Health is the foremost and the most important thing that one needs to be a fearless traveller. Now, who better than a medical doctor to tell us all about staying healthy while traveling. Add to this the fact that she is also an avid traveler who loves to go on road trips.
Watch the Insta Live we did with her some days back.
The book is like a reference book for travelers. It covers all possible medical situations that we can land into during our travels. The author starts by introducing you to the form of traveling. If required she gives you complete information on the equipment involved, like for biking trips or camping adventures. She introduces you to travel adventures and then takes you through the potential pitfalls. There are medicines and first aid recommended. I am quite amazed at her knowledge of different types of equipment.
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At places like forests where you can get different kinds of bug bites, she gives long tables to help you know about each of them. It works as a kind of ready reckoner to know which bug can do what to you and how can respond to its bite. There are many such tables throughout the book. These bring out the medical knowledge of a doctor and the experience of a traveler on the same page.
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The book is full of travel quotes, some of which we often hear but many that are not so common. However, what I missed was no Indian travel quotes in the book. Just as I missed the common home remedies for many things. As a doctor, the author tends to lean heavily on medical prescriptions. It does not hurt to be too cautious, but it may take away the sheer joy of traveling at times.
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There are inspiring anecdotes of travelers in many chapters. I loved the one where some walked to meet the family of the donor who donated his heart to him. Or, the story of a Nepali cyclist who traveled with 100 Nepali rupees in his pocket. Of course, there is the story of Arunima Singh, who summited the Sagarmatha or Mount Everest with an artificial limb. All these stories inspire you to step out and experience the world firsthand. It also tells you how well read and well informed the author is about other travelers.
The spectrum covered in broad. The Fearless Traveller starts with different types of adventure travels like mountaineering, sea cruises, sky diving, scuba diving, and everything in between. Towards the end, she even takes us on pilgrimage. More importantly she covers travel with children, as elderly with special needs, as pregnant women, and as persons with disabilities. There is a chapter on medical tourism and what kind of treatments are good to combine with exploring a new destination.
There are ample checklists that can be readily used pre-travel and during travel. I am being greedy, but it would be good to know some tips on managing post-travel fatigue.
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Overall, a very useful book. We may be able to Google a lot of what is said, but the different answers that pop up would leave us confused. Here we hear it straight from a doctor who has dealt with these situations.
Pick it up.