Monthly Archives: August 2013

Drawn To Pathfinders #1

I used to do little drawings on post it generic yellow square sticky notes, and they make me happy. I didn’t pack any of those, so index cards will have to do instead…

Presenting: Drawn To Pathfinders #1

 Cambodia is very hot and humid, so I normally wear this: 
Bandana (for sweat), smile, Tshirt, shorts (cargo), Boots
This means at the end of the day, I look like this: 
tan/burnt (depending on the day), Visible tan lines, modesty shorts, This pale

Cambodia is very hot and humid, so I normally wear this:
Bandana (for sweat), smile, Tshirt, shorts (cargo), Boots
This means at the end of the day, I look like this:
tan/burnt (depending on the day), Visible tan lines, modesty shorts, This pale

First sickness (pt. 1)


It happened…

I was the first of our group, and I’m sure not the last…

That is right, I got Traveler’s Diarrhea.


Now, for those who don’t know about this illness, Traveler’s Diarrhea (also known as Montezuma’s Revenge, Delhi Belly, and my personal favorite Turkey Trots) is a common ailment, the most common reported among international travelers. An estimated 10 Million people (between 20-50% of international travelers) suffer through this ailment every year.

And suffer they do….

The main symptom of Traveler’s Diarrhea is, you guessed it, severe diarrhea. As a medical condition, diarrhea is defined by having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day….

Now, I was quite a but more frequent than that, and it was not pleasant.

My studies taught me that the word diarrhea comes from from the Greek διάρροια, δια dia meaning “through” and ρέω rheo meaning “flow”, combined meaning “flowing through”. This is so very accurate to what my condition was.

Anyway, back to symptoms: Mayo Clinic lists the common symptoms as:

    Abrupt onset of passage of three or more loose stools a day [Check]
    An urgent need to defecate [Check]
    Abdominal cramps [Check, but with that much defecation, it is inevitable]
    Nausea [not really]
    Vomiting [some, but only after I had a Pineapple Fanta.... It wasn't actually that bad]
    Fever [none]

Now, I’m sure you will now ask, “Ben, if you weren’t feeling well, why did you have a Pineapple Fanta?”

Now, at the time, I thought I had just gotten too much sun/ low blood sugar, and I assumed that my craving for a citrus soda was it telling me I needed it.

I didn’t….

Anyway, back to diarrhea… (Not literally though)

Traveler’s Diarrhea is generally resolved after a few days, without medical intervention. Now, due to the specifics of my case, I elected to take a 3 day corse of antibiotics, but that wasn’t “necessary”, just well worth it.
In cases of Traveler’s Diarrhea, the most important thing is to keep taking in fluids (even as you keep losing them) and to attempt food when you can. In more severe cases, a Oral Rehydration Solution may be necessary. This is a drink usually made from a packet (there are several brands available) that replaces some of the other substances lot during diarrhea (salts, sugars, minerals, ect.). That being said, one can also mix a good version by mixing 2 tablespoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt into a quart of water.

Now, the next part of this post will go into the microbes responsible for this disease…..
Stay tuned!
-Ben (Currently in Siam Reap, Cambodia

Jet Lag in cambodia

I’m here in Cambodia, an it is currently 3:26 AM local time. Which means it is 3:26 PM in LA where I spent the better part of a month training for this project, and 1:26 PM in Minnesota, where I was born and raised….
Now, I have traveled in the states quite a bit, but this is the first time I have traveled abroad…. And so I’m feeling some jet lag. Now, some of this may be exhaustion from the 27 hours we were on planes/in airports, but this doesn’t feel like exhaustion… It feels like my body is disconnected from my brain, which is still blazing…

But, luckily, I have someone to blame for this… Well, actually lots of people. I’m blaming the people who came up with flight. Without them, we would never have to face the discomfort that is jet lag….
Sure, we would also have a much longer travel time, our roads would be more crowded, and don’t even think about the ways that flight has benefited medicine (medical evacuations anyone?) and society as a whole. But at least I would be asleep right now, instead of writing this at 3:35 AM in Cambodia.

Now that I think about it, I am kinda tired….
If you want to learn more about the history of human flight, here is a good place to start, and if you don’t, here is a picture of the anatomy of a narwhal…


Be safe, and make good choices!
-Ben (currently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Thoughts Aboard Our First Plane Ride

For the first time in our trip, I began to confront the privilege I normally have.
In this case, it was the privilege of language, or the native tongue privilege. While flying to South Korea for our first group layover before Cambodia, the primary language was not English. The primary language on the instructions and menu and that the flight staff speak is not English….. And that is a new experience to me.
That is not to say I haven’t been to restaurants or had other experiences a where there wasn’t English on the menu… I have.
But now, and for the next year of my life, it is a constant struggle, and will be in many, if not most aspects of my life.
Anyway, that’s just a brief blip of a blog…. Expect more on issues similar to these, as they are an important part of how I experience the trip, as well as my growth from this experience.