Last week I was telling you how I almost puked in mid-air because of motion sickness. Well, I didn’t know that paragliding would do that to me, otherwise I would have tried to use one of my tricks. Because, when you travel as much as I do, and when you tend to feel motion sickness as much as I do, you do need a few tricks to manage it.
That might be the most ungracious start to any of my posts, but it’s a thing many of us have to deal with, and although it feels a bit lame to be “the traveler with travel sickness”, it’s even worse to be “the traveler that stopped the bus to vomit with a view on the Alps”.
Luckily, I now have many tricks to control motion sickness, and it’s now been years since I last felt sick, paragliding aside.
First thing first : what is motion sickness?
Basically, it’s your eyes seeing something still (the inside of the car for example), while your sense of equilibrium (defined by the liquid in your ears) registers that you’re moving around. The two of them sending different infos to the brain makes you sick.
What you should not do
It might seem like common sense, but here are a few things that it’s better to avoid : a huge meal, heavy or greasy food, alcohol in the last 24H, reading or watching a movie (your eyes are even more focused on stillness then). The worst : thinking or talking about motion sickness. Just writing this post is making me feel dizzy, it would be terrible if I were in a car right now (I’m making myself sick for you, I’m the most dedicated blogger ever or what?).
What you should do
Along with keeping hydrated and eating reasonable amounts of food, there’s a few things that you can do to reduce motion sickness.
First, try to take a seat facing forward and near the window, whatever the mode of transportation. If you know you tend to feel sick in an airplane, ask for a window seat situated over the wings, that’s where you’ll feel the least motion. In a car or a bus, take a seat as near to the front as possible. In a boat, cabins at the center of the ship and on the lowest levels are the best.
Rather than looking inside the vehicle, look at the road outside. When I’m on an especially bad road, like a mountain road, I keep a constant discourse in my head like “Now we’re going to turn left, heeere we go, and now very soon a sharp right, and theeeere we are, …”. It might be weird, and I definitely advise you against doing that out loud, but believe me it really helps, because it’s actually helping the brain figure out what’s happening, and it’s keeping you focused and calm.
If you start feeling sick, you can crack open the window (hm, except in an airplane) to get some fresh air. Take deep breaths, try to meditate. Don’t give in to thinking “I’m feeling sick, I’m going to be sick”, that’s the best way to actually get sick.
Finally, if you’re one of those people able to sleep like a baby even inside a bus, put on some music and try to take a nap, that might be the easiest way out.
When it gets really bad, some medications exist to relieve you. I’m not a doctor, so I’m definitely not going to advise anything, not even sleeping pills. I don’t like taking medication so I’ve never tried anything since I was a kid, and I don’t remember them being very efficient.
On the other hand, I discovered a natural remedy that worked great: meet my best friends, the Sea-Band Wristband!
You put one on each wrists, and the little button inside works like acupressure on a specific point, and in half an hour, voilà! No more nausea. With them, I made a 14 hours bus journey through the mountains of the north of India, at the back of a rickety bus full of people, on terribly bumpy, winding roads, where the woman in front of me got sick and puked in a bag halfway through. And by wearing the wristbands plus doing all the things I mentioned above, I didn’t feel anything, which was a real victory for me.
And if you still get sick despite all of this, well, look on the bright side … at least you’re traveling!
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