This post is part of a L’appel Du Vide feature, Misadventure Mondays. In each segment, I’ll ask one of my favorite travel bloggers to share one of their Travel Misadventures. This Monday, Heather from “Ginger Nomads” share her story of getting sick in Mongolia.
Tell me a little about yourself and your current trip:
I grew up in the wilds of Northern British Columbia, Canada. And I’m a ginger, ranga, redhead (depending on your slang preference). I am currently at home in said Northern wilds, after spending 9 months in Asia, Australia, and Guatemala. In October I head back to Oz.
Describe your travel style:
Definitely backpacker. Largely due to the fact that I’m cheap. In addition to my cheapness, it is usually solo-travel cheapness. I’ve been traveling by myself since 2010, and I love pushing my limits and meeting amazing people along the way.
What’s been your best/worst travel misadventure? Tell me about where you were, who you were with, and what happened.
It’s hard to decide between getting horribly sick in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and the bus breaking down in the middle of the night in Burma. Ulaanbaatar wins though. So in Ulaanbaatar, I was out for dinner and drinks with friends. I may have been egged on to drink a bit too much vodka (not to mention vodka is as much a part of Mongolian culture as it is Russian), and was stumbling home drunk with two friends.
I managed to make it to Sukhbaatar Square (the main city square and home of the Parliament) when I decided that was a good time to get sick. I sat down beside a small patch of grass, and proceeded to clear out my stomach. Right in front of a statue of Genghis Khan himself. I thought I was better, but got back to my host family’s apartment and threw up bile for the next 6 hours.
Luckily, my host grandma is the coolest lady ever and gave me some traditional Mongolian remedies that cleared me up like no Western medicine could. I would like to point out that I maintain to this day, that it was not only because of the vodka I got sick, I would like to believe there was some food poisoning in there too. This makes me out to be some kind of alcoholic but I only indulged in alcohol a handful of times in Asia and Australia, which makes this episode all the more remarkable.
What were the negative or positive outcomes of your misadventure?
Both negative and positive I guess, in that I couldn’t drink alcohol at all for about a month and a half afterwards. The smell of booze made me want to get sick all over again. It saved me some major cash on the backpacker trail.
What did you learn from this misadventure that you can share with other travelers?
Don’t be goaded into drinking vodka with either locals or fellow travelers. Oh, and it’s a bad idea to chase shots of vodka with vodka and fanta. And Mongolians and traveler friends can be the most amazing people.
What’s the one other lesson you’ve learned on your trip that you wish you had known before you left?
On a different note that alcohol consumption, travel opens your eyes like nothing else. It’s been said a million times before, and it will be said over and over again. People are different and yet the same the world over. And people like my host family in Ulaanbaatar or the countless people who helped me out in Asia, or the people the adopted me in Perth and became my Aussie family are the best examples of the best qualities.