by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© October 2010, The Center For Development
Many people enjoy traveling for various reasons. However, travel carries many health hazards ranging from airport x-ray machines and car accidents to poor food, pesticides, bugs in hotel rooms, and others. Travel in other nations is also not nearly as safe as travel in America, in general. For these reasons, I cannot recommend traveling more than is necessary to carry on your business and live your life in a peaceful way.
When To Travel. Short trips to visit friends and family, or for short vacations, are best. Travel is also sometimes needed for medical emergencies, events and other reasons, but, in general, it is a bad idea today. This will shock many who dream of visiting exotic lands or gathering with friends for a ŇgetawayÓ, a ski vacation or other reasons. I must tell the truth about it, however, for those who will listen.
Traveling For Cultural Or Spiritual Enrichment. Travel has traditionally been used for widen oneŐs cultural and spiritual perspective and for spiritual development. Millions have made pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Mecca, India and elsewhere. However, having spoken with and worked with hundreds of people who have journeyed all over the world, I cannot recommend travel for these reasons.
While it is certainly true that travel to foreign lands will enrich a person culturally and perhaps in other ways, it is not needed today for spiritual development, no matter what anyone claims. In fact, it often slows spiritual development because it diminishes oneŐs health and increases nutritional deficiencies and metal toxicity. This is just the facts of the matter, unfortunately. Especially, travel to India is unclean and often people come back with unusual infections that are hard to clear from the body.
Today, spiritual development, which is the crowning achievement of mankind, is much easier to do at home, away from the hustle and bustle of most cities and travel areas. Video such as television, movies and DVDs can bring the most exotic places to your living room. I know it sounds boring, but this is more helpful in almost all cases than spending money and time traveling to faraway places.
Why not travel? Here are reasons not to travel:
á It slows mental and spiritual development. This is discussed below. The main reasons have to do with not getting enough rest, not eating well, mixing with lots of other people, and picking up infections, increasing x-ray exposure and the like.
á It is not healthful, in general. This is also discussed below in more detail.
á Safety. Travel at this time in history, especially out of the country, is just not as safe as it once was.
á Cost. Travel is an expensive hobby, although it can be done more cheaply, but one must research carefully, and even then it is not an inexpensive hobby.
á It makes one much more yin if done frequently. This is an unusual reason that is explained below in more detail.
HINTS IF YOU TRAVEL
Auto and train travel are usually best, though, of course, they are not appropriate if you must cross water or travel very long distances. Bus travel is quite safe as well, though it is slower and one has less flexibility than in autos or in trains.
Statistics appear to prove that air travel is safer than auto travel. However, I believe this is not really true, and here is why. Accident statistics for auto travel include accidents involving drivers who are drunk, stoned, upset, overtired and inexperienced (such as teenagers who are texting their friends and listening to loud music while driving). If one subtracts all of the above categories of accidents, assuming you are a safe driver, your chances of having an accident are much lower.
Of course, someone can always hit you, but you can reduce your risk of accidents by driving only when rested, when well nourished, driving slowly in the right lane, staying off the cell phone, switching drivers every hour or two, and so on. These are simple precautions that are well worth a little extra travel time. Also, keep your driverŐs window open slightly to hear any important noises outside, and keep the volume of the radio or CDs down so you can focus on the road.
Air travel is not only more dangerous than auto travel in terms of accidents. Other hazards include x-ray exposure at the airports. The x-ray machines are becoming more and more powerful each year, it seems. High altitude travel also exposes one to even more radiation. No radiation is good. Also, electromagnetic pollution on aircraft today is quite intense due to the use of more and more radar, radios, spinning turbine engines, and more. Many aircraft are also heavily sprayed with pesticides, especially on international flights.
Be sure to bring extra water when traveling on an airplane. The air is very dry and one must drink more during the flight.
Frequent traveler syndrome. Air travel, in particular, has another interesting side effect if you do it often. I call it frequent traveler syndrome. We find that people who travel often by air become very yin in Chinese medical terminology. This is not due to the radiation from the x-ray machines or from radiation due to high altitude travel.
It is due to changing your location, and is directly in proportion to how often one travels by air, or even by car, bus or train. Flying several times a year is not a problem. However, more air travel, especially a few times per month, such as that done by flight attendants and pilots, is not healthful. I have also seen this syndrome in truck drivers, for example, who drive a lot, although it is not as bad as that seen with some pilots, and especially with airline hostesses.
Travel by ship. Travel on a modern ships is good, and an occasional cruise can be very relaxing. However, ocean liners are often heavily sprayed with pesticides, especially when traveling in tropical areas. However, short cruises are a better way to travel, in general.
Recreational vehicles. This is an excellent way to travel overland. It advantages include:
1. Better safety. A large vehicle is much safer in a collision than a car, for example. Also, less exposure to other peopleŐs germs in the air, water, food and by contact.
2. Often easier if your travel with children or babies, as you can bring all that you need.
3. You can bring and prepare your own food, sleep in your own bed, and travel on your own schedule.
Many types of vehicles can be purchased or rented, and many types of facilities exist to make life easier for this type of traveler. The disadvantages are it is slow compared to air travel, and may be more costly for a single person. Too much driving is also not healthful for one person.
EATING WHEN TRAVELING
Cleanliness. This should be your first concern. Get up and walk out if a restaurant does not seem clean. Do not assume that because a restaurant is highly rated, that it is clean. While eating exotic foods is one of the joys of traveling, please be very careful when eating in all restaurants, especially in unclean nations. Here are a few simple ideas:
á Avoid all raw food such as salads and fruit, unless you peel the fruit yourself or wash the vegetables yourself. I am sorry to have to say this, but repeated experience indicates that most restaurants are not that clean.
á Be careful with water. Only drink sealed and bottled water, never tap water. Hot tea or an occasional cup of coffee is usually safe, provided the water has been boiled thoroughly. Fruit juice is not good, as it can be moldy or otherwise contaminated. As a last resort, if you cannot get water, you can often drink a mild alcoholic beverage. While I donŐt recommend alcohol ever, alcohol does kill many germs.
á Be careful with utensils such as plates, knives and forks. In some nations, these are not washed well at high temperature, as they are in the US. At least look them over and reject any that do not appear totally clean.
á Order foods that are hard to ruin and hard to disguise with poor quality ingredients. Professional chefs are very experienced at disguising junky quality food with spices, herbs, and artificial colors and flavors. Simple dishes of fresh meats, fresh eggs and freshly cooked vegetables are usually best.
The Lowly Egg. The best food, hands down, to eat in restaurants is eggs, soft boiled if possible, or poached, fried, and less so scrambled. This is because except for scrambled eggs, you will know it is a real egg or not. ŇEgg BeatersÓ or even totally phony eggs may be scrambled, though, so watch out for these unless you know the chef or the place well.
Safe foods when traveling. If you donŐt mind, buy and eat your own food as much as possible when traveling. You will usually save a lot of money and eat better as well. Excellent foods to bring when traveling are:
á Packaged organic blue or yellow corn chips.
á Boxed natural cereals rather than junky cereals.
á For proteins, bring fresh cheese and cans of sardines.
á A jar of almond butter.
á Bring an electric steamer, if possible, and use it in a hotel room to cook vegetables that you bring or purchase, eggs, or to warm food.
Restaurants. Of all the types of restaurants, ethnic restaurants such as Chinese, Thai and East Indian may be the best, though many are not that clean. However, they often have the most to offer in terms of cooked vegetables and simple meat dishes. Mexican restaurants are often not as good because they offer fewer vegetables.
Fast food restaurants have one advantage, and that is cleanliness. However, that is about their only benefit since the food is usually not worth touching at any cost.
Avoid eating from street vendors in most cases unless the food is definitely well cooked.
Foods To Avoid. This is a most important section. Getting sick on the food ruins many vacations, and can have long-lasting consequences. The problem of food-borne illnesses is getting worse, not better. The worst foods to eat when traveling are usually:
á Salads. It is just difficult to wash salad adequately. If you buy salad and wash it yourself, use soap, and not just water.
á Sauces. These are often left out and go bad.
á Strange foods your body is not used to.
á All raw food. This is unfortunate, but fruit, for example, often carries parasites, hepatitis and other infective organisms.
á Meats when you donŐt know what it is. It is often pork, ham, or processed meats that are not healthful.
á Tap water, even for brushing your teeth. Ask for bottled water, which at least is government regulated in most nations.
OTHER TRAVEL HINTS
Travel light, if possible. You will less to carry and worry about. It means, if possible, do not bring fancy electronic equipment such as computers, valuables like a lot of jewelry, or too many clothes. This just makes the trip less worrisome.
Dress professionally and always modestly, mainly for safety reasons. This is especially true when traveling in other nations. The way some young people dress may be considered hobo outfits or even prostitute clothing in other nations.
Keep your passport, money, airline tickets and other valuables very close to yourself, preferably in a hidden pouch under your clothing. This is critical because losing these will ruin any trip. Keeping them in a coat pocket or purse is not nearly as safe.
Bring ear plugs, eye coverings and anything else needed to help you sleep well. You never know what you will encounter in hotels and sleeping well is of utmost importance to enjoy any trip.
Wash your hands often when traveling. This is the best way to minimize the possibility of picking up infections in airports, rail stations, restaurants and everywhere.
Supplements for traveling. I would always bring GB-3, a powerful digestive aid, and betaine hydrochloride and pepsin, another powerful digestive aid. The combination will help kill most organisms that you may ingest. Take these each and every time you eat anything, even snacks unless they are packaged and you know they are clean.
I would also always bring a few ounces of colloidal silver, in case you or a travel companion becomes ill. It can be much easier to stop a cold or any illness by immediately taking some harmless colloidal silver, rather than wait and have to go to a local doctor, and take antibiotics or other drugs.
A good multivitamin, and remedies to help you sleep are also excellent for overall health.
Bathing and swimming. While they may look appealing, the most contaminated places in most hotels and spas are the pool and hot tubs. Avoid these altogether unless you want to pick up unusual infections. Even lakes are often contaminated. The ocean is usually okay, except for jellyfish and sharks in some places.
Public bathrooms. Be careful in all public bathrooms, as these are also often unclean, even in high-end restaurants and other establishments. Use the toilet seat covers or use some toilet paper to make a cover for the toilet seat. Always wash your hands with soap after using the bathroom.
If possible, bring your own sheets, pillow and pillow case. This may sound crazy, but many people do it and happily pay the extra baggage fee at the airport or bus terminal, if it applies. Hotels often save money and time by not changing the sheets if they appear clean. There is no way to know if the person who stayed at the hotel the night before had AIDS or carried bed bugs, etc.
Bring a small electric food steamer. This is more work, but steamers are lightweight and take up relatively little room. If you are traveling by car, they are easy to bring along. It is not romantic, of course, to eat in your hotel room, but it could save your life, especially if traveling in unclean areas. Some nations, such as Japan, are cleaner, but these are few and far between.
Hotel rooms. These are often not too clean, no matter how clean they appear. Bed covers are almost always dirty, as are door handles, telephone handsets, toilet flushers and remote controls for TV sets. Here are some tips:
1. When you arrive, turn down the bed spread or cover so you do not touch it. Blankets may also not be clean, but are usually better than the bedspread.
2. Some suggest covering the entire mattress with an impervious cover, although this is quite a lot of work. If you bring your own sheets and pillowcases, remake the bed with them as well.
3. Use a damp cloth with some soap on it to wipe down the remote control, the telephone, all door handles, refrigerator handles, the toilet flusher, and preferably all other surfaces you will touch such as faucet handles, the bottom of the toilet seat and even the floor of the shower.
4. The water glasses at hotels are often not too clean. Preferably bring your own water and do not use their glasses, or wash them with soap before using them.
These precautions may sound extreme, but today there are more and more unusual infections, sexually-transmitted disease, Lyme disease and other unusual bugs around. They are everywhere, even at the finest motels and hotels. If you must stay in these places, taking these precautions can be very important in a few cases, at least, and you never know which places are truly clean. This is why traveling and staying in an recreational vehicle or at a friendŐs home is often better, and often less costly as well.
Travel is such as hazard today, with little to gain from it, that it is a major stumbling block to spiritual and even physical development for many people. Most of the benefits claimed for travel can be far better gained by staying near home, traveling short distances by car or longer trips by recreational vehicles, and forgetting about long-distance air travel, in particular.