Long term effects of travel (flying that is)

You might recall that we made mention about how flying dumbs down your sense of taste (read here). Well, yet more articles had been circulating about the health impact of long distance flying. This is probably applicable to road warriors who ply the skies for work.

We are quite ‘avid’ fans of reading the UK Daily Mail, travel section only of course…all to trawl for a good story. And one of their article suggests a wide range of potential health problems afflicting those sitting for long periods in that aluminium can – hurtling at supersonic speeds. Heheh….as if we all did not know of it already.

The list of acronyms representing the different ailments that can afflict one on flights is quite long. And not being medical professionals, we are cannot comment on whether these effects are real and impactful as suggested.

One thing we did note from the article is the amount of UV and cosmic particles one can be exposed to while on a longer haul flight. Wow, 56 minutes of flying is like 20 minutes on a tanning bed…so on an intercontinental flight of 12 hours…Wonder if that would be less if we flew at night? LOL. Seriously, can someone answer that?

The other would how sitting for long periods might lead to increased cardiovascular disease (not just DVT). Sigh, being office workers how are we to avoid sitting down in meetings or at our work desks?

What do you do in your daily lives that may mitigate the effects of flying? Mel and Suan exercise quite regularly. Do you think taking flight will negate the therapeutic effect of the vacation?

Manage stress with travel?

Not sure if you are familiar with the saying : “Health is Wealth”. There was one flight in which both Mel and Suan coincidentally watched the same movie. The Japanese satirical movie’s story centred around how a squire worked for a samurai lord.

In the story, this squire falls asleep and is visited by the first god. This one’s the god of health. In it, the god told the squire he was about to take away his health. A healthy dose of conversation took place as part of the movie… The squire awoke and thought nothing of it. Some time later, he fell ill with fever and could not get out of bed. It was difficult to sleep but when he did he dreamt that the wealth god had come.stress

“Aaargh, away with you wealth!!” cried the wealth god to the squire and as quickly as he came he was gone. When he finally awaken, our squire was surrounded by family. They sobbed to him : “oh how the samurai lord has seized all our moneys and treasures for his war!”. All the events that followed and the stress cause the squire to fall into a coma – clearly shocked. It’s dark and gloomy and all the squire could see was the mist. Then a clearing. A figure. A hideous looking figure of a man. That our dear friends was the god of death!

If this report is true, it’s definitely alarming!

We once heard from friends posted to work in the Philippines that people they knew in the corporate circles were ‘dropping like flies’. Perhaps they drank and partied too much…but…and this is a true qualification; many years back we had good friends who reported having gout and hypertension. And these folks were at the height of their early 30s. All because of the food we eat and the little exercise we do. And it seems that apart from lifestyles and diets, stress of life (and/or work) are very likely factors too.

While it is one thing to manage our diets, it may be quite another to manage stress. Can travel help distract you from stress or will it worsen the situation? Remember our post on whether you are overworked? Do you feel stress is overwhelming you?

If so, what do you think you will do about it? We travel to unwind. How about you?

What is the dirtiest item in a hotel room?

Hey travelers, what is most important to you when it comes to travel accommodations? Did we hear you say : a clean hotel/hostel room? And does that come with expectations of a clean bathroom and towels too?

Whatever the form of accommodation, be it a hotels, hostels, dormitories or apartments, we believe you look for a constant (high) level of hygiene standards. The last thing you want is to fall ill while you are on holiday because the room you are staying is crawling with bugs, big (bed bugs…) or small (bacteria and viruses).

So where do you think is the dirtiest part of your room?

This may seem alarmist, but if this article is to be believed it is the remote control. Although this may seem to apply only to hotels and apartments, come to think about it that’s logical to apply this to dormitories and hostels too. We cannot believe that the cleaning of the room will include the remote in the case of hotels. Besides with the large number of rooms, the cleaning is more than likely focused on the prominent things. And do you think your AirBnB host routinely clean the remote too? How about the remote in the common lounge of the dorm or hostel? Seriously?

It may not be the fairest of assessment, from reading around and just putting our thinking caps on, perhaps there is a list of top 3 worst things to touch or use without being careful:

  • TV remote control
  • Bathroom sink and toilet seat
  • Switches – be it for the lights, power etc

For us we believe if you do not habitually touch your mouth or eyes, than most of this don’t matter if you wash your hands regularly with soap (not just rinse in water). Some authors recommend you prepare sanitation wipes to take preventive measures.

What would you do?

Is travel really ugly?

Several weeks back, I chanced upon a small post in the Huffington. The gist of the post was the juxtapose between reality and social media projected perceptions. In her article she admitted that her posts on instagram suggested a fabulous trip of glorious meals, stunning landscapes and probably the odd thing or two you discover as this young traveller backpacked and trekked from Lima to Patagonia.

Of course the reality is totally different if you care to read her article or follow her on twitter.

Is she right that travel is about how to juggle your personal belongings at the security scan? Is it the experiences of delays, lost items or the exhaustion from walking all day? One man’s meat is a another’s poison we guess.

What is definitely true is that there is little if any dialogues or feeds you will find easily on social media that shares negative travel experiences. And even if it was, it appears more often than not to be toned down in “softer” language. For example in our recent journey to Russia, we did not mention that the group was held back at the immigration checkpoint in Moscow airport. Huh?Ugly tourist

No not all of us, just that one lady who spoke little English. Apparently the immigration officers took the lady to an interview room. You can imagine the frantic reactions of our guide. Will we mention any of this in the journalogs? No.

Will we also tell you that we witnessed how a team of pickpockets try to create a commotion with one dropping his mobile phone (a really old one at it) hoping that some good tourist Samaritan will help pick it up and lose a wallet in the process? No.

Will we tell you about the fellow tourist that messes up the ladies’ toilets at each stop? No.

The list will go on, but we are sure you get the picture. Even in this blog post we refrain from telling it all, perhaps out of concern that it will put off folks from even reading us. Or perhaps we have it in our psyche to only share the good news, such as the luxury flight we took (suites) or the great shopping we had…

If you do follow us, what would you like us to write about?

Is Cusco >= the Mile High Club?

If you want to really get a high, the highlands of Cusco is really the place.Larco museum Erotic arts11

We are not referring to the availability of hallucinating substances! Its really about the thin air up here an altitude 3400m. Bet you know all about the MHC. No? Now here’s the Two miles club…and we’ll tell you more about it!

Continue reading here

Whirlwind travel and safety

Just realized that two members of the alumni of the big G is/was traveling to Shanghai as well. One was just ahead of me while the other a week+ later. The trip in itself would not have been that bad. This week had been literally back-to-back in terms of flying, taking trains and shuttles. Finally had a place to stay for two  nights and able to find a little time to write this now.

The theme of this post is safety.

One thing I am reminded during this business trip is the importance of keeping oneself healthy at all times. And this means getting enough sleep, keeping hydrated and planning activities so that you do not need to  rush. Haste lead to waste  and in travel means lost time, experiences and possible personal property.

In my last post, I was referring to this whirlwind of a trip through the three countries of Japan, Korea and China. The difference in temperatures between the four locations was quite significant – 20°c! One moment I was basking in the relative warmth of Tokyo and Kyoto (~18°c) and the next I was shivering in -2°c winds of Seoul. It did not help that the wind chill in Shanghai (~4-5°c) made it feel like it was more like freezing as I pounded the streets with my colleagues…

How one stays physically well and still churn out top performance at work has to be planned. Falling ill while on a business trip would be highly undesirable to say the least! Mental note to myself: don’t plan for tight flying schedule. It ain’t fun!

I have always been told that we frequently fall sick from the food and water that we consume as we travel, and normally lay off fresh salads or tap water for drinking. It was fortuitous that I was in Japan and Korea, where the tap water is potable (safe for consumption), but these are exceptions.

Spread of disease.

There is such a furore about the spread of the Zika virus (and its seeming ability to spread via sexual contact), that we need to relook at the Mexico trip that we are researching into. When does mosquitoes breed more prolifically in Mexico? Are they prevalent all year round or perhaps there are windows of time when it gets too cold?

Suan’s susceptible to mosquitoes (apparent O blood types are), and already have problems back home in Singapore. Will foreign mosquitoes find her attractive too?

But I digressed (as usual).

As I sit here at the end of a week’s travel, I am reminded how fortunate I had been to have stayed fit. I did not get to run at any of the hotel gyms (well at least I brought the runners along) on this occasion. And some of the hotels on this trip had pretty good gyms (Conrad Tokyo is one). It had been a memorable trip, one filled with mistakes – luggage on the Shinkansen, taxi to the wrong/old office address, buying a dress on a Thursday night etc. I only hope my boss (who was with me for this trip) took it all in good spirit!