal in Agra, I dialled a good friend back in Canada who happens to be a pharmacist, looking for advice. The call ended up having to take place in two parts as, halfway through, I had to cut him off to search for a toilet IMMEDIATELY. Continue reading

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On the common error of confusing reasons and excuses

A very good friend of mine recently wrote a great post on pushing through excuses to do the things you love, even on days when you’re not in the mood to do them. And it lit a fire under my ass. Steph’s good at lighting fires under my ass. It’s one of the (many) reasons I love the woman.

A month and a half into my most recent bout of travel, I had a lot of excuses for why I wasn’t living up to the goals I’d set for myself. From keeping up with regular posts on a shiny new blog site to the photo sets that remained sorted, but unpublished, on my desktop, to the neglected runners that had only seen about 6 km of Indian trails to the deadline for travel submissions to an anthology that had come and gone. . .why wasn’t I keeping up with this stuff?

Well, there was the initial round of unexpected culture shock I’d been slammed with upon arrival in Delhi. Paired with general jet lag, it took me a couple days to find my feet. Then there was the general minutia of getting set up in a new place you’ll be traveling in long term; arranging a working sim card, laying down the initial frame-work of your route and just developing a general sense of how basic things work in the area, from food to transportation to usual social rules.

And I felt like any time I had left I wanted to use to squeeze every ounce out of Delhi I could, while I was still in the city. Rishikesh, I told myself, I’ll get things sorted in Rishikesh. It’ll be calmer there. And all the time I was telling myself this, little warning bells were going off in the back of my mind that reminded me this excuse sounded awfully familiar, even if the locale didn’t. It sounded an awful lot like a pattern that had been tried and failed already.

Still, how much can pile up in 10 days, right? Continue reading