When Things go to Sh*t- Colombia edition

I get it! I really do! Travelling to a new country is scary with kids. You don't know the language or culture or where the nearest doctor is, or if the food is safe for your kids to eat, if your kids can handle the itinerary and not become exhausted or sick…or sick with exhaustion & exhausted of being sick!

Little wonder that many families opt to play it safe and go to a resort, cruises or stay closer to home. At least, you can get the comforts of home.

Our eldest did get sick with a stomach bug; our baby projectile vomited in the car due to motion sickness while our tour guide, Luis, was zipping through snake-like mountain passes near Medellin. And of course trying to talk to a local paediatric clinic with our broken Spanish and their non-existent English was,

no bueno.

Can you feel the heat radiating off of this picture?

Can you feel the heat radiating off of this picture?

After Medellin, came the heat & humidity of Cartagena and the Caribbean coast of Colombia as a whole. We had clearly underestimated the level of heat as most days the thermostat was above 40 degree Celsius (inching closer to 45, really), ensuring that your skin would burn and you’d be blanketed in sweat within 10 mins of being outside. But, I did lose more of my post-partum pounds through sweating though  

So the fear of kids vomiting in the car, the sticky heat and endless bug bites, led us to cancel our planned trip to Tayrona National Park in the North-West of Colombia. And sadly, there went our plans to stay in an eco-lodge in the forest, a different kind of adventure that I had been looking forward to. The drive from Cartagena to Yuluka Eco-Lodge would be about 4.5hrs, but that did not include stopping for food (which we planned to do in Barranquilla) or stopping to deal with poopy diaper and pukes. The drive there could’ve easily taken 7hrs in total!

Moreover, Tayrona is located in the Yellow Fever zone, for which we would’ve needed to get vaccinations, and pay for them in Colombia. And alarmingly, we wouldn’t be able to vaccinate our youngest child against this deadly mosquito-borne illness, as the vaccines aren’t recommended for under a year old. I also would not be able to breastfeed after getting my yellow fever vaccine, a mothering task that I haven’t weaned off of yet.

 As much as we wanted to be real and be daring with our kids- we realized that even our kids had their limits. We couldn’t put our kids through misery & suffering, just so we could get off on adventure. With young kids, you can’t always risk it. For their sake, you have to temper your impulses.

We ended up flying to the island of San Andres instead with its unspoiled beauty. Which in itself ended up being adventurous due to our rural, local, accommodations.


can you feel the heat coming off of the picture? This is at Castillo San Felipe Barajas, Cartagena. 


Still recovering from motion sickness & exhausted from all the excitement.  


Inside of our accommodations at San Andres. Trust me, it’s far dustier inside with broken floors & bugs everywhere.  

Travel Season is Here: Please Vaccinate Your Kids


The title says it all really! I am and always have been a HUGE proponent in scientific facts. Scientific advances, more than anything else, have allowed us to live longer, healthier and with access to clean water and nutritious food.

A major part of the reason why we are living longer and with healthier lives is due to vaccinations. We are now able to have immunity against common yet dangerous illnesses such as polio, measles, small pox, whooping cough, tetanus, diptheria, Hep A, typhoid, mumps, rubella, influenza, Hep B, Hep C, malaria, dengue, yellow fever, pneumococcal, rotavirus…and these are just a few that I have come up with.

And believe me, there have been reported deaths. All from these illnesses.

Any of these illnesses would have killed vast numbers of children (and even adults) before the 1960’s or leave one with permanent disabilities including physical impairments, deafness and blindness.

In fact, during 1951-1954, an average of 16,316 paralytic polio cases and 1879 deaths from polio were reported each year. Meaning thousands of people would be left paralyzed due to polio, exacting a huge medical, physical, mental and societal toll.

Ask your grandparents, they likely knew people who had died or were severely affected by any number of the vaccine-preventable illnesses I mentioned above. Now think about it, how many people do you now know who are left scarred by these illnesses? You have vaccines to thank for that.

Despite or because of the public health victories due to vaccines,  we are now seeing measles return in larger numbers. And part of the reason it’s happening is due to vaccine-hesitancy and high-speed travel, causing un-vaccinated people contracting and spreading the illnesses from one corner of the world to another, in a matter of hours.

So Please vaccinate your children. They are the ones most likely to get severely ill or die, due to these vaccine-preventable illnesses. If you had a surefire way to ensure your children can live into their old age and be healthy, why wouldn’t you do it?

When you are travelling this year, you can prep your family and protect them in the following ways. This will ensure that you don’t spend your precious vacay-time sick, or in the hospital and incurring HUGHE financial cost:

  • Meet your family doctor or paediatrician. You can get prescriptions for travellers vaccines such as Typhoid (gotten from drinking or eating food made with untreated water). They can also administer the vaccine for free or a minimal cost.

  • Your pharmacist can also administer many travellers vaccines. There may be an extra cost, just ask.

  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine can be given to babies as young as 6months. Highly recommend as measles have cropped up in many countries. I have done this with both my kids and they are healthy, happy, and are not on Autism Spectrum (in case you were wondering).

  • Check your immunization card and see if you need booster shots. For Tetanus, you need a booster shot every 10 years.

  • A lot of workplace and private insurance cover the cost of getting these vaccines which are not part of your state or province’s regular immunization program

And for god’s sakes, please get your information from resources such as Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Public Health Agency of Canada. All of these direct links provide detailed and easy-to-understand info on vaccines, what they are made of and how they work to provide protection 

No, the former model with NO medical experience or training, Jenny McCarthy, is NOT a reliable source for life-preserving health information. Neither is that Facebook “vaccine choice” group.