HOW TO DEAL WITH GETTING SICK WHILE OVERSEAS

While in Spain last December, I got ill and spent half of the vacation with migraine headaches and congestions (you would not know it from the pictures because I was determined to make the most of the trip). Getting sick in a foreign country is not new, it is just very inconvinient and uncomfortable because when I am sick, I just want to be in bed. My own bed. Having dealt with everything from the flu, food poisoning and sprained ankles in foreign countries - I thought I will share ways I have dealt with it and some tips that may be helpful should you find yourself in a similar situation (here is hoping for illness free travel for us all).

1. Have a go pack and first aid kit. There are certain medications you can pick up over the counter without doctor prescription. My medicine go bag is filled with the usual suspect - vitamins; advil fever reducer ; pepto bismal; excedrine migraine; nasal spray; travel sized first aid kit and anything prescribed to me by my doctor (usually allergy pills). Usually, I can nip anything in the bud with my go pack. Before you travel, check the laws of the Country you are headed to, some prohibit bringing in certain types of medication.

2. Adequate Insurance. Most decent health insurance state side will cover you abroad should you need to see a doctor or go to the hospital. Check with your provider before heading overseas and if you dont have coverage, there are a few online optiions for specified trip duration. Also, some credit card travel benefit cover some health care cost. Make sure you know what you have before heading out.

3. Get Help. In a lot of Countries, Phamacist are licensed to prescribe medication based on symptoms. Most of the time this is really all you need. A few years ago, I landed in London with food poisoning. I had five hours until my next flight so no time to make an appointment to see a doctor (and this was before the days of my go pack). Thankfully, I found a Pharmacy in Heathrow airport and the Pharmacist prescribed what was needed to relive me before my next flight. 

4. Schedule a Physical before you head out. I try to schedule my Physical within a few weeks of a trip abroad in hopes that if anything is brewing it can be diagnosed and treated before my trip. That came in handy this last trip to Spain. I had my physical days before leaving and based on some symptoms my Doctor prescrbed a z-pak. Thankful for that - I think it limited how ill I got on the trip.

5. Take a break. This one a hard one to recommend because I have major FOMO and never want to miss a thing, but sometimes you just need to take the evening off or day off and rest, regain your strength and pick up on your itinerary. Taking a break does not have to mean staying in your hotel room (although sometimes, you get need sometime in bed with your favorite book). Last fall, while in the South of France, my body started to give me signals of needing to slow down, I grabbed my IPAD, book and blanket and headed to beach - I spent the afternoon there napping and catching up on my netflix queue and reading list. The next day, I was feeling much better. Not sure if I would have made three weeks in Europe if I did not take that break.

Do you have any remedies for when you get ill while travelling? Will love to hear your tips.

For more travel stories and tips - check out the City Tripping link.

Wander Mum

PHOTO DIARY - SHADES OF BLUE ON THE SANTA CRUZ BROADWALK <> SANTA CRUZ , CA

We had no expectation for Santa Cruz. Every highway 1 guide we found suggested a Santa Cruz stop, we decided to check it out. There were two main recommendations for Santa Cruz - Downtown and the Broadwalk. With only enough time for one stop - we decided to go with Broadwalk. It was a Wednesday morning and the Broadwalk and beach was expectedly quiet with a few tourist like us leisurely strolling along the broadwalk; a few joggers made their way past us as shop and stall owners were prepping to start the day.

As we walked the length of the broadwalk, past coasters, carousel, broadwalk food and arcade games, the different shades of blue from the ocean to the furnitures lining the broadwalk seemed like something out of a nautica magazine. At the end of the broadwalk we found a mini observatory for viewing the habor seals. That was the highlight of the Broadwalk.

We also found a blue wall and the blogger in me could not resist a mini photoshoot in front of the "blue wall". We were barely there two hours before heading off to San Fransico. I spent most of our time on the broadwalk capturing as many shades of blue as I could. 

FAVORITE MOMENTS FROM SOUTH OF SPAIN TRIP // ANDALUSIA, SPAIN

Seville

Welcome to 2017 ! Not sure what the year holds; I have hopes and expectations and starting off the year meditating on Proverbs 23:18 - "There surely is a hope for you and your hope will not be cut off." That is where I hang my hat as the new year kicks off. Travels kicks off next week. It is quite early for me - I usually dont hit the road till the summer, but looking forward to the time with friends and hoping its a sign of things to come. In my last post, shared my blog goals for 2017 and my blogging whys (hint: you should give it a read here).

Kicking off the year with a recap of my recent trip to South of Spain. We spent five days exploring Andalusia and all its offering. There are several travel stories and pictures to share. Until I get around to it, here are some of my favorite moments from the trip. 

The Royal Alcazar Palace Seville. Loved everything about this Palace. I lobbied (unsucessfully) to be assigned a room here. Every turn a wonder, the ceiling was a hidden gem, the intricate details of the walls and floors were like no other and then the grounds - peacocks roaming, the fountains and the wishing trees. I cannot do this place justice with words. Look out for a Royal Alcazar palace post.

Covent in Carmona. We stopped by a convent that housed fifteen nuns. Thirteen of the fifteen were from Kenya. We had a lovely with one of the ladies and she shared the story of her journey to Carmona. There we were in the lobby of the covent, four African chics chatting about life and how we ended up in this Andalusian town. The odds.

Kindness of strangers in Seville. Our second day in Seville. After failed attempts to get to Carmona and Ronda - we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel when we saw an older gentleman trip and fall in the middle of the road. As we made our way to help get him up - other people noticed what happend and joined us. All the cars stopped while the gentleman was helped up and off the road and another group walked with him to make sure he got to his destination ok. Seeing all of us come together to offer help was a great reminder that inspite of social media trolling and harsh tones - there is still a lot of kindness and good in the world.

Unity on display in Córdoba. We journeyed to Córdoba to see the famed mosque turned cathedral. Walking through the spectacular structure and seeing there was a time when both religions existed in harmony was humbling. 

All the Tapas. No highlight is complete without mention of food. We had a lot of Tapas and we all agreed we would gladly move to Seville for the Tapas.

The Alhambra. As soon as we decided south of Spain was our winter destination. I was determined to get to the Alhambra in Granada. It was everything I imagined and although the 5:15 am wake up call to make the 6:35 train to Granada was inconvenient, the time in Granada and the Alhambra was worth it.

Orange Marmalade. A lot of our street level pictures have rows of orange trees as the backdrop. Especially in Seville. If you are in this part of the world, don't rush to pluck one for consumption. These are bitter oranges used to make Orange Marmalade. I picked up a jar for personal consumption - let's see how it compares to my TJ Sevilla Orange Marmalade.

The Spanish way of Life. I was envious of the laid back life style in Spain. I wish we had a little bit of their mindset that we work to live and not live to work. Stores were typically closed for afternoon siestas (I wish) and meal time was a committment of several hours.

All the glorious ceilings. After Italy, I thought I'd seen all the elaborate catherdrals and ceilings but South of Spain proved me wrong. From the Cathedral in Seville to the Catherdral in Granada. Every one left us in awe and the ceilings (like those in Italy) are the real gem. We never stopped looking up.

2017 REFLECTIONS : A FEW REASONS WHY I BLOG + 2017 BLOG GOALS

Since the early days of this blog (three years on Feb 13th) till now, there is one question that is constant - why ? People want to know why I blog - some ask - Is it because of the money ? ; do you get perks from blogging ? What are you getting out of it. As we kick off the new year. I have been reflecting on those questions ? Why do I spend hours editing travel pictures; documenting travel highlights or sharing recipes. Without understanding "why" - it is easy to get distracted and discouraged. To clear the air - I have never been paid for anything on this space and those travel perks have not made it to my inbox (lol). I love to travel; It is something I will do whether this blog existed or not.

This space is my travel diary (it just happens to be public). As much as the content is for those who might stumble on this page, it is also for me . When I have had a particularly stressful or busy stretch - I read some of the travel stories and it keeps me going. For anyone who has ever been involved in blogging, you have invariably had to answer the same "why" questions either to yourself or to your family and friends. I thought we will kick of the new year on this space going over my 2017 goals for this space and  "why" 

Blog Goals for 2017. Nothing major, just a few things to help improve this space.

  • I will like to post consistently weekly, that means a minimum of 52 posts by the end of 2017.
  • Do some videos - including vlogs, instagram or facebook live with travel tips
  • One post a month focused on travel tips - everything from saving for travel to making the most of your vacation days
  • Lifestyle post. Besides travel , there are other things I am passionate about and hoping to incoporate them into the blog going forward - including the return of the beauty posts and recipes as well.

Now onto my blogging why 

A creative outlet. This is my creative space. With a day job spent staring at numbers and spreadsheets - there is no room for creativity. I started the blog as a way to explore what little creative juices I have (and share some of that with you) . Since launching the blog , I have stretched myself to look beyond the surface and I am discovering new things about myself daily.

Master a skill. I have loved photography from a young age and one of the things that blogging has done is stretch me to be a better photographer and improve my editing skills. I think that has been the greatest impact of this space. Just take a look at the photographs from the early days compared to now. Those early photos are cringe worthy.

Get out of my comfort zone. When you blog about whatever it is that floats your boat, you are stepping out of your comfort area, putting yourself out there and sharing with the few or hundreds that will read your posts. It forces you out of your comfort zone and that has translated to other areas besides blogging.  Before blogging,  I was stuck in my routines. I knew what I liked and what I could do and I did not try anything beyond that; I also did not do or pursue anything that may end up as "a egg on my face" moment. With the launch of the blog, I have stepped out of my comfort zone, shared my opinions and thoughts on things - some have been well received , others not so much and some that no one read, but there is a sense of accomplishment of "I created that" and a discovery that it is better to try and fail or not quite make it, than not try at all. 

Explore my passion. I have always had a passion to travel. That started at a young age, but the passion to inspire others to get out of their bubble to explore the world is one I discovered pouring my thoughts on the space. I will gladly spend hours helping strangers and friends curate personalized travel itineraries to get the most out of their trips.

Give others the courage to step of their comfort zone. Most of my travels are solo and there are a lot of fears that dissipates after you take your first solo trip. I found courage alone in a foreign place not speaking the language. The experience turned out to be the turning point for me to stop waiting waiting for a future moment, when I have acquired or attained something or met someone to live or be happy. My hope is that by sharing my stories, someone has the courage to go, to do, to explore. 

Bring the world to you. One of the reason I lauched the print collection is the realization that not everyone can travel even if they have the means and/or the will. I wanted to bring a piece to the world I have been honored to see right to them. The stories, tips, photo diaries on this space also help accomplish that goal. My hope is that through my stories, others get to see and experience the world from their homes.

So there you have it, a few reasons why I am hunched over my computer in the early hours of the morning.

 

THE YEAR IN REVIEW // LOOKING BACK ON 2016

As is the tradition on P|Grace blog, I like to close out the year looking back at the moments that stood out and the 2016 memories that will not soon be forgotten. From the vain to the meaningful - here are top highlights of 2016.

<10> Highway One Road Trip. In November I was honored to finally check off Highway one roadtrip from the ole bucketlist and getting to take the trip with one of my favorite people was the cherry on top. If I could only recommend one United States travel for your bucketlist, it will be the Highway one roadtrip. Read highlights from the trip here.

<9> K-Drama obsession. I discovered Korean Drama ("k-drama") in 2016 and one day, maybe over a cup of coffee I will share the back story. It is my vice and a happy place. Forget going to the spa, winding down with my favorite cup of tea and an episode (or ten) of my favorite K-Drama has been my stress-free zone. If you are curious - might I recommend some of my favorite ones that concluded in 2016 - Descedants of the Sun ; Another Oh Hae Young ; Marriage Contract ; Beautiful Mind. Happy Binging !!!

<8> Not Traveling Solo. If you had told me at the start of the year I will only have one solo trip this year. I might have laughed in your face. I know it seems odd but if I have my way, I will always travel solo. When you are accustommed to travelling solo, traveling with others is tough and I was very apprehensive about it. Thankful I let go of my fears and went for it. Noting like travelling on your own, but getting to share the experience with others has been priceless.

<7> Christmas in London. This was the first year I got to experience Christmas in London Town. Europeans generally have a way of adding umph to the festivities that is lacking stateside (or at least where I reside). Christmas day itself was quiet, stayed in doors and enjoyed a relaxing day filled with food and movies with new and old friends. The days leading up to Christmas was all about skating at somerset house, Christmas market in Oxford and at the Tate Modern. Exploring decorations around London - from Leandell hall market to Covent Garden.  Hope you were able to catch my insta stories tour of fab London christmas decor if you follow me on instagram. hint hint, you should here).

<6> Letting go and rethinking my business. In the last months of 2016, I had to make some tough decisions regarding the print shop. When it launched last year, it was a five year dream come true and as much blood and sweat as has gone in, the returns have not matched up.  Having to make some tough decisions regarding the print shop and the team was one of the hardest things I did in 2016. The realization that the road to seeing my dream come to reality will be long and sometime rough was a hard pill to swallow. 

<5> Election to the Board of OFP. A few months ago, I had the incredible honor to be elected to the board of an organization that means the world to me and the work they are doing to help young women suceed is beyond amazing. It has been a great honor to be trusted to serve on their board. Visit their website here to learn about their work and see how you can help.

<4> Finding Community. I was incredibly honored to meet some incredible people in 2016 and it all started with an Instagram conversation (yep, you can form meaningful relationships via Instagram online). I met the kindest, selfless, large hearted, most creative people I know this past year and finding these communities has changed a lot of my perspective for the better and it has helped me to grow as woman and as a Christain. If you live in the DFW area - you should check them out - Open seat and Leave your beauty mark.

<3> South of Spain. I returned from Europe a few hours ago. While I was there, I spent five days in the South of Spain with two of my favorite people. We had an incredible time exploring the South of Spain from Seville to Granada. We toured palaces, ate Tapas to hearts content, we laughed, we got on each others' nerves. I will not tade a moment of the trip.

<2> Azusa Los Angeles. Back in April, I got to go to Los Angeles, This was probably the most meaningful trip of my life. I got to attend Azusa conference at the LA coliseum. Getting to lift up the name of Jesus with thousands of other believers is an experience I will never forget. 

<1> Letting God. It is easy to list off all the travel things and accolades, but 2016 was also about letting go and letting God. Learning to trust that he is able to do just what he said, learning that he is a good father and trully works all things together for my good. Letting him show me the things about me that were not so pretty and willingness to let him do his work in me. Even the things that seemingly did not go as I wanted have worked out for my benefit. There were tears, there were dissapointments, but through it all he has remained faithful to his word and there was not a time I called that he did not answer.

Looking forward to 2017. Not sure what it holds, but grateful that I know a God who knows the end from the beginning and whatever 2017 holds or brings, he got it handled.