We got sick in Morocco. All of us fell ill, but I think Will got it the worse, and I, the least. Because of it, we will never go back to Morocco.
Have you heard someone blame a whole country for the unfortunate circumstances of illness? Illness that can happen anywhere—whether at home, in a temporary or long-term home, or away from home?
I was joking about never going back to Morocco. The truth is, we love Morocco, and we realize that changing our diet and being exposed to different bacteria while spending seven weeks in a new-to-us country can yield reactions to food. This is travel. This is WorldTowning. And, this is reality—even in your hometown.
Have we been sick from food frequently during our WorldTowning adventures? Not really. When you consider we have been traveling full-time for almost four years, I think we are holding our own. When we were living in Costa Rica, Will got some sugar cane juice that did him in, along with our friend Mike, for about 48 hours. Juice can be a tough one and a bit of a wild card, as the juicing machines often sit in the hot sun, day after day, with little time between the days to clean them properly. Another time we both got sick was in the U.S. from raw oysters. Both of us were concerned we would die. We were sick for four or five days, and it was not pretty. Then, there was this latest time in Morocco. We are still not sure if we all got sick from the same place, as there was a 24 to 36 hour delay between when Will got sick and when the kids and I started showing signs. However, we are confident it did occur during the desert trip. We have since heard from many people who have traveled to Morocco that the desert has gotten them, as well. Don’t let this deter you from heading to the desert of Morocco, however, it is an experience worth having.
On the flip side, we have visited many countries where people consistently get sick, and we have been totally fine. For example, we spent a month in India and not even a sore tummy was had by any of us. We have been to Mexico more times than we can count, and, again, we were never sick even once from food or water. The moral of the story is to travel smart, take proper precautions, but don’t let the fear of getting sick let you miss out on an epic experience. Always remember, you can get sick at home, as well.
What precautions do we take to limit the possibility of getting sick from food and water while WorldTowning?
- We never drink the water if we think it is even questionable.
- If the water is questionable, we also skip raw vegetables, ice cubes and anything that has been exposed to water or that has not been boiled first.
- We eat a ton of street food, but we must see it cooked in front of us before we will ever consider it.
- We trust our gut, literally, if it smells funny, looks bad or tastes not quite right then we toss it quickly.
- I am careful with fresh squeezed street juices. I have seen a lot of people get sick this way, including Will. Will is a bit more adventurous and seems to love another round a sickness by way of juice.
- In the event you do get sick, find out from the locals what is the best remedy.
We were very lucky to have an amazing local support team fighting for us as we healed. They continually messaged us asking how we were doing and offered local remedies. They were even willing to take us in if we needed a comfy bed in which to recover. In addition, the pharmacies were a wealth of information and fully accessible, so we could chat about our illness and potential relief from our symptoms.
Are we scarred after getting so sick in Morocco?
No, we are not. We did take a break from local food and binged on processed items while our stomachs recovered, but then we were right back at it. I actually think Will and I might have got hit a second time, as it took us a very long time to recover compared to the kids. Or maybe it is just because we are older.
When you plan that next trip take time to understand where you are going, what the local food might be and where the pitfalls lurk. Take precautions, but don’t let fear prevent you from experiencing all a country has to offer. The adventure is worth the small risk you may become ill. That said, if you are ill, and your symptom persist or worsen over time, you may want to seek medical help, as you may be experiencing more than just food-related illness.