Think Locally, Act Globally: Staying Healthy When Traveling Abroad

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Here is an inversion of the famous phrase that encourages people to "Think Globally, Act Locally," a slogan attributed to the late Patrick Geddes, a Scottish biologist, geographer, philanthropist and pioneering town planner: "Think Locally, Act Globally" because, when you travel abroad (for work or leisure), your body does not vacation with you; magically suspending the conversion of sugar and carbohydrates into fat, while building muscle mass (and lowering your blood pressure, levels of bad cholesterol and resting heart rate) without the need to exercise anything more than the lifting—and consumption—of forkfuls of cake and sundry assortments of pastries.

The same rule applies to the outdoors, as if the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun are less harmful to your skin when walking the streets of Paris or Tokyo rather than exploring the monuments of Washington, DC, or hiking the Appalachian Mountains in the midday heat and humidity of an afternoon in July.

And yes, that point also extends to that most petulant pest, the mosquito. This insect travels without a passport or identification—no customs agents patrol the border, and no immigration officials screen (or put up screens) for this enemy—because, I assure you, summer is a feeding frenzy for mosquitoes in Rome and Barcelona just as it is a menace for residents of New York and Miami, in addition to visitors touring the byways of New Orleans and Dallas.

I offer this cautionary summary from experience because, as the founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, which is an organic means of alleviating the symptoms of chronic itch and irritated skin, I know that an airline ticket may be an escape from the workaday stress of deadlines and proposals but it is not a reprieve from sound nutrition and Mother Nature.

I write these words as a reminder that good health is not a seasonal phenomenon, inviting us to gorge ourselves in winter and purge ourselves in summer. Nor is it a chance to forgo the necessary protection that will lessen the effects of the scrapes, scratches, bumps and inflamed patches of skin that result from insect bites or allergies.

We need to be mindful of these facts, lest we leave ourselves vulnerable to poor health, or a sudden onset of otherwise avoidable skin conditions.

My advice is not, however, a warning not to have fun. 

On the contrary, you should enjoy the rest and comfort of a trip to an exotic locale or a family vacation to a series of historic sites. At the same time, you need not "go native" by binge eating, substituting alcohol and soft drinks for water, and using your skin as a tanning bed.

These suggestions are practical and safe. Indeed, there is nothing unreasonable about these quite reasonable ideas because simple awareness of the obvious—knowledge of one's environment—is the fastest way to prevent troublesome mistakes and costly (to a person's health and wellness) consequences.

Travel in happiness!

Merry Richon is an entrepreneur and the founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, an all-natural and holistic means of alleviating the itching sensation caused by variety of external factors.

Posted on WholeFoodsMagazine.com 7/8/2015

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