Tuesday, May 6, 2014

IBS-D Troubles While Traveling

This post originally appeared on Have Your Health, a past blog of mine active from 2013-14.

This past weekend I went to a national park here in Korea with a tour group. While there were absolutely gorgeous hikes over the weekend, I was unable to enjoy some of the best views. Why? My lovely stomach and IBS issues. I haven't researched much yet into the mind-gut connection, but I definitely know the two are connected.

Part of my stomach troubles this weekend probably came from the fact that I knew we would be on someone else's schedule, and that for many long stretches each day we wouldn't be around bathrooms. I'd also have to share a bathroom with my motel roommate that weekend - a bathroom that didn't have a vent to cover up sounds or odor. Meals would have to be agreed upon with the three others I would be with, or purchased at rest stops on the travel days.

I did try to make it easier by bringing along snacks of almonds, raisins, bananas, instant oatmeal, and gluten-free bars. But I did still eat toast and yogurt one morning for breakfast (provided). I did some good, some bad. I chose to have some alcohol on the beach one afternoon, but when my friends bought beers I did not (gluten). I stopped at a convenience store later for a mixed drink instead. The lesser of two evils? But Rebecca, you must be thinking, there was gluten in that toast you ate one morning! I know, I know. Some good, some bad - remember?

I had to strategically leave the motel room and sneak away down to the lobby bathroom a few times in the mornings and evenings. (I didn't want to explain why I was leaving to use the bathroom when we had one right there in our room!)  I got nervous when I knew there wouldn't be time for a bathroom stop (like when a friend and I were making our way back down a mountain to the bus that was supposed to leave at 6 p.m.  We were nearly a half hour late in getting back to the bus, so there was no way I could stop and take my time in a bathroom. That was no fun.)

That was one of two moments that really stood out to me over the weekend. Both were on beautiful hikes. And my mind was elsewhere for most of each, wondering if I should leave my group and search for a restroom.

Skipping those details, the weekend served as a wake-up call. I need to make more changes to improve/get rid of my IBS. I want to enjoy the beautiful hikes! I want to be comfortable on trips where a bathroom is shared in a hostel or hotel room! I want to soak in this view in the moment, with no other thoughts or concerns on my mind!

Do your IBS symptoms act up when traveling? What's your motivation to heal your gut?
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