The thing about travel is that once you commit to a particular trip your mind begins to romanticize it—that is, of course, until you begin to research the lists of possible diseases and parasites in your destination.
The moment I learned I would be heading to Ghana, I immediately began researching flight prices, sightseeing hotspots and local culture. And then the email arrived about immunizations. Sure, you can still kind of brush that off, but when you’re sitting in a clinic office with a 48-page document in front of you that lists all of the possible things that can go wrong, it begins to sink in that you’re not heading to Prince Edward Island for the weekend.
My first trip to the travel clinic resulted in four needles and a return ticket for an additional six. I feel this would be the appropriate time to admit that I am a wimp when it comes to needles and the idea of pill swallowing. So, I have a few challenges ahead of me, but at least I’ll be safe.
The other pre-travel bubble buster is the dreaded pack list. When it comes to travelling, I don’t want to think about these tedious things, I want to board that plane and head off on an adventure. But, from a practical standpoint, the packing list serves as a good buildup to departure day. Luckily, I already own some of the items I required, although what I didn’t already have quickly began to add up. Note to future adventure-goers: invest in quality items. Don’t let price dictate your purchases—there’s generally a reason for the higher cost.
I hope I have not painted a negative pre-departure picture. As much as the immunization list and packing requirements may seem a little overwhelming, they play an essential role in safe travelling. For someone like me, who loves to plan and make checklists, this has become a fun project that allows me to slowly absorb the trip ahead.
The intimidation of the many “what ifs” concerning possible health risks does not go away and perhaps this is a good thing. As a Canadian, it is easy to take for granted access to healthcare, potable water and overall security. I’m not suggesting that one should be in a constant state of fear the entire time they are away, but rather to maintain a state of awareness of the possible risks.
Knowledge is important, especially when heading somewhere unknown. And, as my Mom always said, “It’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared!”Add this article to your reading list