An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Grab your backpack!

Hey! How you doin’?

So, tomorrow I’m headed out of town, and then out of the country to another continent in another hemisphere.

A couple of months ago, Christy Turlington asked if I’d like to join her as a guest to visit maternal health clinics in Bangladesh with her organization Every Mother Counts. We’ll also be screening her movie No Woman, No Cry over there. And I will actively be trying to hold it together because one, Christy Turlington, and two, do you know how far away Bangladesh is?

I mean, that’s at least a hundred miles, right?

The country is slightly smaller than Iowa, yet more than 150 million people live there. I know you will think I am a huge liar when I tell you that I am a sensitive little flower, but a friend of mine from India told me to be prepared for a major emotional roller coaster in terms of what I see and experience. I truly believe that this trip is going to be a life changer.

In preparation for this trip I visited the travel clinic at the University of Utah, and I tell you what. The woman who provided the consultation was super excited about diseases. I did not know one could be so passionate about typhoid or malaria or dengue fever, but the true shocker was just how thrilled she was to tell me about traveler’s diarrhea. It ain’t your mother’s diarrhea.

(I don’t want to think about my mother’s diarrhea.)

To quote Travel Clinic Lady: “This is the kind where your poop just keeps shooting out of your butt. On and on and on. It doesn’t stop.”

I now randomly shout that description in her Utah accent during casual conversations. You should try it.

I know. I’m talking about poop in a post about charity work. What?

So I got a typhoid vaccine in my upper right arm, and whoa, that one hurt. I couldn’t lift my arm for two days. I’m prepped for malaria and hepatitis A and traveler’s diarrhea. I’ve got bug repellant, a water purifier, sunscreen and several books to read on the almost twenty-four hour flight. Only thing missing is a magical cure for jet lag.

(If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment! SOLICITED ADVICE, AHOY!)

I’ll be gone for eight days, so I’m going to publish some of my favorite posts from my archives while I’m gone. Jon will be holding down the fort here in Utah, so right now I’m going to remind him that Leta needs to practice piano every day. And it’s okay if they eat pizza every night.

I’m a little nervous but at the same time I’m electrified by this opportunity. This is just so awesome.

See you soon!

  • kdw

    I hope you have an incredible time, and look forward to the stories you will tell! Good God, hope there’s no shooting ‘rhea.

  • Jalima

    I look forward to hearing of your travels, very exciting!

    My recipe for jet lag is to stay up all day, drinking copious amounts of wine in the eve, pop a sleeping pill and sleep in next morning. Works for me.

    Holy shit, tight security. Took me three tries to get your mangled word right 🙂

  • mollymom24

    OMG, it sounds amazing! There was a fabulous article about Christy Turlington in “More” magazine last month. Her film, “Every Woman Counts” sounds like it is brilliant and also a strong reminder to all of us that are fortunate enough to have excellent medical care, that there are others in the world not so fortunate.

    If they didn’t tell you already, pack some loperamide (Lotrimin) in case of the “shooting out the butt” stuff and whenever possible, drink bottled water instead of what you purify. It really is safer if possible but don’t get dehydrated. The fruit is really a good suggestion.

    Enjoy, absorb, stay safe and take lots of pictures!

  • jwat

    I have traveled to Asia and back probably 10 or more times. Here is what I find to be helpful. When you are on the international flight set your watch to the new time zone and try to nap as much as possible during their ‘nighttime’ if that is when you are flying. WATER, WATER, WATER! I try and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation (I am NOT Mormon) on the flight. It helps SO much. Coming back will be WORSE, always is (going west vs.east or something). The only other thing is when you feel like passing out b/c you are SO tired: STAY AWAKE and sleep when it is time to sleep. This experience will change your life and you will fall in love with this part of the world.

  • victoriasauce

    Amazing! I can’t wait to read about your experience. Have a great journey. It sounds like a huge one.

  • Maggles

    Christy Fucking Turlington? Are you fucking kidding me? Dude Jon must be freaking out. You better get in at least two pillow fights. AT LEAST.

  • blendedbaby

    Jet Lag – my method is to try and just suck it up and go to bed when it’s time to go bed in that country. Example – it might be 4am in singapore and 7pm in the UK so I’ll struggle to stay awake and sleep at say 8pm in the UK and wake up at 8am, 12 hours if good enough time to catch up on your sleep anyway. Been to the States and did the same thing with a 2 hour nap and it worked.

    Bangladesh – Never been but it’s a lot like India and well… very few escape the explosive poo, esp if you’re from a non-asian country, just pack things that help you feel better and expect to be down for a day.
    I wouldn’t give the beggers money, you’ll be in for a hellva riot. We brought pens and note pads for the kids and biscuits too.


  • lynn59

    Pulmonary/sleep Dr specialist I work for as a Triage Nurse swears by Nuvigil 150mg, 1/2 tab in a.m. Prescription only. Will keep you very alert for daytime, still able to sleep by night. Talk to your physician. Short term use can be very beneficial when traveling.
    Like the washcloth and TP suggestions too. Be prepared to squat to do your business.

  • bushwaxed

    My advice for avoiding jet lag: Trazodone. Ambien/Lunesta are addictive, so be careful not to use them more than you have to. Also, take a few days off afterwards to just reacclimate because jet lag will fuck yo head up.


  • dcgen

    The children and probably used to tourists/aid workers handing out candy, but a better substitute for regular candy (besides bubbles that someone mentioned earlier- brilliant!) is vitamin C candy, or vitamin c lollipops.

  • palmbeachflowergirl

    What an amazing opportunity. Best of luck to you, safe travels & hopefully you are able to avoid the explosive poo.
    Peace, Best Wishes & Safe Travels!!!

  • thebeerrun7

    I know others have already said this, but I think it needs to be emphasized. Get thee a scrip for Ambien for the flight if you’re arriving in the morning. A little bit of Nuvigil for morning would be great, too, if you can get a hold of it (prescribed for narcolepsy and sleep apnea fatigue). Then switch to the destination time zone on the flight to adjust your body.

    Ambien is a must for a sleep flight in coach, but if you don’t like it, use melatonin at the destination to help with bedtimes.

  • polkadotparisienne

    Hey Heather–BEST THING for jet lag … sleep on the plane as much as you can (regardless of time). Drink only water (no alcohol, coffee, tea or juice) and eat the freshest food you can–fruit, veggies, yogurt. No meat. Stuff that’s easy to digest. I bring food on the plane with me and usually don’t eat the plane food. When you get to where you’re going, don’t sleep. Jump into the day where it is and go as long as you can. And yes I totally lied when I said “thing”. Have a safe trip, look forward to hearing about it!

  • chi-town mom

    Ambien, FOR SURE, for the flight. Cipro for diarrhea, which I feel is somewhat inevitable when visiting a third world country. I have a good friend who worked in a health clinic in India for a few weeks one summer, and she said Cipro made all the difference in whether she could get on the plane to come back home.

    Charmin makes travel size toilet paper and toilet seat covers that you can find in the travel aisle of almost any drug store. I was in Africa a few years ago and found that most toilets there didn’t have toilet seats, so toilet seat covers weren’t all that helpful, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

    Take lots of notes so that you can write about your experience for us when you get back!!

  • Bright Mama

    Until getting to the second paragraph, I thought you were kidding!

    What a great adventure. Every time I have traveled overseas, I have taken bubble gum. Kids and adults LOVE it. Lifesavers, etc. any treat that travels well will convince the kids to love you and can be an easy small bit of gratitude for adults.

  • mykeep

    I was born, raised and currently live in a third world country, here are some of the tips I always offer to those brave enough to make the trek to our side of the world: Those water purifier tablets won’t work, just make sure to always drink bottled water, even when brushing your teeth and rinsing your toothbrush. Bring lots of antibacterials wipes and hand cleansing gels, mosquito repellant, evian face spray (it’s really REALLY hot in Bangladesh and this is the quickest way to cool off) and try to steer free from street food.

    The toilet paper tip in your handbag is also really good advice as public toilets almost always do not provide these.

    Have an awesome time!

  • cherechere

    one word PROBIOTICS every day!
    we went for 3 weeks – never sick.

    I will say ditto to a few other things I glimpsed that folks recommended.

    The following is what really came in handy:


    tissue – forget diarrhea you will not be traveling with that, if you get a head cold you are screwed.

    buy a case of water in any larger city you go through

    and if you do get sick drink the Limca or something like it (salty lemon lime drink) . acts like gatorade

    Advil cold and flu

    headache stuff

    pepto bismol


    bug repellent


  • HungryGrad

    1. BYO toilet paper.

    2. Pepto Bismol pills will make you literally shit a brick. I’m super regular. The one time I took it was when I was essentially peeing out my asshole every 7 minutes. It solidified everything, and I was constipated for 3 days. Then deadly poop cannonballs that could have taken out the masts of the largest ship in the Her Royal Majesty’s Navy back in the day waged war on the plumbing. The plumbing won (barely). So be careful what you take for shits; if you dunno what it’ll do to you, beware. Ginger (tea, cut up chunks cooked with rice and salt and eaten), rice+salt, and black tea are my nondrug standby remedies.

    3. And jetlag? I have found that eating really healthily and getting enough sleep and exercise beforehand pays back in spades. Also, spend daylight hours in the sun. (This may be a crackhead hippie falsehood that I’ve convinced myself into believing works, but in my head, it helps. That and caffeine.)

    Have fun! 🙂 We look forward to tales of good deeds and bowel management!

  • scosic

    Hi Heather – I live in India and have been in Bangladesh many times with no problems. Basic precautions: hand sanitizer will be your best friend, long-sleeved shirts and long pants also, mosquito repellant with at least 20% DEET, and don’t eat any raw fruit or vegetables that you haven’t peeled yourself. Drink bottled water and brush your teeth with it as well. Don’t bother with anti-malarial pills Malarone – they don’t work. Just spray your ankles or whatever exposed skin you’ll show, and you’ll be fine. It’s the monsoon season now, so make sure your footwear is appropriate, although I doubt you’ll be walking around much. If in Dhaka, you’ll be sitting in traffic a lot! All the best.

  • BBB17

    Awesome! What an adventure.

    I am still recovering from our Delhi adventure more than 1.5 years ago, however… The culture shock cannot be avoided. It has been my most treasured study in gender relations to date….

    Healthwise, two things: 1) DO NOT even open your mouth in the shower or expose your lady parts, because 2) I got the world’s worst kidney infection there and thought I might die (hematuria, anyone? look that up). Cipro/Z-pak is a handy thing for the travel bag. On the bright side, I did recover even after a trip to a roadside gas station in the nation’s capitol (you cannot imagine this scene even if you try to envision your worst nightmare times one trillion).

    Now go have some fun!!

  • Cconaway

    Ambien has been my friend for all trips over 6 hours. I’ve never been groggy, probably b/c I feel like the princess and the pea for the entire flight. I second taking wipes, they will be your friend as well as a small packets of Kleenex. One thing that I quickly realized that in many underdeveloped countries is that often times there are no lights at night. I small key chain flashlight has kept me from running face first into a wall.

    I don’t know if I agree with the fruit comment. If the weather is warm, cooked foods only, I swear, you will thank me as will your behind. But just in case, some Immodium and an antibiotic for everything than can go wrong below the neck. And last, but not least, my favorite and what I tend to bathe in when traveling, HAND SANITIZER.

    This will be a life changer for you and affect how you view the world and everything around you when you come back.

  • bschaefermann

    This is going to change a lot and makes me kind of sad, because reading 10+ years, I like your view as it is – generous, funny, relatively unguarded, and beautifully, brashly American.

    As has been said, this trip will reshape you: you just can’t go back to the person you were before. Pre-trip it’s all academic; post-trip it’s real.

    There’s not a lot more to add to what has already been said – bottled water always, candy or gum for others, crackers for yourself, sunscreen.

    I like that you are doing this and am looking forward to the photos and stories.

  • Alejandra Fimbres

    Don’t forget a first-aid kit:

    You may go to some clinics but you may still be prepared with your own aspirin, tylenol, tums and pepto-bismol. Just in case!

    Have an amazing trip!

  • rbahar

    you’ll love bangladesh, or hate it…one or the other. I’ve been living in Dhaka since Feb. and I’m firmly on the side of Love! I’m not sure where in the country you’ll be traveling, but bottled water is readily available, as are wash cloths (someone commented that you should bring one since they’re not widely available in asia, but they’re sold on the street here).
    Yes, the poverty may break your heart a little, and make you cry, but then a child will smile at you and it will all be ok. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE will stare at you, just remember, they’re not being rude, you’re just the most exciting thing they’ve seen in a very long time, they want to remember everything about you so they can tell their friends.
    I hope you love it! and if you need a place to crash in Dhaka, look me up, i’ve got a guest bed and I know where the good coffee lives.

  • rbahar

    you’ll love bangladesh, or hate it…one or the other. I’ve been living in Dhaka since Feb. and I’m firmly on the side of Love! I’m not sure where in the country you’ll be traveling, but bottled water is readily available, as are wash cloths (someone commented that you should bring one since they’re not widely available in asia, but they’re sold on the street here).
    Yes, the poverty may break your heart a little, and make you cry, but then a child will smile at you and it will all be ok. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE will stare at you, just remember, they’re not being rude, you’re just the most exciting thing they’ve seen in a very long time, they want to remember everything about you so they can tell their friends.
    I hope you love it! and if you need a place to crash in Dhaka, look me up, i’ve got a guest bed and I know where the good coffee lives.

  • Wrin

    Please, please, please…

    don’t turn this into a Poverty Porn photothread once you come back. Have some respect for the people you photograph. Ask their permission. Treat them like humans. Garnering support does not necessarily mean that you have to exploit their privacy as people with faces in order to try and spur people to help them.

    Much as I know, (I know, I know) that your heart is in the right place, please try to understand that these are human beings. I imagine and hope that you will come back changed. I think, for the better.

    Please do some googling on “poverty porn” if you don’t know what I mean.

    Much hope!

  • schiro

    Ah, Dooce, you asked for advice about jetlag but now you’re getting it all.

    Already mentioned but strongly seconded:
    Melatonin for jetlag, diarrhea medication (suppository form (!) or charcoal pills also good), powdered energy drinks (particularly those with potassium), protein bars, hand gel, face wipes, mosquito repellent, allergy meds.

    Tissues/toilet paper fine but you can buy when you arrive or steal from the hotel. My husband hides the rolls so the maids leave more and he has a little stockpile in case of emergency.

    Not mentioned (yet, as I saw):

    MEDICAL: Iodine (basically put on any broken skin can combat infection and fungus), ibuprofen is my personal favorite travel pain killer because it reduces swelling.

    JET LAG: Exercise in the morning to combat jet lag (seriously, get those endorphins pumping and they will help you to regulate your sleep). I presume you and Christy will stay at a decent hotel with a gym? Or improvise.

    FEET and SHOES: compression socks for long flight (less foot pain from walking once you arrive if no swelling during the flight, also good for long walks in hot climates). Three pairs of shoes: two pairs of walking shoes (because you should alternate them), and some nicer sandals that are easily packable for timeoff/evenings (give your feet a break and ideally some air). Blister treatments (not just bandaids), and socks, lots of good wicking-away-sweat socks.

    OTHER CLOTHES: check the label, if it’s not a natural fiber don’t bring it. (The only exception I can think of maybe like a dry-fit pant – the kind that convert from long shorts to pants – sounds uber-dorky but unbelieveably practical and not all bad-looking, actually.) You’ll need to stay somewhat covered because they are Muslims (past the knee and elbow). Bring a big pashmina-like shawl in a lighter color – good for covering up in emergencies, providing shade, doubling as a towel or blanket, and is light to carry around.

    MAKEUP: Waterproof mascara – don’t bother with other makeup due to the humidity (I like Estee Lauder double wear – get it at duty free on the way out). Maybe lipgloss for photos and evenings. (Another duty free purchase? I really like the mini Clinique tubes.)

    PACKING: Don’t load yourself down with all of this crap LOL! It ends up being 1/2 your bag if you’re not careful. I recommend using heavy duty zip-top ziploc bags for organizing (one for food and one for meds/cosmetics/bottles). Take the pills out of the boxes, wrap the instructions around with a rubber band. (Learned the lesson about not being sure of the dosage the wrong way!)

    The humidity will kill you – I just checked, compare 34% in Utah with 95% in Dhaka. Not much you can do about that, though, except talcum powder for the chafing 🙂

    Crikeys that’s a lot of advice.

    Have fun!

  • MoxieMichi

    Wow, what an opportunity. Good luck and enjoy!

  • desTanzes

    Great jet lag trick:

    drink a cup of coffee, then take a nap. You get some rest and wake up 30 mins later buzzin with caffeine rather than sleeping for 5 more hours!

    Also, I would suggest sleeping as much on the plane as possible, regardless of your arrival time, and drinking lots of water too (not that plane-wine is actually turn-down-able, but I do think water is the smarter choice). It’s all about showin some love to that poor bod of yours that you are puttin through the paces hardcore!

    Good luck lady!

  • StaceFace

    I would take some probiotics everyday before you leave and everyday that you are on the trip. Not necessarily for jet lag, but definitely in preparation for the diarrhea that I hope you don’t get!

  • velvetjones01

    First: NO LARIUM. I cannot be more emphatic. The side effects are “psychological” I think that’s all anyone needs to know.

    I’ve traveled India a number of times, and helpful things to bring are packets of culturelle (take daily it’s better for you than pepto), a thermometer (jet lag and dehydration play tricks on your body, if you get a fever, it’s time to get help, otherwise you can power through whatever GI drama you’ll get), emergen-c, kleenex & tp, purell wipes (you want to wipe that stuff off, not move it around your hands), baby wipes, a salty snack to eat in case you get dehydrated, an essential oil or oil blend you enjoy, put a few drops on your scarf to get you through smelly rough patches (there will be plenty), oh and benadryl (if it makes you sleepy, then it’s really the only sleep aid you need plus it’s handy if you have a reaction to something).

    Jet lag? Don’t nap, get plenty of sun (on the back of your knees if you can), eat meals regularly and if you can, GET MASSAGES DAILY. I’m not joking. First thing in the morning, then go eat breakfast.

  • Puanani Leal

    Tylenol PM has worked for me. Take one on the plane, drink tons of water. Take another the first night and you should be golden. It is true, it can seem overwhelming, but try not to look with your American eyes. Look with your heart and you will see so much devotion…Oh, by the way, totally had the shooting out the butt poop when I first moved to India. Not fun, especially when the vomit is shooting out the other end. Eat wisely at first, simply. Once acclimated, I ate anything I wanted.

  • FL-German Girl

    OK, I am new here – as a member – but been reading your blog for some time – really enjoy it, by the way!!
    Wanted to add some advice for jet lag – I fly pretty regularly between Germany and the States and have a bit of experience with this!! (and all the comments recommending various medications and alcohol or caffeine scared me!!!))
    the best thing is to get plenty of rest before you leave, AVOID alcohol and caffeine during the flight (and just before and after, as well)
    during the flight, drink plenty or water and orange juice – vitamin c!!!
    if possible, get some sleep on the plane, or relax with a good book – too much TV will give you a headache!!!
    when you arrive, do what is normal for the current time – i.e. if it is night, go straight to bed, if it is morning, eat breakfast and start the day
    go to sleep at a decent hour the first night
    dont be surprised if you wake up really early the first day – you should adjust quickly!!!
    and have an awesome time!!! sure it will be a wonderful experience!!!

  • Lilybett

    If you’re arriving in the day time, sleep on the plane and then get outside and walk around in the sun when you arrive (even if it feels like the ground is rising up to meet you). The sunshine/daylight’ll help start shifting your bodyclock.

    Before you go, check what the local time is where you’re going and then start adjusting 24 hours before you leave or at least a ssoon as you get on the plane. Don’t just blindly follow the blanket over the canary tricks of the flight attendants as they’re not always working to the schedule you need. Don’t feel you have to sleep because they turn off the lights and make you put down the shades. If you want to sleep, you can ask them not to wake you when they serve meals.

  • mjreinsel

    Having been to Bangladesh myself, I can assure you that it will be life changing. I used to work in humanitarian relief, and now work in international maternal and child health, and even I was shocked when I went there.

    You probably won’t need the water filter – you can buy clean bottled water anywhere, and you will be contributing to the local economy that way (yes, also to trash, but 150 million people – your trash is a drop in the bucket).

    Please don’t bring tchockes for the kids or candy or any crap to hand out like that. It is really demeaning, and it reinforces the view of foreigners as dollar signs (especially for the kids, who in many countries have been trained to run up to foreigners shouting “school pen! Candy!”).

    I hope that you will be able to use your voice to raise awareness about maternal and neonatal health around the world. The more people who understand what women in low-resource countries face, the better able we will be to reduce the needless deaths of women and children.

    Good luck, and relax. You’ve been to foreign countries before. Sure, this will be very different in many ways, but it is also a place where people live, work, and have families just like anywhere else. It isn’t Mars.

    Oh, and please take your malaria meds. Malaria SUCKS. Way worse than the weird dreams.

  • mjreinsel

    And, I agree 100% with Wrin about the “poverty porn” business. Ugh. It is disgusting how people think nothing of posting pictures of children from low-resource countries without their parent’s permission, when we would never conceive of doing that here. Ugh.

    Also, you really won’t need a lot of crap, so 8-6 the heavy med kit. Take some ginger tea. Everything else you can get there (plus, you will be with Christy Turlington – you think that they let her go anywhere without supplies?). When I travel to these countries, I take clothes, toiletries, make-up, ginger tea, malaria meds, Cipro, books, and a camera. I’ve never once (in 36 low-resource countries, including the DR Congo) needed a first aid kit. And I’m a klutz. Also, Immodium is the worst thing for diarrhea. You’ll never feel sicker.

  • christineanela

    Wowwww! I am insanely jealous of you for having this opportunity. I went on a trip to Africa when I was in high school to work at an orphanage, and it absolutely changed my life. Even 10 years later, I still remember that trip so much! I can’t wait to hear about your time in Bangladesh. What an incredible experience 🙂

  • smodan

    Ambien and melatonin are great, but something homeopathic that works TERRIFICLY is “No Jet Lag” – You can get it at a health food store. Use is every time I travel overseas, as that shit throws me for a big ole loop.

  • fraukuech

    About 2 years ago, my husband and I didn’t register for wedding gifts but, instead, asked people to help us get to Bangladesh. We had some friends who were in the process of opening a business in Dhaka with plans to provide employment, job training, and encouragement.

    Anyway, my husband had been there many times, it was my first trip. And, yeah, I wasn’t prepared for what I would see. It was really overwhelming and, finally, I found myself crying and asking him what I was supposed to do with all this weighing on my heart. You can’t help everyone. You can’t even give a few taka to the beggar children who knock on the windows of your taxi, because then you’ll attract a huge crowd of people. And he told me that, by (both physically and monetarily) helping the people who have dedicated their lives to helping the people of Bangladesh, we are making a difference.

    Anyway, yeah, the intense poverty was hard to see and my perspective of life is ever changed because of my visit. In fact, I’m seriously jealous of you and SO wish I could go with you! I’ve been dreaming of going back since the day I left.

    Some things to know:
    -People WILL stare at you. I have friends over there that say that for Bengalis, staring is a national pastime. They’re not taught to not stare like we are.
    -Do NOT give anyone a “thumbs-up.” That’s basically like flipping them off.
    -Visit the Home of Love orphanage in Chittagong, if you can. The children that live there are the sweetest I have ever met.
    -Wear your scarf.
    -I don’t think you’ll be flying coach, but if you do, do NOT fly Air India. It’s like sitting on a piece of plywood covered in thin batting…for twelve hours. The Bollywood movies make it bearable, though.
    -Don’t give money to beggars. It’s hard not to, but don’t. You’ll attract a crowd, and that can be dangerous. Instead, give your money to a legit organization who helps those people.
    -Bring your camera and take a TON of photos. Many Bengalis LOVE to have their photo taken.
    -Ride in a rickshaw.
    -Bring clinical strength deodorant. And prepare to sweat through it. It it HOT

    The Home of Love
    Street Children

  • jlovely

    Wow, so excited for you!! I just got back from India this past March and it was an amazing trip. Definitely eye opening and shocking at times but still a beautiful country. As for jet lag? If you’re landing at night….stay awake as much as you can on the flight. If you’re landing in the morning? Sleep the whole flight.

    As for getting sick? Luckily I didn’t get sick at all but I followed the advice from friends that have been there….

    – do NOT drink the water or anything washed in the water. brush your teeth with bottled water. However, many tourist hotels do filter their water so that is OK to drink if they say it is.
    – ONLY eat fruit that you can peel the skin off. Don’t eat strawberries, etc that you eat the outer layer.
    – street food? steer clear. especially if you’re only there for 8 days. If I was there longer I would have attempted it.
    – enjoy every second of the trip!

    It was definitely one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Fell in love with the people, the culture, the country, etc. If I could, I’d go back tomorrow.

    ** oh yes…and be prepared to be stared at…a LOT! Caucasians don’t normally wander those parts so staring is just what the locals do. Also be prepared to have your picture taken. Weird at first but we got over it after awhile!

  • panama_jill

    What an awesome opportunity! Have a safe trip!

    I won’t repeat the great advice I’ve already read in previous comments, but seriously: be careful what you drink. Not even ice. I went to the Phillipines and stayed at a hotel and specifically asked if the ice was filtered and they said yes. My sister had diarrhea for the next two days straight. =/

    I’d also bring activated charcoal. Works wonders.

  • renata_armindo

    UAU!! Sounds really incredible, Heather!! Amazing oportunity, this is something I would love to do, specially with an entourage, so that I wouldn’t get lost or robbed. 😉

    I live in Brazil and I think I wouldn’t be prepared for this trip, so I’d say it will certainly be life changing for you.
    I’m very much looking forward to you coming back and reporting all the details to us.

    By the way, there are vaccines for Hepatitis A, didn’t you take it?!?! As for the diarrhea, if you drink bottled water and stay away from suspicious food, you should be fine. But GOD – you’re traveling with Christy Turlinton, OF COURSE they’ll have clean food and water for you!!

    Sure take the baby wipes and small packages of kleenex to serve as toilet paper.

    Enjoy, suck it all in, and come back soon to tell us about it!

  • AlisonV

    I just want to echo about the Larium. When I went into the Peace Corps, I expressed concern over the Larium since I’d had a slight depressive/anxious episode. They told me it would be fine, I took it, and immediately had side effects, which culminated in full-blown Larium-lunacy (as someone above said) episode. At the time, I thought I was going crazy, and I was briefly suicidal. Take the daily antibiotic malaria meds if you have to take anything at all. It’s just not worth it when there are options.

  • kturney

    This sounds like a pretty amazing experience. I look forward to seeing how you put this trip into words…and into pictures for the things that you will be unable to communicate any other way. Cheerful thoughts for easy travel.

  • lemoga

    This sounds absolutely amazing. What a life-changing trip. I flew to Nigeria this last January and holy jet lag! I tried Ambien (on the way there) and OTC melatonin on the way back and I favored the melatonin. I kept the Ambien for kicks at home.

    Travel safe. And enjoy.

  • lemoga

    Oh yes! Wet wipes are a lifesaver! They come in VERY handy in places with no toilet paper available. Also- energy powder packets and hand sanitizer are musts.

  • gitana


  • gogirl11

    Sounds amazing! I just returned from my very first trip abroad… To battle my jet lag, I mostly went with a lot of coffee. I was also quite high on life over seeing a part of the world I’d always wanted to see, which kept my energy levels high. My yoga practice helped too. Do make sure you stay hydrated during the flights, and have no shame about getting up to walk around and stretch your legs. Have a wonderful time and travel safe! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • But I Do Have a Law Degree

    Have a fabulous trip! And use bottled water to brush your teeth. I learned this the hard way.

  • MollyCT

    I recently went to Haiti, and I can totally see why Christy Turlington wants you to GO to Bangladesh clinics if you’re interested in them. It’s so scary to make that leap to go to such a foreign place, but once you go, all you focus on is how much we are the same instead of how much we are different. And then you get hooked on justice for all of us, and it’s impossible to be cynical. I remember a lot of people telling me, oh it’ll be intense, oh, it’ll be a life changer (I’d never been to a developing country before), but you know, it wasn’t so mind-boggling as all that. It just opened my world, big time. It wasn’t some Eat Pray Love cathartic experience. In a place TV tells us is all poverty all the time, I found so much beauty, inspiring, wonderful people, so much to love. And when I came back, I noticed everything about how materially easy and wealthy our lives are, but I also understood a lot more about the way global inequality *makes* it so, and instead of wallowing in first-world guilt I longed for a deeper awareness of these realities and a deeper commitment to giving a shit.

    Also, side note: I freaked out about wanting to raise money for this one guy I met there (long story), but I couldn’t do it. Then I heard someone else blogged about the work he was doing there. Then, a corporation caught wind of it. And *they* invested more money in making Haiti a better place than I could ever have done on my own in a hundred lifetimes. Point being, I learned there are ways to use my powers here to direct the powers that be to the right places. Not to just make it about individuals on their own.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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