No one thinks that they will get injured while they are on holiday. Most of the time, we stay well and enjoy our time away, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control and we need medical treatment.
We’ve compiled a list of the best and worst places to get ill while on vacation. It seems that the USA tops the list for expensive treatment. If you need treatment you can expect to pay around $1300, which may be almost as much as you paid for your holiday!
USA – $1300
India – $1052
Peru – $754
Vietnam – $709
Thailand – $479
Costa Rica – $450
Nepal – $304
Australia – $294
New Zealand – $216
Sri Lanka – $214
India takes second place, surprisingly enough, with the cost of medical treatment about $1052. This equates to nine times the amount an average backpacker would spend per week of travel.
Coming in as the cheapest place to get sick, is Sri Lanka. Here, if you get ill on holiday, you can expect to pay about $215.
Upon further investigation we find that even though New Zealand comes in just above Sri Lanka, it is the best value for money at 0.3 times the amount the average backpacker spends there per week. However, it is the very high standard of care – according to WHO ratings – that make it best bang for your buck.
Australia and Costa Rica – while not being in the cheapest range – are in the best value for money, being second and third ranked.
The most expensive, and also the worst value for your money, is India with quality of care being very low on the list.
It makes sense, therefore, to ensure you are well covered before you head off on your backpack holiday to some countries, otherwise you may find yourself out of pocket.
According to Adam Grant, psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, people who live away from their hometowns are more creative than those who live where they were born. By ‘far away’ he means that they live abroad.
Mr Grant says that different cultures bring a whole new set of issues to the lives of people who go and live in other countries. They see different norms and values, and develop a new way of looking at things.
“Cultures come with new norms and values and ways of looking at things,” he explains.
“Any time you have a problem, you have an extra set of resources at your disposal to say, America has taught me to think about it this way,” he says. “However, if we were to go to Chile, here’s how I would look at a problem while I’m there.”
Taking someone who has never left their home country, you will find that they only way they look at a problem is the way the country traditionally looks at it. However, a person who has moved abroad and lives in a different country now has two different ways to look at the same problem. The solutions may be completely opposite from each other.
When people live abroad, they are forced to integrate themselves into the culture of the new country. People like Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Paris, and Paul Gaugain, who lived in Tahiti are good examples of the enhanced creativeness of those who live in other countries.
In a study done in 2015 we see that the most successful fashion houses all have directors who lived abroad. Karl Lagerfield is a good example. Karl as born in Germany to a Swedish father, and spent his life travelling between France and Italy.
Extensive studies have shown that expatriots are more likely to be highly creative than people who have never left their own countries. The study also shows that bilingual people show far more creativity than people who can only speak one language.
“Juxtaposing these two different worldviews lets you come up with new possibilities,” Grant says.
The conclusion says Grant, is that being immersed into more than one culture helps you combine the old and the new, and arrive at another point of view, which then brings new possibilities.
In a letter to her daughter, a mother pours her heart out about things which are bothering her. It seems that the girl had always been a fussy eater, and became a vegan when she turned 18. The mother admits that it was a choice the girl made and she respected it. She feels that while adopting a new lifestyle is acceptable, there is a fine dividing line between this and becoming too dogmatic about your own point of view.
Her daughter, while adhering strictly to all parts of her vegan life, cannot tolerate opposing views, and therefore cannot feel respect for people with other views. The mother is at great pains to explain that, as she is getting older, her choices will be limited as to the diet she follows, through no fault of her own. While the mother can see some of the points her daughter is making, she feels that she will now never live up to her daughter’s expectations.
She explained all that she did when they were together, such as going to vegan restaurants, and sending her daughter back to university with frozen vegan soups. In fact, she had done much research on healthy foods for the daughter. Still this did not seem to be enough.
In what is possibly one of the saddest letters you may read, we see that the mother finds it very hard to live with the fact that her daughter looks at her with disgust and does not respect her. What is more painful for the mother, is the thought that her daughter may mellow with age, and accept other views, but for her, that day will come too late.
When you told me you had decided to become a vegan, I was worried. You had always been a fussy eater and I feared that, with such a limited diet, you wouldn’t get the nutrition you needed.
But you were over 18, so it was your choice. In addition, you did begin to eat more fruit and vegetables and tried to include the right food and supplements in your diet, so I was, at least partly, appeased.
You said your motivation was animal welfare and the environmental damage caused by agriculture. Fair enough.
With a younger child and a full-time job, I found it a challenge to research and cook meals for you, but I took it on board. And when you left home for university, I made sure the car was packed with homemade vegan soup for your freezer.
But it is not enough for you that I accommodate your choice. As you have explained many times, for you, veganism is not just about what you eat – it’s a lifestyle. You have watched all the pro-vegan documentaries, read mountains of information on the internet and can effortlessly reel off the soundbites. You have become passionate about the cause to the point of dogma. You will not tolerate any opposing view. Crucially, you can no longer respect anyone who is not persuaded to go vegan. And that means me.
I am open to at least some of your arguments and have made changes to my diet on account of information you have passed on to me about farmed animals. But, as a middle-aged woman, my choices in life are narrowing and will continue to narrow. I have no intention of limiting those choices further by going vegan. In your eyes, that just makes me selfish.
When we meet, I take you to vegan restaurants and embrace the choices available. I send you vegan recipes and seek out vegan chocolate for you in the supermarket. I know that you appreciate my efforts, but I also know that I will always fall short. I have stopped even trying to explain my reasons for not going vegan as it just ends up with both of us getting upset.
There is an uncomfortable contradiction for me in all of this – I have brought you up to be a strong, powerful, compassionate young woman. I would expect you to be passionate about what you believe in. I have taught you that tolerance is vital, but that there is a point when a line is crossed and certain behaviour cannot be tolerated. So I really can understand, in part, your attitude.
But I can’t tell you how hard it is to live with the knowledge that my own daughter is sickened by me. It is so important to me to feel worthy of your respect.
I hope that, in time and with maturity, dogma may give way to a more open attitude. But my fear is that, while you may mellow in how outspoken you are about veganism, your revulsion of me will remain vivid. And I will just have to live with that.”
A middle-aged visionary has launched an offline service called ‘pub’, which allows friends to interact in a building.
An overweight, balding 46-year-old man sees ‘pub’ (his local pub) as a place where people can verbally communicate while drinking beer.
He said: “There’s Steak Night on Tuesdays and a ska band every third Friday. Hopefully we’re getting the toilets done next month because they’re a bit grim at the moment.”
A 24-year old female blogger commented: “I love ‘pub’ because it’s so interactive and exciting. For example, my friend will say something about her life, and then I comment, and then she comments back, and then I comment, and so on.”
“It’s an amazing platform for trumpeting my half-baked politics and making vague statements about being unhappy so my friends feel obliged to pay me some attention.”
“Often I’ll say something and a total stranger will chime in with a comment like ‘Why don’t you crawl under a rock and die, you ugly bitch?’ So it’s not scarily different to the internet.”
However police have warned about the potential dangers of ‘pub’: “People in ‘pub’ aren’t always who they seem to be. A middle-aged man could claim to be a small girl. Stay alert, use your eyes.”
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Most people who go to the gym, want to be left alone to do their workout. They don’t want to be hassled about mundane things like clothes and shoes. In fact most people who go to the gym, wear gym clothes.
Sarah Villafane, was doing just that, minding her own business, when staff felt that they should insist that she put on ‘proper gym clothes’. They actually wanted Sarah to put on another shirt. Sarah said that she did not have another. She continued with her workout, and to her surprise they did not let the matter end there, they asked her to leave.
Having worn the same clothing all day and even after speaking to her professors, Sarah was not aware of breaching any rules. She even posted a pic of the outfit on Facebook.
Read out what happened when Sarah refused to change her shirt, and let us know whether you agree with the decision or not.
“So I just got kicked out of the College of Charleston student gym for wearing this outfit. Like not allowed to work out. Not allowed to because of THIS OUTFIT THAT I BOUGHT SPECIFICALLY TO WORK OUT IN.
I’ve worn this same outfit all day. Went to 3 classes and spoke personally with each of my professors today and they didn’t have a problem. But when I walked into the gym they asked me to put on adifferent shirt. Obviously I didn’t bring an extra shirt to the gym and wasn’t about to wear my flannel while working out. So I just said mhm ok and went about my work out pretty pissed off that they even asked me to change.
Then, when I’m in the BACK CORNER of the gym doing abs on the floor, another staff member comes up and asks me to “put my shirt back on.” I said “I have a shirt on.” They say “no that’s not a shirt. You have to wear a whole shirt” I say “how is this not a shirt?” And she says “You need full coverage. If you have a problem, we always have our boss here.” I laughed and said “Alright bring him over here if he has a problem.”
A few minutes later while I’m doing more work outs on the floor, the “boss” comes up. He says “I’m gonna need you to put a shirt on.” Again, I tell them “I am wearing a shirt.” He says “I need you to put on a shirt or I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.” I said “But I HAVE A SHIRT ON.” He says “Are you gonna put a shirt on?” And I said “Well if this isn’t a shirt… no. I’m not gonna put a shirt on.”
WTF COFC. I bought this outfit to work out in because it’s COMFORTABLE. What is the issue? Why can’t I work out in this outfit? Is my belly button distracting to the general 85% male demographic that your gym serves? I’m forced to leave, WHY? Honestly I’m so floored that I just got kicked out for this. DO BETTER COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON.”
Villafañe later edited her post with an update.
“[EDIT:] The gym has since said that they kicked me out for “sanitary concerns.” However, they never made those sanitary concerns clear when they asked me to change. They told me I need “more coverage” and nothing more. Not to mention, their website has no written dress code anyway. The dress code at the front of the gym simply says “Athletic wear must be worn.” I would say that what I’m wearing (whether you believe it’s a sports bra or a crop top) is completely normal and considered athletic wear.”
For animal lovers, there are some places that are dreams come true! And yes, they do really exist! While some of the islands are full of warm, cuddly animals, others are inhabited by creatures not normally thought of as pets. From foxes that you can feed, to stingless jellyfish that will do swimmers no harm, these islands are crammed with wildlife.
You may wonder how they arrived at the destinations, and while there are legends about this, there are no absolutely certain reasons. In some places the animals are treated with great respect by locals, while in others they live entirely on their own. The animals are there, and seem very happy to have humans as their tourists! Some of them are friendly, while others you would do well to admire from a distance.
Have a look at some places where the animals have literally, taken over, and the humans are their visitors.
He started travelling in 2008 and spent a whopping £125,000 to achieve his dream. Over the course of five years James Asquith, the 24-year-old, who is now 28 and works as banker in London, managed to visit all 196 countries. Last year, he received a Guinesss World Record for becoming the youngest person in the world to travel to all sovereign countries.
However, according to James that was never the plan. “It was never the purpose to race around and hop into every country to tick it off,” he said. Instead, he got the idea after he had travelled a few times with his father who was an airline pilot for BMI (British Midland International). “I thought, ‘I want to see more,’ and eventually decided I wanted to go everywhere,” he said.
From an early age James had saved his money by doing odd jobs such as car washing. As an adult, he continued to save and at 18 he finally had enough money to travel. What started as a three month trip with friends carried on to become an around-the-world trip that lasted him five years!
“When it started, I remember going to get our backpacks and the guy in the shop saying, ‘Get this one, you’ll catch the travel bug and it will be durable.’ I thought, ‘No, it’s just going to be a three-month trip.’ Two days after I came back I booked my first solo trip and went to Egypt.”
James’s Dad was a pilot working for BMI, meaning he got to tag along to destinations he otherwise may not have visited.
“They went direct to Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kazakhstan – places that were pretty expensive to get to and that I’d normally never have gone to,” he said.
When James began travelling with his dad, he always thought that he would like to see more. Even travelling without his dad, he would head off to weird places, just because he could.
“I started going away with my Dad when I could, or even without him, on these weird route networks. I thought, ‘I want to see more,’ and eventually thought, ‘Now I want to go everywhere.'”
“Initially I was living with my parents, so I saved money on rent there,” he said. “I worked three jobs at one point, and I started up a student events business in my second year which turned out to be lucrative — that’s what made it happen.”
“Syria was lovely when I went in 2011,” he said. “I stayed in the Sheraton in Damascus and it was a completely different place back then. So many places have changed massively — I went to Kurdistan in north Iraq, which from what I hear in the press is now an awful place, but my photos of it are beautiful.”
James has tried to spend at least one day or a night in every country he has been to, and he has fond memories of many places.
“It was probably the loneliest place — I broke up with an ex-girlfriend the day before I went there, and I went for four month by myself. I didn’t speak a word of English for about the first two months — there was a large aspect of solitude and a lot of self-reflection.”
“There were obviously some that I spent less time in — I went to Afghanistan during a war — but some I spent months in. I got a flavour of every country.”
To boost his travel funds, James took to dabbling on the stock market and openly admits he had no clue what he was doing. It seemed to work though, because he manages to fund his travelling very well.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I bought a few stocks from UK banks when they were on their knees and I got really lucky,” he said. “I managed to make a fair amount of money from that and basically spent it all traveling.”
“A lot of people write articles about how you can trick the system — I wouldn’t read too much into that, just keep looking for deals all the time,” he said. “The first thing I do is search on Skyscanner ‘London to Everywhere.'”
He also suggests signing up to airline emails to take advantage of their sales. “They obviously use their cheapest, super-discounted seats to promote their sales, and there are very few tickets that are at the price that they advertise, but they do have tickets at those prices.”
“Older legacy airlines from Europe and the US are, in my opinion, way behind the curve of the Middle Eastern three,” he said. “The Asian airlines and the Middle Eastern airlines are absolutely spot on.
“European budget airlines work for sure, but Asian budget airlines are amazing. Air Asia got me just about everywhere for so little.”
“My parents helped me as much as they could in various ways, but I certainly didn’t get any handouts. It obviously helps when you get financial help with the airfare, but a lot of the places I went for five months or something like that and was on a shoestring to get by.”
“I worked in bars and hostels when I was in South America so I got food, drink, and accommodation for free — when you’re backpacking, there’s not really much else you’re spending money on.”
“I probably took about six different trips that were four or five months in length,” he said. “I was 18 when it started, and finished when I was 24 and some amount of days.”
When he set foot in the final country, James said he had a very empty feeling, and not what he had expected to feel. “It was a really weird feeling — I felt quite empty. I always joked that I would have a mid-life crisis at a young age, but it almost felt like that.”
“It got quite big quite quickly,” he said. “I got a lot of weird requests like, ‘Come and DJ on our radio station in Sydney,’ or ‘Come on the ‘The One Show.’ That was certainly not for me.”
“There were times when I went to five countries in a day just for the purposes of getting a stamp,” he said, adding, “I didn’t have tickets from everywhere. I paid people in a jeep to take me to Somalia — it’s not like I was going to turn around and say, ‘Can I have a receipt please?'”
The Guinness Book of Records finally recognised him, as did RecordSetter, which is the second biggest organisation to recognise records such as this. James says that it was a wonderful moment when he received an email from Guinness to say he had set a new the record!
“I got an email saying ‘Congratulations, you’ve got a Guinness World Record.’ It was amazing.”
“Everyone can write a travel book and there’s lots of travel blogs out there, so I needed it to be official,” he said. “I spent pretty much all of last year writing it — I started to do it while I was at work, but I realised it wasn’t conducive to sitting in meetings talking about financial markets then coming home to write about the most amazing thing I’ll probably ever do in my life.”
“So I took loads of trips and basically just got in the mindset of writing while I was on them — I spent three and a half weeks in the South Pacific just sitting on the beach writing.”
“If Europe was a country, it would be Europe because of the difference between Spain, Italy, Scandinavia… it’s massively diverse, but it’s the same from New York to Texas, Las Vegas, Alaska, and Hawaii. I think I’ve been to 29 states.”
“I want to do something more extreme now, some sort of crazy marathon or something,” he said. “I’m not going to be in a sail boat going across the Atlantic any time soon, but something a bit more edgy I guess.”
“There are going to be so many other places that amaze me. There’s so much more to see.”
‘Living the dream’ is the way Jennifer Raath describes the life her and her husband are leading. Soon after they were married Jennifer and Rudolph decided that travelling was what they wanted to do.
To fund the dream, the couple had to rent out their house, sell their cars and cancel the gym membership and phone contracts. Finally, with one backpack each, they headed off.
Jennifer says it was hard leaving their jobs, but once they had done it and were on the way, they knew they had made the right choice.
“The hardest part was quitting our jobs, we were earning around £35-40k [$45-51.3K] per year combined but we had to put our careers on hold if we wanted to see more of the world,” she said.
“We had to swap our lifestyle for living out of one backpack each but we couldn’t be happier now we’ve done it.”
“Saying goodbye to our cars, gym memberships and house wasn’t easy but the rent from our home has helped fund our trip.”
To date they have visited 14 different countries as a couple and they are planning on Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India soon. Travelling from north to south and east to west means that they do not miss out on any part of a country. They also try to spend no more than 4 or 5 days in one place.
“So far we have visited 14 different countries as a couple, nine on this trip so far since packing up last December and we can’t wait to create more adventures in the next few months,” she said.
“We will be travelling to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India in the next four months. We budgeted for an eight month trip but we will continue to travel for as long as we can.”
“We’ve loved every single country we’ve seen and we try and spent no more than three to five days in the same place.”
“Travelling across the countries from north to south and east to west, we ensure we don’t miss out any part.”
“Having a bath is one of the main things we miss while travelling on a budget,” Jennifer added.
“Back home we had a lot more luxuries but we know one day we’ll have those back.”
“We crammed our whole lives into two backpacks but luckily all the countries we decided to visit are hot or humid so we didn’t need to pack bulky coats or jumpers items.”
Jennifer and Rudolph have almost halved their food bill, they eat mostly street and because the food is so varied, they are sure that food will be bland when they finally get back home.
“We mostly eat street food now which most of the time, is fresh and from local sources,” she continues. “We get to try so many different foods on a daily basis that I’m sure when we’re back home, we will find everything much more bland.”
“At the moment we feel like we’re living the dream.”
“We didn’t go on holidays for longer than three weeks after or before studying at university and we hope that our story shows others that you’re never too old or too settled to jet off and explore.”
“We write down all of our expenses into a spreadsheet to ensure we don’t go over budget with trips while away but so far we’ve managed just fine.”
Another interesting fact is that they have both lost weight due to walking everywhere, Jennifer says this is a bonus! One thing that they miss very much is a nice, hot bath.
“We are constantly walking now so I’ve dropped around a stone in weight, it’s great. We both feel so much healthier both mentally and physically.”
“Back home we have lots of friends but during our travels we’ve met some great couples who are also seeing the world together.”
“Our families have been really supportive of us quitting our jobs and jetting off.”
“We try to Skype them once a week and our blog allows them to track where we are all the time.”
“They never not know where we are in the world and besides, it’s safer that way too.”
The couple have set up a blog ‘The Married Wanderers‘, and they hope other couples will be inspired to travel. No matter how old you are, you can always jet off and explore.
Being pregnant with one baby is hard work, as most moms will tell you. But carrying twins is a far and away more difficult than a single baby. Here Natalie Bennett, who is a vlogger, and mom of twins, gives us a peek into her next pregnancy, which was a single baby instead of twins.
The video shows her side by side shots of ‘the tummy’, which she had with the twins, compared to what she had with the single birth. At 36 weeks with the twins, Natalie says she felt like she had a torpedo sticking out in front of her, so huge was her belly.
Comparing the two pregnancies, Natalie says that while she is still tired, short of breathe, and still getting up in the night for the twins, she is not anywhere as worn out as she was with the first pregnancy.
“The pregnancy itself was so much less comfortable than what it is now,” says the incredible Natalie. “I had twice as many doctors appointments.”
That’s Bennett pregnant at 36 weeks with her twins on one side and at 36 weeks with her one baby on the other.
Bennett reflected on that image:
“I had a huge body by the end. My belly was so ridiculously large it looks inhuman. … The thumbnail of it is downright shocking. People look at it and they go ‘oh my gosh what am I looking at.,” she said.
Twin pregnancies are classed as ‘high risk’ simply because so many things can go wrong. Double appointments, for a start, to keep an eye on things. Extra distance to travel to see specialists – all these are very tiring when carrying a huge bump in front. Natalie said that it seemed that everything she did was a huge effort, because of the amount of weight that she was carrying on her belly. Even doing simple things was hard, not to mention tiring.
Natalie says that the single pregnancy has been so straightforward, compared to the twins. We think she is just amazing!