The Best Comments Of The Month: April 2009

April 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Discussion

best commentsI appreciate every comment, hope you’ll leave more, and encourage you to do so if you never have.

In case you don’t get a chance to follow the latest comments at the bottom, or read through a viewer, here are some of the best comments of the month.

I’m getting more and more comments each month and it’s great to read and respond to them. It makes it harder to pick out the ‘best’ comments and I’ve probably missed one or two! I really do appreciate each and every one, thank you!

Common Sense Advice On Handling Most Joint Injuries On Your Own – [Part 1 of 2]

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Health and Fitness

A severe grade II ankle sprain last week, a couple of years of training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and lifetime of being physically active wherever I am, has taught me a thing or two about getting hurt. A few broken noses, fractured ribs, and countless sprains, pulls, to name some. Some of these (broken nose, ribs) I discovered years later since I never went to the doctor for any of them.

I’m not reckless, clumsy, or a masochist, but have had to rely on a number of books and my instincts because many times I wasn’t near a reliable doctor or hospital. Traveling can easily put you in a situation where you can’t find, afford, or want the local medical assistance.

None of these tips aren’t going to cure all ailments, replace professional medical advice, or be especially surprising for many of you. These general steps in Part 1, and Part 2 Monday, will help you evaluate your injury and get you healing faster and back to traveling – or at least until you can get to a doctor.

1. Evaluate

The instant you get hurt and recover from the initial pain, take a moment to listen to your body. Don’t shake a hurting joint or immediately pop up from a fall. Check to make sure no bones are protruding (indicating a break) and slowly determine the range of motion you have in the joint. More than pain, range of motion will tell you how bad the injury is. (Sprains and muscle injuries can damage nerves so you won’t feel much soon after getting hurt.)

wet floor

2. The First 48 Hours

How you handle an injury immediately after suffering it and the ensuing 48 hours will largely determine how fast you’ll  be able to recover. Don’t mess around or try to do too much in order to stick to your 8 minute travel plan or squeeze in one more site as you hobble around.


3. Feed Your Injury R.I.C.E.

R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate. One of your body’s responses to injury and effects of broken blood vessels is swelling. Swelling and inflammation cause the joint to be rigid and take your body work longer to clean out debris and ultimately heal. The faster you can control and reduce  swelling by applying ice the better. Remember, the more you swell, the slower you heal. Wrap you joint with a small travel essential sock if you’ve got nothing else handy and keep it 6 inches above your heart as long as you can.

An additional note that while you’re eating rice, try to avoid alcohol. It will increase swelling and bruising.


Don’t Neglect The First 2 Days

That doesn’t mean you aren’t tough (for those of you with pride issues or simply hate unexpected events throwing off your plans) for taking care of an injury. No one is made of steal and the faster you accept this and begin first aid the quicker you’ll heal and be back to hiking, hitchhiking the outback, or strolling around Stanford.

In Part 2 Monday I’ll go over some basic quick rehab to perform during and after the critical first 48 hours to manage your discomfort and get back to 100% again.

[photos by: zoomar, Pete Lanbert, u m a m i]

Turkish Remedies For Preventing An Upset Stomach

April 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Health and Fitness

The Turks are very paranoid about upset stomachs and have a number of natural remedies to prevent them. As I child was given old advice on preventing a bad stomach which (apparently) can cause a wide number of ailments, including bad sperm and headaches – or throw your plans off on a vacation.

Only some of these are backed by science, and the others may just be old wives tales but won’t hurt to try especially if you’ve got a sensitive stomach.

Keep Your Feet Warm

Don’t walk on cold surfaces, tile, or bare floors without putting something on your feet to keep them warm. The standard recommendation is slippers although shoes or socks will do, they are sub par. Apparently cold feet can cause an upset stomach (and bad sperm) so make sure to bundle up on flights as well. I couldn’t find any scientific data to back up this claim, but you’ve got my mom’s word for it.


Eat Yogurt

Although the jury is out on cold feet and stomach aches there is a lot of evidence to support the health and tummy benefits of yogurt. Eating yogurt regularly replenishes the beneficial bacteria that lives in your stomach and intestines. A good way to stay regular, avoid traveler’s constipation, and reduce the effects of lactose intolerance.


Don’t Mix Hot and Cold Food Or Drinks

There is some anecdotal evidence to support this advice but many more questions. The old saying goes that it’s hard on the stomach to drink very hot or cold liquids right after each other. Like having some ice cream immediately after a hot bowl of soup. It’s probably a good idea not to eat or drink very cold things too fast since it can cause the “ice cream effect” otherwise known as a headache; but there’s no scientific evidence that shows mixing hot and cold causes stomach aches.

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Three Location Based Social Networks Travelers May Find Useful

April 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech

A friend of mine recently pointed me to some location-based social networks that travelers may find interesting. In case you aren’t familiar with location-based social networks, they are social networks like Facebook or Twitter, updated from your cell phone that integrate your current location and let your friends know where you are.

There are some differences between three of the popular options, Loopt, brightkite, and foursquare so here are the basics to introduce you to them.


looptLoopt works much like many of the other location-based social networks and ties into your cell phone. As you post updates or are logged into the service from your phone, friends and contacts will see where you are on a Google Map. One of the drawbacks of Loopt however is that it only works with “smart” phones like the BlackBerry or iPhone (here are some of the best iPhone hacks for travelers if you’ve got one).

Loopt also integrates with your existing Facebook account and you can choose which friends to share your location with.


brightkite logoSimilar to Loopt, the advantage of brightkite is that it works on pretty much any cell phone and doesn’t require an application or download. Your experience is limited by the phone you have so you might only be posting status updates on a via text message from a basic Nokia or pictures and video with an iPhone. brightkite also has a feature that allows you to find local groups within a defined radius so you can connect with others, like backpackers from Austria or Italian food lovers.

brightkite also integrates with your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can post statuses and locations on those sites as well. Some of brightkite posts are publicly available, check the (very Twitter-like) updates on their homepage,


foursquare logofoursqaure isn’t compatible with many phones (mostly the Blackberry and iPhone) but does have a feature that many travelers might find handy. The service lets you check out what other members have to say about “hotspots” you might be visiting or are nearby in a city you’re in. The New York Times cites a great example of how you might use this function.

When you check in at a nearby burger joint, even if you have no friends in the vicinity, you can still get sage advice from other users, such as, “Do not leave DuMont without trying the Mac-n-Cheese.”

foursqaure doesn’t seem to integrate with any existing services, but since you need a Blackberry or iPhone to use it, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube won’t be hard to get to anyway.

Are You Using Any of Them?

I’ll be signing up to brightkite sometime this week and I’ll post the username in the comments for those of you who want to use yet another way to digitally connect with me. Until then you can find me on Facebook, read my Twitter, or send me an old fashioned email.

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