How Netflix’s Tiger King reveals just how messed up wildlife tourism has become


Guys, I’m deep into the viral docuseries Tiger King on Netflix, and my god, what a dreadful yet unmissable look at the worst (or unluckiest?) of humanity in rural America.

It’s like a car crash, and I just can’t tear my eyes away. I’m enthralled yet horrified, obsessed, and disgusted. The plot twists, the surprises, the frightening real glimpses of human truths, holy shit!

With a tagline of murder, mayhem, and madness, Tiger King follows the storyline of Joe Exotic, a zoo owner in bumfuck, Oklahoma, with a narrative arc that spirals out of control in a true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.

Buckle up.

View this post on Instagram

Where’s the lie? #tigerking #joeexotic #carolebaskin #netflix #quarantine #covid_19 #socialdistancing #socialdistance #tigerkingmemes

A post shared by Erika Kelly (@cattybritches) on Mar 23, 2020 at 3:22pm PDT

There are gun-loving gay cowboys with mullets. The cults. The polygamy. The loss of limbs and teeth. Inbred tigers, ligers, and illegal lemurs. Excessive dynamite and guns lovingly adorned with pink camo.

Accidental suicide and haphazard murder plots. Flower crowns. So much leopard print. Failed grassroots governor elections. Expired Walmart meat pizzas. Hillbillies and their homemade country music videos featuring fat tigers.

Missing husbands. Meth and sequins. Florida. I can’t even.

Honestly, this show is batshit insane. AND IT’S REAL.

View this post on Instagram

The truth has yet to come out. So don't believe everything you hear.

A post shared by Joe Exotic (@joe_exotic) on Sep 7, 2018 at 3:14pm PDT

But what makes me sad about the train wreck human drama of this docu-series is that the stars, the tigers, are all but forgotten.

Did you know there are more captive tigers in the US than in the wild? How is breeding tigers in your redneck backyard still allowed? How are these pretend “wildlife sanctuaries” still allowed? And for god’s sake, how is Carole Baskin not in jail for murder/fraud/animal abuse and/or all of the above?

And yet no matter how vile it gets, how can I STILL feel compassion for these horrible people who put baby tigers in suitcases and carry guns around like candy?

View this post on Instagram

Visit us by making reservations at MyrtleBeachSafari.com Link In Bio 🐯🙈♥️ #repost • @mimicalacool Best…..day….EVER!!!!! @myrtlebeachsafari & @docantle at @myrtlebeachsafaritours have the most incredible experience ever! It’s a bucket list item that I’d suggest to the world! @rarespeciesfund is doing amazing work to help save these tigers! Blessed to have learned more about these incredible creatures! #savethetigers #blessed #grateful #myrtlebeachsafari 💙🐅

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Mar 14, 2020 at 2:49pm PDT

Disguised behind the most insane group of characters you’ve ever laid eyes on, Tiger King shines a light on the whole heap of uncomfortable truths.

Last year National Geographic broke a significant feature that there are more tigers in private zoos and as pets in the USA than in the wild. What the hell?!

That has to stop now. Totally unacceptable for many reasons, one primary being that your neighbor might have a lion in his garage that could escape and eat you, the other major one being that lions belong in Africa, not rural Ohio, and tigers belong in India not fucking Oklahoma.

(sorry, this makes me absolutely livid)

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

These huge apex predators need massive amounts of territory and belong in the wild. Of course, that opens a whole other wormhole of issues from habitat loss to revenge killings to food loss, but that is where the bulk of conservation work should be focused.

You don’t need big cat sanctuaries in America if people aren’t allowed to have big cats as pets that end up needing “rescuing.”

The other main point is that real conservation doesn’t allow human interaction with animals. No yanking newborn tiger cubs from their moms to pose for selfies. No swimming with huge elephants. No cuddling drugged tigers for your new Tinder pic.

Big cats and endangered species belong in the wild or proper conservation centers without human interaction, period.

Going to Southeast Asia? Please be kind and don’t ride elephants

View this post on Instagram

Tap the link in our bio for more info about how to make reservations! 🐯♥️ #repost @miss_snapalots ・・・ 27 🎈 Thank you @myrtlebeachsafari for once in a lifetime experience! 💚 It’s so amazing what you all do! Please go follow and help save these rare species! @rarespeciesfund #savethetigersavetheworld

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Aug 29, 2019 at 6:40am PDT

 

What’s more, I’m appalled at how many massive profiles on social media feature guys and their exotic pets. Instagram, why do you allow this kind of content? Unethical wildlife breeding and captive endangered species bred for photos, and profit are wrong. And it’s illegal. Almost every one of these profiles has faced criminal charges and received abuse warnings.

These zoos and rescue centers give the impression they are for conservation when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s important to question that when you see unethical wildlife practices.

Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

View this post on Instagram

3 of the 4 different color varieties of tigers! Come meet these tiger cubs by tapping the link in our bio to make reservations! 🐯🧡

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Sep 14, 2019 at 3:38pm PDT

For example, you can pay thousands of dollars to swim with a tiger or for a “volunteer” experience. Seriously? Your tiger selfies aren’t volunteering.

Where does that money go? Where do the profits from these sanctuaries go? How are they using the money they make from breeding and using tigers to fund wildlife conservation? How do they have so many baby tigers all the time? Why aren’t they with their mothers?

Baby tigers become useless in captivity after only 12 weeks because they’ve become too big and too dangerous to interact with people. After that, they usually just disappear.

Not a single one of these conservation tigers bred in America has ever been released back into the world. How could they when they’re raised and hand-fed by humans?

View this post on Instagram

@loganpaul helping us spread the message….Save The Tiger, Save The World❗️🐯 The tiger stands as the last great sentinel of the forest, if we lose the tiger we will lose a piece of ourselves forever. But if we save the Tiger we could save the world, in order for the tiger to survive it needs clean clear skies, pristine lakes and rivers, wide open spaces, plentiful prey animals, and most importantly it needs you, people who care! Therefore if we save the Tiger, we save the world.

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Feb 4, 2020 at 8:22am PST

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching part for me is seeing photos of white tigers.

These white tigers are incredibly inbred, almost all are from the same white Bengal tiger that was sold into the US in the 1960s from India. There is no conservation reason to breed white tigers, why would you breed for a recessive gene like that if you were trying to save a population of endangered animals like? Your focus would be on genetic diversity.

These white tigers are purely bred for their beauty; even though most of them have so many inbred defects, they would have no hope of surviving in the wild. It’s just cruel.

Can someone please tell me how it’s ethical or moral to breed a lion with a tiger and then put it on a leash and keep it a cage so you can make money?

View this post on Instagram

Tap the link in our bio to meet this incredible tiger cub animal ambassadors! 🐯♥️ #repost • @charlestonblonde 😍 Y’all can you even handle the cuteness? I’ve had so many questions about our time at @myrtlebeachsafari that I decided to write an entire blog post about it. Check it out. The link is in my bio.

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Mar 10, 2020 at 3:06pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

I just had my 60th birthday. I wanted to come hang out with one of my favorite big cats, Apollo here is only five years old and already weighs over 900 pounds and stands 11.5 feet tall on his hind legs. When I asked my partner Moksha what her favorite thing she learned about ligers over the last 20 years of hanging out she said “he’s bilingual as he speaks both lion and tiger” She doesn’t look 40 does she. The world largest cat. Over 900 lbs and 11.5 ft tall.

A post shared by Dr. Bhagavan Antle (@docantle) on Mar 25, 2020 at 5:22am PDT

What’s sad is that this isn’t unique to America. Lions are bred for slaughter on canned hunting farms in South Africa, and China has a massive market for tiger parts (among all others) for traditional medicine and food. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

With many of these for-profit private zoos and exotic animal pet owners on Instagram masquerading as “conservation” projects, it’s never been more important to question where you chose to spend your tourism dollars.

Travelers love animals, me included, but it’s imperative to follow a few guidelines for responsibly interacting with wildlife.

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

At the end of the day, we have the power as consumers to stand up and say exploiting wildlife and endangered species is wrong. Dig deep and do your research before going to any of these places and have a thorough look around when you’re there. Does it look suitable for the animals?

Beware of buzzwords like “gives back to conservation,” sanctuary,” and “rescue.” Is the animal interacting in a way that isn’t normal? Has it been trained? Most of these training methods are based on fear and are cruel.

My god, imagine the impact it would have if all of the profits and expenses from exploiting exotic animals went towards conservation projects, what a difference that would make.

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

Listen, I get it. I would fucking love to cuddle a baby tiger. Their squeaks are so cute, and I know it’s super unique. But it’s not right. Those tigers don’t belong on my Instagram or in my arms.

One day I’ll follow in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling to India and hopefully get to track wild tigers on safari in their natural habitat. But I will only do that in the most responsible way I can.

I’ve tracked leopards in Sri Lanka, lions in Botswana, cheetahs in South Africa, and elephants just about everywhere. It’s a real privilege that I’ve been able to go to these places, something I don’t ever take advantage of or forget.

It’s powerful and so special to see majestic, iconic creatures in the wild, where they belong. There is something so profoundly sad and degrading to such a mighty animal reduced to misery for the enjoyment of humans.

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

The second disturbing truth brought to light from Tiger King was just how disconnected I am from my American siblings.

I grew up in rural Virginia, about 15 minutes from West Virginia, so I am far from inexperienced when it comes to Trump-loving, gun-toting, uneducated rednecks. But this show was next level sad and made me face my privilege in an uncomfortable way.

If things are going to change, a whole heap of cultural mindsets would have to shift. With education and opportunity, anything is possible.

I think the US needs to work on prison reform, drug rehab programs, and healthy community programs for its people. If anything, Tiger King was a painful glimpse of what excessive gun freedom + meth + extreme poverty + lack of opportunity does to people.

tiger king wildlife tourism

So please, Netflix, stop streaming this outside of America; it’s’s not a good look for us.

And for the love of God, please never take a selfie with a baby endangered animal at one of these places!

Also, I think I’m going crazy. Send me something sane to binge-watch, please that won’t rile me up. Thanks.

Did you know about these seedy depths of wildlife tourism? Have you ever seen one of these fantastic animals in the wild? Where would you go on safari if you could? Spill!

tiger king wildlife tourism

The post How Netflix’s Tiger King reveals just how messed up wildlife tourism has become appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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It takes nothing to be kind


I’ve been an American expat in New Zealand for seven years, and I’ve never been more grateful for this country welcoming me with open arms, especially now amid the COVID 19 pandemic. In a few short weeks, I will qualify for permanent residency, which I can’t wait for. 

I love everything about New Zealand.

From the wild landscapes to the quirky culture to the DIY friendly attitude, it’s a great place to live. No wonder it consistently ranks among one of the happiest countries in the world. But unfortunately, as we sink into the total shitshow that is 2020, the stark contrast between my birthplace and where I call home now has never been more apparent.

Kindness. I can’t think of a more straightforward way to put it.

be kind coronavirus

Last Friday, an NBC correspondent asked Trump, “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” to which he replied, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say.”

What. An. Asshole.

Even seeing it now I can feel my face flush red with anger. I feel so ashamed of where I’m from, and I’m terrified for my friends and family in the US. You deserve so much better. It shouldn’t take a pandemic and a failure of the federal government to bring fundamental human rights to a country that once was “the leader of the free world.” 

be kind coronavirus

Cruel, petulant, and heartless.

This is not how you lead. This is not how you talk to people. This is not how you comfort a nation of 330 million human beings who, you know, have hearts, fears, worries, and families to think about. Where is the respect? Where is his dignity?

What frightens me, even more, are all people who agree with him. It’s reflective of how selfish the American culture has become (has it always been that way and I’m only seeing it now that I’ve left?) There is no place in this world for that “me, me ME” attitude. We have to look out for one another. Politics don’t matter right now; nobody wants people to get sick and die.

Damnit, I’m furious all over again writing this.

be kind coronavirus

In contrast, our excellent PM, Jacinda Ardern, has been comforting and reassuring Kiwis almost daily, live-streaming, and answering questions, including running a press conference just for kids around COVID 19. She even does spontaneous FB lives from her sofa in sweatpants after putting her toddler to bed.

Each time she addresses us, you can see the toll this experience is taking on her face. She didn’t sign up for this, but she is leading us the best way possible. Her hope and belief in keeping Kiwis safe above all else ring through every word she speaks. Compassion and understanding radiate from her. She talks to us with clear plans and objectives of what we need to do to get through this, usually with scientists by her side.

Jacinda is the kind of figure you want to comfort you in times of crisis. We are all facing an unknown future, and it’s scary.

be kind coronavirus

And every single time Jacinda speaks to the New Zealand community, she reminds us to be kind and to support one another. There is even a page on the NZ government response website to COVID 19 about kindness.

And she reminds us to be strong. Acknowledging what she is asking all of us is massive, she wants us to unite against spreading COVID 19 by staying at home.

To be honest, considering what humanity has gone through over the millennia, it’s not that hard.

Staying home is easy. Being kind is harder. And being kind to yourself? Well, that’s a challenge, especially for people like me.

be kind coronavirus

We are facing unprecedented times (to echo every politician on earth), and it’s pretty freaking scary. If we aren’t careful, we can be consumed by terror, fear, anxiety, depression, and all those other nasty thoughts that like to lurk in the dark recesses of our minds.

But it’s never been more critical to share compassion, empathy, and love. It’s what makes us human, after all. Kindness is a choice.

As we move into four weeks (minimum) of home isolation here in New Zealand, Jacinda’s message of kindness couldn’t be more poignant. We are being tested.

Now is the time to work harder than ever at being considerate, helpful, and selfless. Remember to think of others and not just ourselves. Perhaps we aren’t staying at home because we are worried we will get sick, but rather remember we are doing it for everyone else.

be kind coronavirus

If we all stop moving, COVID 19 will stop moving. It’s pretty easy yet tough.

Now is the time to think beyond ourselves, to think of our collective communities and groups. It’s not about “me” anymore, it’s about everyone. Make your decisions with that in mind. I chose kindness. Don’t be an asshole.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a heartless world. I hope and believe we will come out of the other side of this stronger and better. Kia kaha, as we say here in New Zealand, which means “stay strong” in Māori.

Be kind, be compassionate, be helpful, and supportive. Above all, be human. And for god’s sake, stop trying to make Instagram Lives a thing. It’s so annoying. And stay the fuck at home. Deal?

How are you coping during this new future we’re facing? How are you staying kind to yourself and others? Spill!

be kind coronavirus

The post It takes nothing to be kind appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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How Netflix’s Tiger King reveals just how messed up wildlife tourism has become


Guys, I’m deep into the viral docuseries Tiger King on Netflix, and my god, what a dreadful yet unmissable look at the worst (or unluckiest?) of humanity in rural America.

It’s like a car crash, and I just can’t tear my eyes away. I’m enthralled yet horrified, obsessed, and disgusted. The plot twists, the surprises, the frightening real glimpses of human truths, holy shit!

With a tagline of murder, mayhem, and madness, Tiger King follows the storyline of Joe Exotic, a zoo owner in bumfuck, Oklahoma, with a narrative arc that spirals out of control in a true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.

Buckle up.

View this post on Instagram

Where’s the lie? #tigerking #joeexotic #carolebaskin #netflix #quarantine #covid_19 #socialdistancing #socialdistance #tigerkingmemes

A post shared by Erika Kelly (@cattybritches) on Mar 23, 2020 at 3:22pm PDT

There are gun-loving gay cowboys with mullets. The cults. The polygamy. The loss of limbs and teeth. Inbred tigers, ligers, and illegal lemurs. Excessive dynamite and guns lovingly adorned with pink camo.

Accidental suicide and haphazard murder plots. Flower crowns. So much leopard print. Failed grassroots governor elections. Expired Walmart meat pizzas. Hillbillies and their homemade country music videos featuring fat tigers.

Missing husbands. Meth and sequins. Florida. I can’t even.

Honestly, this show is batshit insane. AND IT’S REAL.

View this post on Instagram

The truth has yet to come out. So don't believe everything you hear.

A post shared by Joe Exotic (@joe_exotic) on Sep 7, 2018 at 3:14pm PDT

But what makes me sad about the train wreck human drama of this docu-series is that the stars, the tigers, are all but forgotten.

Did you know there are more captive tigers in the US than in the wild? How is breeding tigers in your redneck backyard still allowed? How are these pretend “wildlife sanctuaries” still allowed? And for god’s sake, how is Carole Baskin not in jail for murder/fraud/animal abuse and/or all of the above?

And yet no matter how vile it gets, how can I STILL feel compassion for these horrible people who put baby tigers in suitcases and carry guns around like candy?

View this post on Instagram

Visit us by making reservations at MyrtleBeachSafari.com Link In Bio 🐯🙈♥️ #repost • @mimicalacool Best…..day….EVER!!!!! @myrtlebeachsafari & @docantle at @myrtlebeachsafaritours have the most incredible experience ever! It’s a bucket list item that I’d suggest to the world! @rarespeciesfund is doing amazing work to help save these tigers! Blessed to have learned more about these incredible creatures! #savethetigers #blessed #grateful #myrtlebeachsafari 💙🐅

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Mar 14, 2020 at 2:49pm PDT

Disguised behind the most insane group of characters you’ve ever laid eyes on, Tiger King shines a light on the whole heap of uncomfortable truths.

Last year National Geographic broke a significant feature that there are more tigers in private zoos and as pets in the USA than in the wild. What the hell?!

That has to stop now. Totally unacceptable for many reasons, one primary being that your neighbor might have a lion in his garage that could escape and eat you, the other major one being that lions belong in Africa, not rural Ohio, and tigers belong in India not fucking Oklahoma.

(sorry, this makes me absolutely livid)

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

These huge apex predators need massive amounts of territory and belong in the wild. Of course, that opens a whole other wormhole of issues from habitat loss to revenge killings to food loss, but that is where the bulk of conservation work should be focused.

You don’t need big cat sanctuaries in America if people aren’t allowed to have big cats as pets that end up needing “rescuing.”

The other main point is that real conservation doesn’t allow human interaction with animals. No yanking newborn tiger cubs from their moms to pose for selfies. No swimming with huge elephants. No cuddling drugged tigers for your new Tinder pic.

Big cats and endangered species belong in the wild or proper conservation centers without human interaction, period.

Going to Southeast Asia? Please be kind and don’t ride elephants

View this post on Instagram

Tap the link in our bio for more info about how to make reservations! 🐯♥️ #repost @miss_snapalots ・・・ 27 🎈 Thank you @myrtlebeachsafari for once in a lifetime experience! 💚 It’s so amazing what you all do! Please go follow and help save these rare species! @rarespeciesfund #savethetigersavetheworld

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Aug 29, 2019 at 6:40am PDT

 

What’s more, I’m appalled at how many massive profiles on social media feature guys and their exotic pets. Instagram, why do you allow this kind of content? Unethical wildlife breeding and captive endangered species bred for photos, and profit are wrong. And it’s illegal. Almost every one of these profiles has faced criminal charges and received abuse warnings.

These zoos and rescue centers give the impression they are for conservation when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s important to question that when you see unethical wildlife practices.

Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

View this post on Instagram

3 of the 4 different color varieties of tigers! Come meet these tiger cubs by tapping the link in our bio to make reservations! 🐯🧡

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Sep 14, 2019 at 3:38pm PDT

For example, you can pay thousands of dollars to swim with a tiger or for a “volunteer” experience. Seriously? Your tiger selfies aren’t volunteering.

Where does that money go? Where do the profits from these sanctuaries go? How are they using the money they make from breeding and using tigers to fund wildlife conservation? How do they have so many baby tigers all the time? Why aren’t they with their mothers?

Baby tigers become useless in captivity after only 12 weeks because they’ve become too big and too dangerous to interact with people. After that, they usually just disappear.

Not a single one of these conservation tigers bred in America has ever been released back into the world. How could they when they’re raised and hand-fed by humans?

View this post on Instagram

@loganpaul helping us spread the message….Save The Tiger, Save The World❗️🐯 The tiger stands as the last great sentinel of the forest, if we lose the tiger we will lose a piece of ourselves forever. But if we save the Tiger we could save the world, in order for the tiger to survive it needs clean clear skies, pristine lakes and rivers, wide open spaces, plentiful prey animals, and most importantly it needs you, people who care! Therefore if we save the Tiger, we save the world.

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Feb 4, 2020 at 8:22am PST

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching part for me is seeing photos of white tigers.

These white tigers are incredibly inbred, almost all are from the same white Bengal tiger that was sold into the US in the 1960s from India. There is no conservation reason to breed white tigers, why would you breed for a recessive gene like that if you were trying to save a population of endangered animals like? Your focus would be on genetic diversity.

These white tigers are purely bred for their beauty; even though most of them have so many inbred defects, they would have no hope of surviving in the wild. It’s just cruel.

Can someone please tell me how it’s ethical or moral to breed a lion with a tiger and then put it on a leash and keep it a cage so you can make money?

View this post on Instagram

Tap the link in our bio to meet this incredible tiger cub animal ambassadors! 🐯♥️ #repost • @charlestonblonde 😍 Y’all can you even handle the cuteness? I’ve had so many questions about our time at @myrtlebeachsafari that I decided to write an entire blog post about it. Check it out. The link is in my bio.

A post shared by Myrtle Beach Safari (@myrtlebeachsafari) on Mar 10, 2020 at 3:06pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

I just had my 60th birthday. I wanted to come hang out with one of my favorite big cats, Apollo here is only five years old and already weighs over 900 pounds and stands 11.5 feet tall on his hind legs. When I asked my partner Moksha what her favorite thing she learned about ligers over the last 20 years of hanging out she said “he’s bilingual as he speaks both lion and tiger” She doesn’t look 40 does she. The world largest cat. Over 900 lbs and 11.5 ft tall.

A post shared by Dr. Bhagavan Antle (@docantle) on Mar 25, 2020 at 5:22am PDT

What’s sad is that this isn’t unique to America. Lions are bred for slaughter on canned hunting farms in South Africa, and China has a massive market for tiger parts (among all others) for traditional medicine and food. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

With many of these for-profit private zoos and exotic animal pet owners on Instagram masquerading as “conservation” projects, it’s never been more important to question where you chose to spend your tourism dollars.

Travelers love animals, me included, but it’s imperative to follow a few guidelines for responsibly interacting with wildlife.

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

At the end of the day, we have the power as consumers to stand up and say exploiting wildlife and endangered species is wrong. Dig deep and do your research before going to any of these places and have a thorough look around when you’re there. Does it look suitable for the animals?

Beware of buzzwords like “gives back to conservation,” sanctuary,” and “rescue.” Is the animal interacting in a way that isn’t normal? Has it been trained? Most of these training methods are based on fear and are cruel.

My god, imagine the impact it would have if all of the profits and expenses from exploiting exotic animals went towards conservation projects, what a difference that would make.

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

Listen, I get it. I would fucking love to cuddle a baby tiger. Their squeaks are so cute, and I know it’s super unique. But it’s not right. Those tigers don’t belong on my Instagram or in my arms.

One day I’ll follow in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling to India and hopefully get to track wild tigers on safari in their natural habitat. But I will only do that in the most responsible way I can.

I’ve tracked leopards in Sri Lanka, lions in Botswana, cheetahs in South Africa, and elephants just about everywhere. It’s a real privilege that I’ve been able to go to these places, something I don’t ever take advantage of or forget.

It’s powerful and so special to see majestic, iconic creatures in the wild, where they belong. There is something so profoundly sad and degrading to such a mighty animal reduced to misery for the enjoyment of humans.

tiger king wildlife tourism

tiger king wildlife tourism

The second disturbing truth brought to light from Tiger King was just how disconnected I am from my American siblings.

I grew up in rural Virginia, about 15 minutes from West Virginia, so I am far from inexperienced when it comes to Trump-loving, gun-toting, uneducated rednecks. But this show was next level sad and made me face my privilege in an uncomfortable way.

If things are going to change, a whole heap of cultural mindsets would have to shift. With education and opportunity, anything is possible.

I think the US needs to work on prison reform, drug rehab programs, and healthy community programs for its people. If anything, Tiger King was a painful glimpse of what excessive gun freedom + meth + extreme poverty + lack of opportunity does to people.

tiger king wildlife tourism

So please, Netflix, stop streaming this outside of America; it’s’s not a good look for us.

And for the love of God, please never take a selfie with a baby endangered animal at one of these places!

Also, I think I’m going crazy. Send me something sane to binge-watch, please that won’t rile me up. Thanks.

Did you know about these seedy depths of wildlife tourism? Have you ever seen one of these fantastic animals in the wild? Where would you go on safari if you could? Spill!

tiger king wildlife tourism

The post How Netflix’s Tiger King reveals just how messed up wildlife tourism has become appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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Love in the time of Coronavirus – how one little kiwi town is surviving


You always hear me talking about our little bubble of paradise here in Wanaka. A place that seems immune to the problems of the rest of the world, a place that attracted friendly people who loved the outdoors.

A month ago, it seemed that nothing could disrupt our bubble. We ignored warnings and statistics from the rest of the world and reassured ourselves, “not here.”

The chaos that was suffocating other countries wouldn’t bother us much. But before we knew it, Coronavirus in New Zealand was beginning to spread its reach.

coronavirus in new zealand

Oh, how young and naive we were just a few weeks ago.

With a rapidly changing situation, New Zealanders around the country are coming to grips with the severity of the Coronavirus and the threat it poses not only to our health but to our tourism-fed economy as well.

As of now, our cases are under control, and our government is reacting much quicker than other governments around the world (Hi USA and UK!). Still, despite our denial, COVID-19 is here in New Zealand, and our country, much like many other countries, is preparing for an uncertain future.

coronavirus in new zealand

New Zealand’s economy is projected to take a worse hit than the global economy.

Our national carrier, Air New Zealand, has canceled 85% of long-haul flights and is on the brink of bankruptcy. Our borders are closed, ensuring whatever hope we had reviving our tourism economy is officially squashed. As a result, thousands have lost their jobs overnight.

There’s no question about it. We are in scary, uncharted waters here. Still, despite the grim outlook, the Wanaka community remains hopeful and is leaning into each other for support (from a distance of course!) Our streets may be empty, and our loved ones may be out of work. Still, we’re down here spreading the positivity as much as we can.

Let’s take a break from the doom and gloom and look at some of the ways Wanaka is thriving in a time of crisis.

Neighbors are offering to cook food for people in self-isolation

Last weekend, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, ordered a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days for any person (Kiwi or otherwise) upon entering the country.

As you can expect, not everyone has chosen to obey the new rule (looking at you, tourists here for only ten days). However, for the most part, the people in our community are obeying and laying low.

They are restricting contact with other people and staying put, which, as you can imagine, makes it hard for them to go to the grocery store to get food. One community chef has offered up free meals (delivered without contact) for anyone in isolation while supplies last. Others offer land for seasonal workers to camp out on. Posts on the Wanaka community Facebook page are encouraging others to reach out if they need help.

The compassion is flowing, and damn, it’s a good look on this town.

coronavirus in new zealand

Landlords are preemptively reducing rent

This town is run mostly one tourist dollars, and for as much as the locals love to complain about the tourists running all over the town, it’s become blatantly evident that we need tourism to operate.

People who work in tourism and hospitality are losing their jobs at an alarming rate, and Wanaka, unfortunately, doesn’t have the industry to sustain many workers outside of tourism.

Kiwis freshly out of a job are looking to help fill rosters at the local grocery store or picking fruit as they struggle to make rent and buy groceries. We’ve seen several tenants already praising their landlords for offering reduced rent for the next few months or allowing late payments.

In a town that has never typically favored tenants, it’s remarkable to see the humanity in the housing market.

coronavirus in new zealand

Grocery stores are offering call-in delivery services

As things begin shutting down in the coming weeks, grocery stores and pharmacies will be braving the risks and staying as Coronavirus in New Zealand spreads.

Our local grocery stores in Wanaka know how important it is to have access to food. Still, they also recognize the uneasiness that comes with going into the store right for those who are self-isolating, whether out of instruction because they are high risk. They have started to offer phone and email orders delivered to your doorstep.

They are encouraging Kiwis to shop as usual and avoid panic buying. They are assuring us that as longs we do our part to buy normally, their supply chain will remain healthy and ready to serve the community.

coronavirus in new zealand

Kiwis are calling out those who refuse to protect the community

Most people arriving from overseas are complying with the order to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival to halt the spread of Coronavirus in New Zealand. Still, a few travelers are not willing to cut their holiday short by self-isolating, and our local Kiwis do not have it.

Many Wanaka businesses have reported travelers who have admitted they have just arrived in the country and are not following self-isolation rules. The local iSite has been refusing to assist customers who have only just come to the country.

One couple who flew in from Hong Kong took a scenic help flight over Franz Josef only to have their heli pilot fly them straight to the police upon finding out on the glacier they had only just arrived in New Zealand.

Others in the community are being vigilant and confronting travelers who are not complying and alerting immigration. Our community knows what’s at risk, and they’re not afraid to get in your face about it. Our health is more important than your holiday.

coronavirus in new zealand

The distillery is springing into Action

While the Wanaka community seems to be doing a better job of shopping regularly to avoid shortages in the supermarkets with Coronavirus in New Zealand, hand sanitizer has been out of stock for weeks with no end in sight.

Our local distillery, the Cardrona Distillery, has recently offered up free Cardona-made disinfectant spray for household surfaces, which is also safe on hands.

They have encouraged members of the community to bring an empty spray container, and they will fill the container up to 500ml per household per week, all free of charge.

coronavirus in new zealand

People are learning what their priorities are

New Zealand is an island nation, and many of us have moved here from overseas. As an expat, I moved here under the assumption that I was only just a phone call away from home. If needed, I could hop on the plane and be home within a day. None of us could have predicted our new reality. In many ways, New Zealand feels even more isolated than before.

As our economy crashes and jobs are lost, a small silver lining is a communal reckoning of what our priorities are.

Yes, the economy is going to be bad for a while, but at the end of the day, lives are more important.

coronavirus in new zealand

It has been an uncomfortable but necessary reminder that the only things that matter are our health and the wellbeing of the people around us.

Wanaka has always been a gathering spot for the curious. While there are undoubtedly dark days (and months) in our future, we are leaning into our community now more than ever. We are lifting each other’s spirits, supporting local businesses where we can, and helping each other put one foot in front of another.

Must of us here are not Wanaka-born and as the reality sets in of Coronavirus in New Zealand, while many of our biological families are thousands of miles away and out of reach given the drastic decrease in international flights, our chosen families in our community are just as essential and will be there when we need a shoulder to lean on.

Kia Kaha New Zealand and the rest of the world. We will get through this one day at a time.

coronavirus in new zealand

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It takes nothing to be kind


I’ve been an American expat in New Zealand for seven years, and I’ve never been more grateful for this country welcoming me with open arms, especially now amid the COVID 19 pandemic. In a few short weeks, I will qualify for permanent residency, which I can’t wait for. 

I love everything about New Zealand.

From the wild landscapes to the quirky culture to the DIY friendly attitude, it’s a great place to live. No wonder it consistently ranks among one of the happiest countries in the world. But unfortunately, as we sink into the total shitshow that is 2020, the stark contrast between my birthplace and where I call home now has never been more apparent.

Kindness. I can’t think of a more straightforward way to put it.

be kind coronavirus

Last Friday, an NBC correspondent asked Trump, “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” to which he replied, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say.”

What. An. Asshole.

Even seeing it now I can feel my face flush red with anger. I feel so ashamed of where I’m from, and I’m terrified for my friends and family in the US. You deserve so much better. It shouldn’t take a pandemic and a failure of the federal government to bring fundamental human rights to a country that once was “the leader of the free world.” 

be kind coronavirus

Cruel, petulant, and heartless.

This is not how you lead. This is not how you talk to people. This is not how you comfort a nation of 330 million human beings who, you know, have hearts, fears, worries, and families to think about. Where is the respect? Where is his dignity?

What frightens me, even more, are all people who agree with him. It’s reflective of how selfish the American culture has become (has it always been that way and I’m only seeing it now that I’ve left?) There is no place in this world for that “me, me ME” attitude. We have to look out for one another. Politics don’t matter right now; nobody wants people to get sick and die.

Damnit, I’m furious all over again writing this.

be kind coronavirus

In contrast, our excellent PM, Jacinda Ardern, has been comforting and reassuring Kiwis almost daily, live-streaming, and answering questions, including running a press conference just for kids around COVID 19. She even does spontaneous FB lives from her sofa in sweatpants after putting her toddler to bed.

Each time she addresses us, you can see the toll this experience is taking on her face. She didn’t sign up for this, but she is leading us the best way possible. Her hope and belief in keeping Kiwis safe above all else ring through every word she speaks. Compassion and understanding radiate from her. She talks to us with clear plans and objectives of what we need to do to get through this, usually with scientists by her side.

Jacinda is the kind of figure you want to comfort you in times of crisis. We are all facing an unknown future, and it’s scary.

be kind coronavirus

And every single time Jacinda speaks to the New Zealand community, she reminds us to be kind and to support one another. There is even a page on the NZ government response website to COVID 19 about kindness.

And she reminds us to be strong. Acknowledging what she is asking all of us is massive, she wants us to unite against spreading COVID 19 by staying at home.

To be honest, considering what humanity has gone through over the millennia, it’s not that hard.

Staying home is easy. Being kind is harder. And being kind to yourself? Well, that’s a challenge, especially for people like me.

be kind coronavirus

We are facing unprecedented times (to echo every politician on earth), and it’s pretty freaking scary. If we aren’t careful, we can be consumed by terror, fear, anxiety, depression, and all those other nasty thoughts that like to lurk in the dark recesses of our minds.

But it’s never been more critical to share compassion, empathy, and love. It’s what makes us human, after all. Kindness is a choice.

As we move into four weeks (minimum) of home isolation here in New Zealand, Jacinda’s message of kindness couldn’t be more poignant. We are being tested.

Now is the time to work harder than ever at being considerate, helpful, and selfless. Remember to think of others and not just ourselves. Perhaps we aren’t staying at home because we are worried we will get sick, but rather remember we are doing it for everyone else.

be kind coronavirus

If we all stop moving, COVID 19 will stop moving. It’s pretty easy yet tough.

Now is the time to think beyond ourselves, to think of our collective communities and groups. It’s not about “me” anymore, it’s about everyone. Make your decisions with that in mind. I chose kindness. Don’t be an asshole.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a heartless world. I hope and believe we will come out of the other side of this stronger and better. Kia kaha, as we say here in New Zealand, which means “stay strong” in Māori.

Be kind, be compassionate, be helpful, and supportive. Above all, be human. And for god’s sake, stop trying to make Instagram Lives a thing. It’s so annoying. And stay the fuck at home. Deal?

How are you coping during this new future we’re facing? How are you staying kind to yourself and others? Spill!

be kind coronavirus

The post It takes nothing to be kind appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Love in the time of Coronavirus – how one little kiwi town is surviving


You always hear me talking about our little bubble of paradise here in Wanaka. A place that seems immune to the problems of the rest of the world, a place that attracted friendly people who loved the outdoors.

A month ago, it seemed that nothing could disrupt our bubble. We ignored warnings and statistics from the rest of the world and reassured ourselves, “not here.”

The chaos that was suffocating other countries wouldn’t bother us much. But before we knew it, Coronavirus in New Zealand was beginning to spread its reach.

coronavirus in new zealand

Oh, how young and naive we were just a few weeks ago.

With a rapidly changing situation, New Zealanders around the country are coming to grips with the severity of the Coronavirus and the threat it poses not only to our health but to our tourism-fed economy as well.

As of now, our cases are under control, and our government is reacting much quicker than other governments around the world (Hi USA and UK!). Still, despite our denial, COVID-19 is here in New Zealand, and our country, much like many other countries, is preparing for an uncertain future.

coronavirus in new zealand

New Zealand’s economy is projected to take a worse hit than the global economy.

Our national carrier, Air New Zealand, has canceled 85% of long-haul flights and is on the brink of bankruptcy. Our borders are closed, ensuring whatever hope we had reviving our tourism economy is officially squashed. As a result, thousands have lost their jobs overnight.

There’s no question about it. We are in scary, uncharted waters here. Still, despite the grim outlook, the Wanaka community remains hopeful and is leaning into each other for support (from a distance of course!) Our streets may be empty, and our loved ones may be out of work. Still, we’re down here spreading the positivity as much as we can.

Let’s take a break from the doom and gloom and look at some of the ways Wanaka is thriving in a time of crisis.

Neighbors are offering to cook food for people in self-isolation

Last weekend, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, ordered a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days for any person (Kiwi or otherwise) upon entering the country.

As you can expect, not everyone has chosen to obey the new rule (looking at you, tourists here for only ten days). However, for the most part, the people in our community are obeying and laying low.

They are restricting contact with other people and staying put, which, as you can imagine, makes it hard for them to go to the grocery store to get food. One community chef has offered up free meals (delivered without contact) for anyone in isolation while supplies last. Others offer land for seasonal workers to camp out on. Posts on the Wanaka community Facebook page are encouraging others to reach out if they need help.

The compassion is flowing, and damn, it’s a good look on this town.

coronavirus in new zealand

Landlords are preemptively reducing rent

This town is run mostly one tourist dollars, and for as much as the locals love to complain about the tourists running all over the town, it’s become blatantly evident that we need tourism to operate.

People who work in tourism and hospitality are losing their jobs at an alarming rate, and Wanaka, unfortunately, doesn’t have the industry to sustain many workers outside of tourism.

Kiwis freshly out of a job are looking to help fill rosters at the local grocery store or picking fruit as they struggle to make rent and buy groceries. We’ve seen several tenants already praising their landlords for offering reduced rent for the next few months or allowing late payments.

In a town that has never typically favored tenants, it’s remarkable to see the humanity in the housing market.

coronavirus in new zealand

Grocery stores are offering call-in delivery services

As things begin shutting down in the coming weeks, grocery stores and pharmacies will be braving the risks and staying as Coronavirus in New Zealand spreads.

Our local grocery stores in Wanaka know how important it is to have access to food. Still, they also recognize the uneasiness that comes with going into the store right for those who are self-isolating, whether out of instruction because they are high risk. They have started to offer phone and email orders delivered to your doorstep.

They are encouraging Kiwis to shop as usual and avoid panic buying. They are assuring us that as longs we do our part to buy normally, their supply chain will remain healthy and ready to serve the community.

coronavirus in new zealand

Kiwis are calling out those who refuse to protect the community

Most people arriving from overseas are complying with the order to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival to halt the spread of Coronavirus in New Zealand. Still, a few travelers are not willing to cut their holiday short by self-isolating, and our local Kiwis do not have it.

Many Wanaka businesses have reported travelers who have admitted they have just arrived in the country and are not following self-isolation rules. The local iSite has been refusing to assist customers who have only just come to the country.

One couple who flew in from Hong Kong took a scenic help flight over Franz Josef only to have their heli pilot fly them straight to the police upon finding out on the glacier they had only just arrived in New Zealand.

Others in the community are being vigilant and confronting travelers who are not complying and alerting immigration. Our community knows what’s at risk, and they’re not afraid to get in your face about it. Our health is more important than your holiday.

coronavirus in new zealand

The distillery is springing into Action

While the Wanaka community seems to be doing a better job of shopping regularly to avoid shortages in the supermarkets with Coronavirus in New Zealand, hand sanitizer has been out of stock for weeks with no end in sight.

Our local distillery, the Cardrona Distillery, has recently offered up free Cardona-made disinfectant spray for household surfaces, which is also safe on hands.

They have encouraged members of the community to bring an empty spray container, and they will fill the container up to 500ml per household per week, all free of charge.

coronavirus in new zealand

People are learning what their priorities are

New Zealand is an island nation, and many of us have moved here from overseas. As an expat, I moved here under the assumption that I was only just a phone call away from home. If needed, I could hop on the plane and be home within a day. None of us could have predicted our new reality. In many ways, New Zealand feels even more isolated than before.

As our economy crashes and jobs are lost, a small silver lining is a communal reckoning of what our priorities are.

Yes, the economy is going to be bad for a while, but at the end of the day, lives are more important.

coronavirus in new zealand

It has been an uncomfortable but necessary reminder that the only things that matter are our health and the wellbeing of the people around us.

Wanaka has always been a gathering spot for the curious. While there are undoubtedly dark days (and months) in our future, we are leaning into our community now more than ever. We are lifting each other’s spirits, supporting local businesses where we can, and helping each other put one foot in front of another.

Must of us here are not Wanaka-born and as the reality sets in of Coronavirus in New Zealand, while many of our biological families are thousands of miles away and out of reach given the drastic decrease in international flights, our chosen families in our community are just as essential and will be there when we need a shoulder to lean on.

Kia Kaha New Zealand and the rest of the world. We will get through this one day at a time.

coronavirus in new zealand

The post Love in the time of Coronavirus – how one little kiwi town is surviving appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Avoiding travelers diarrhea – how I look after my gut while traveling


‘This gloriously TMI blog post is brought to you by Travelan, a dietary supplement that helps reduce diarrhea while traveling. 

A few key moments stay with us from our travels and adventures around the world. Experiences that shape and define us go hand in hand with travel.

These intrepid experiences are what change us fundamentally. They teach us lessons that can’t be learned anywhere else. And they leave us with memories that stay with us for a lifetime. These are the moments I live for on my travels.

travelers diarrhea

From watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain to having tea with local families in remote villages to swimming with manta rays, our world is magical and beautiful, and travel opens it up to us.

And then all the other life-shaping-and-defining memories come with travel. You know the ones I mean — the ones when you miss the last train and have to sleep in the station memories. Or when someone swipes your bag with your last $20 memories.

And my all-time favorite, the poo-your-pants in public memories.

travelers diarrhea

Anyone who is anyone who has voyaged overseas likely has experienced the non-rainbow-and-unicorns side of travel. While Instagram might have us believe that travel is always glamorous and photo-ready, we all know the truth. I certainly have never seen a hot influencer talking about diarrhea while on their adventures, even though all those diet teas they’re hustling have a MASSIVE laxative effect.

That adage about travel being only glamorous in retrospect rings true and is almost inescapable.

After all, are you even a real travel blogger if you haven’t almost shat your pants on a chicken bus in a developing country? Nope, don’t think so.

Yes, this is a blog about poo. Read on, dear ones.

travelers diarrhea

I’m no stranger to “why me” situations while traveling. I’m a bit of a magnet for them.

I’ve picked up parasites in Mongolia, dysentery in Egypt, and dengue fever in Sri Lanka. And I’ve had diarrhea more times than I can count, though not recently! Wahoo!

I love to travel and have never been shy about trying new things, meeting new people, or adventurous eating, all of which comes with its perils. Though the benefits almost always outweigh the risk.

travelers diarrhea

I was 19 the first time I headed to South America. With youthful naivete, and with a c’est la vie attitude towards food, I didn’t question anything that I put into my mouth. From pisco sours to fried guinea pigs to alpaca burgers and cheesy street corn, I tried it all in Peru.

But it was the local fruit smoothie that did me in.

travelers diarrhea

For less than a dollar, I picked out some of my favorite fruits for a smoothie at a local market in the mountains. With some vague memory of only eating fruit that had peels, I shrugged and thought, that’s crazy.

I had chugged half of the smoothie when I watched in horror as the vendor dunked the machine in a bucket of water that was filthy. I’m talking gray. The water was gray. With flies. Oh, dear god.

Uh oh, as I thought to myself as we made our way back to the hostel. As we walked past tables of meat and animals heads in the warm sun next to it, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, not much unlike the feeling that woke me up 12 hours later.

What did I do?

travelers diarrhea

The mother of all food poisoning, Montezuma’s revenge, gastroenteritis, Delhi belly, Bali belly, the runs, or as my friends and I call it, Poo Roulette. Diarrhea, while traveling, is nobody’s friend but always seems to hang around when you least expect it.

I reckon I had been backpacking on and off for a couple of years before I finally grew up and realized I needed to look after my gut health.

Honestly, it’s genuinely incredible how your brain in your early twenties is capable of completely forgetting about an agonizing sickness as you move on to the next adventure. Sadly, Peru wasn’t the last time I experienced diarrhea while on an adventure.

travelers diarrhea

Whether I was trying to ride horses in Mongolia after chugging fermented mare’s milk with locals (10/10 do NOT recommend) or partaking of the free buffet in the sunshine in Thailand (no no no) or for some reason thought it was totally fine to drink tap water in Hong Kong, there are steps I could have taken to be more responsible with my stomach and health.

But my first trip to Bali a couple of years ago was the straw that broke the camels back. I had diarrhea so severely I couldn’t travel for days.

After that, I decided to get serious with preparing and avoiding illness while on the road. Nothing ruins a trip quite like getting sick, and I was over it: time to grow up, Liz.

travelers diarrhea

This meant that I actively worked to prevent getting sick on trips. I did this, especially when I would be in places where I wanted to eat adventurously. Did you know that diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness?

For years I’ve been carrying around a box of Travelan, an over-the-counter product available to be purchased on Amazon or Passport Health Travel Medicine clinics. It offers digestive tract protection and helps your body maintain regular bowel habits. BOOM.

So without any shame, here is my major Public Service Announcement to all of you who dream of traveling with the aforementioned healthy bowel habits (me). Don’t let poo roulette ruin your trip.

travelers diarrhea

Designed to target and neutralize bacteria before they can make you sick, Travelan is an essential tool in my travel arsenal. I use it to make sure my travel plans stick to a schedule. Reducing the risk of experiencing stomach upsets is vital to me, especially when I’m traveling to places where it’s common.

Between the actual illness part, which lingers for days to the general inconvenience of trying to find doctors or hospitals overseas in remote places to the cost of the medical treatment, I want to avoid all of that mess. Oh, and let’s be honest here, not all toilets are created equal. All of the toilets I’ve had to use while in the throes of sickness have been THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES.

Nope, I want my gut happy and healthy and normal – don’t we all? This is perfect because Travelan mostly contains naturally occurring antibodies that help to neutralize gastrointestinal issues before they begin.

travelers diarrhea

This doesn’t mean to let all good hygiene practices fly out the window while traveling. It’s essential to stay as clean as possible when you can. Also, it’s up to you to do everything you can to prepare for inevitable diarrhea on your travels.

Travel is wild and beautiful, and wildly beautifully unpredictable. It’s in that inconstancy where we often find the most compelling stories and make the most incredible memories.

Just don’t let pooping your pants while on a horse trek be one of them.

Travelan is an essential item when packing for your next trip, and you can buy it on Amazon here with 10% off. Read more here about Travelan

**In Australia, Travelan® is a listed medicine and is specifically indicated to reduce the risk of Travelers’ Diarrhea. It’s available to purchase from Australian pharmacies. In Canada, Travelan® is a licensed natural health product and can be purchased from Canadian pharmacies.

travelers diarrhea

Many thanks to Travelan for sponsoring this post – like always, I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you could expect less from me!

The post Avoiding travelers diarrhea – how I look after my gut while traveling appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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My Valentine’s Day heart attack


Greetings from the Christchurch hospital, where I’ve been loitering since Valentine’s Day when I had A LEGITIMATE FREAKING HEART ATTACK.

You see, when I think I’m in control and getting my life planned out and organized, the universe has a way of reminding me that I’m a pawn and that sometimes shit.just.happens.

Why me? Why is it always me? The universe, I’m going to need you to stick to the plan. Five days in the hospital for a heart issue is not part of my project! Get it together.

As you can see, I’m totally fine now, but please read on.


Friday morning, I was on my laptop sipping coffee, getting ready to start my day, when a feeling of total dread washed over me, building into the most intense crushing pain across my chest, neck, and shoulders down my arms and even into my jaw. The discomfort was immense and all-consuming.

I couldn’t breathe, eventually collapsing on the floor sobbing, gagging and heaving from the sheer pain of it all. Clutching my armpits and curled up in a ball, I thought to myself, oh my god, I’m dying. But out loud, I said to my partner Giulio, “I’m fine. I’ll be fine, just go to work!”

Luckily, he ignored me and dragged me to the hospital, where I was poked, scanned, prodded, wired up, and poked some more. Not after he first said, “babe, you shouldn’t have eaten that whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s last night,” before he realized the severity of what was happening.

Obviously, I will never let him forget that.


And here we are. I’m 31 years old with no history of heart issues in my family. I don’t tick any of the boxes around risk factors for heart attacks or heart problems minus the occasional B&J binge and a whole heap of stress.

On paper, I’m perfectly healthy. And yet, at 31 years old, I find myself bed-bound in ugly standard-issue hospital pajamas in the cardio ward surrounded by people twice my age.

I had suffered a mild heart attack. The culprit? My migraine medication, Sumatriptan (Imitrex).

Hands up if you had no idea this was a possible side effect of the most common migraine medicine?! Me neither!

All the doctors knew about this but had never seen it before.


My simple understanding is that migraines cause blood vessels in the brain to expand and inflame, and Sumatriptan is very useful in shrinking those blood vessels back down, causing the headache to stop. It certainly worked for me up until now.

However, it can also cause the blood vessels everywhere else to reduce down, including around your heart. The blood vessels shrank, cutting off the blood supply to my heart. This essentially causes it to spasm or cramp, technically a heart attack, though a minor one.

It’s not the kind of heart attack that you think of around blood clots or blockages. They know this because the enzymes in my blood were high and abnormal, indicating a heart attack, though a tiny one compared to my bedfellows in the cardio ward. It’s also why I felt fine the day after. Luckily I have no lasting damage or should have problems with my heart in the future – fingers crossed.


Five days later, I’m still in the hospital waiting for test results, and things are looking positive. Physically I feel pretty good, just exhausted with a damn lingering migraine that I can’t medicate for. The good news is that my heart and my brain look fine. I should be all good moving forward, trialing a new migraine medication that isn’t a triptan.

Emotionally is a different story. While my discharge papers are almost ready, my mental state feels bruised and fragile.

A deep part of me still feels like shit. Like in some way, this was my fault, especially after my burnouts of the past two years. If I eat cleaner, exercise more, manage my stress better, be more Instagram-Healthy, and even emotionally stronger, then this wouldn’t have happened.

I’m too young; I’m not supposed to be here.


I felt really really depressed in the hospital for a variety of reasons, the main one being that hospitals are fucking depressing.

Being on the public health system in New Zealand (in my new experience) is that if you aren’t dying, then you have to wait for your turn in the hospital. This makes sense, except I’m guessing that the public hospitals in most places are overworked and understaffed. Because I went in on the weekend, I was doomed to wait around for days with no answers; it was so frustrating. It didn’t help that I still had a migraine, no answers, and didn’t see the same nurse or doctor twice, and everyone I did see gave me a different answer.

I spent six hours in the ER on Friday night waiting for admission to the cardio ward, literally surrounded by people escorted by police and chained to their beds. It was a horror. Not Christchurch’s finest.

Combined with the fact that I just moved to Christchurch meant I didn’t know anyone here well enough with only my partner Giulio by my side meant I felt very lonely.


Twice I freaked out badly and looking back, I’m ashamed at how emotional I got. I went home on Saturday night against the advice of the doctors because I couldn’t stand to wait two more days in there for tests with no communication.

Upon reflection, I wish I hadn’t gotten so upset but at the time or was so impatient. I suppose situations like this don’t bring out the best in people, and even now, I fight against my desire to appear perfect to everyone all the time. Sigh.

It’s disheartening (pun intended) to be in the hospital for something that shouldn’t happen to people like me. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it all. The girl whose heart literally broke on Valentine’s Day – oh the irony!

All I can say is that it was a massive wake up call for me to get as healthy as possible and really put my life back to order after a very stressful couple of years. And also to take drug side effects seriously.

Have you ever experienced something similar? How should I cope with something so surprising? Any advice for migraines and stress reduction? Share!


The post My Valentine’s Day heart attack appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Avoiding travelers diarrhea – how I look after my gut while traveling


‘This gloriously TMI blog post is brought to you by Travelan, a dietary supplement that helps reduce diarrhea while traveling. 

A few key moments stay with us from our travels and adventures around the world. Experiences that shape and define us go hand in hand with travel.

These intrepid experiences are what change us fundamentally. They teach us lessons that can’t be learned anywhere else. And they leave us with memories that stay with us for a lifetime. These are the moments I live for on my travels.

travelers diarrhea

From watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain to having tea with local families in remote villages to swimming with manta rays, our world is magical and beautiful, and travel opens it up to us.

And then all the other life-shaping-and-defining memories come with travel. You know the ones I mean — the ones when you miss the last train and have to sleep in the station memories. Or when someone swipes your bag with your recent $20 memories.

And my all-time favorite, the poo-your-pants in public memories.

travelers diarrhea

Anyone who is anyone who has voyaged overseas likely has experienced the non-rainbow-and-unicorns side of travel. While Instagram might have us believe that travel is always glamorous and photo-ready, we all know the truth. I certainly have never seen a hot influencer talking about diarrhea while on their adventures, even though all those diet teas they’re hustling have a MASSIVE laxative effect.

That adage about travel being only glamorous in retrospect rings true and is almost inescapable.

After all, are you even a real travel blogger if you haven’t almost shat your pants on a chicken bus in a developing country? Nope, don’t think so.

Yes, this is a blog about poo. Read on, dear ones.

travelers diarrhea

I’m no stranger to “why me” situations while traveling. I’m a bit of a magnet for them.

I’ve picked up parasites in Mongolia, dysentery in Egypt, and dengue fever in Sri Lanka. And I’ve had diarrhea more times than I can count, though not recently! Wahoo!

I love to travel and have never been shy about trying new things, meeting new people, or adventurous eating, all of which comes with its perils. Though the benefits almost always outweigh the risk.

travelers diarrhea

I was 19 the first time I headed to South America. With youthful naivete, and with a c’est la vie attitude towards food, I didn’t question anything that I put into my mouth. From pisco sours to fried guinea pigs to alpaca burgers and cheesy street corn, I tried it all in Peru.

But it was the local fruit smoothie that did me in.

travelers diarrhea

For less than a dollar, I picked out some of my favorite fruits for a smoothie at a local market in the mountains. With some vague memory of only eating fruit that had peels, I shrugged and thought, that’s crazy.

I had chugged half of the smoothie when I watched in horror as the vendor dunked the machine in a bucket of water that was filthy. I’m talking gray. The water was gray. With flies. Oh, dear god.

Uh oh, as I thought to myself as we made our way back to the hostel. As we walked past tables of meat and animals heads in the warm sun next to it, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, not much unlike the feeling that woke me up 12 hours later.

What did I do?

travelers diarrhea

The mother of all food poisoning, Montezuma’s revenge, gastroenteritis, Delhi belly, Bali belly, the runs, or as my friends and I call it, Poo Roulette. Diarrhea, while traveling, is nobody’s friend but always seems to hang around when you least expect it.

I reckon I had been backpacking on and off for a couple of years before I finally grew up and realized I needed to look after my gut health.

Honestly, it’s genuinely incredible how your brain in your early twenties is capable of completely forgetting about an agonizing sickness as you move on to the next adventure. Sadly, Peru wasn’t the last time I experienced diarrhea while on an adventure.

travelers diarrhea

Whether I was trying to ride horses in Mongolia after chugging fermented mare’s milk with locals (10/10 do NOT recommend) or partaking of the free buffet in the sunshine in Thailand (no no no) or for some reason thought it was totally fine to drink tap water in Hong Kong, there are steps I could have taken to be more responsible with my stomach and health.

But my first trip to Bali a couple of years ago was the straw that broke the camels back. I had diarrhea so severely I couldn’t travel for days.

After that, I decided to get serious with preparing and avoiding illness while on the road. Nothing ruins a trip quite like getting sick, and I was over it: time to grow up, Liz.

travelers diarrhea

This meant that I actively worked to prevent getting sick on trips. I did this, especially when I would be in places where I wanted to eat adventurously. Did you know that diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness?

For years I’ve been carrying around a box of Travelan, an over-the-counter product available to be purchased on Amazon or Passport Health Travel Medicine clinics. It offers digestive tract protection and helps your body maintain regular bowel habits. BOOM.

So without any shame, here is my major Public Service Announcement to all of you who dream of traveling with the aforementioned healthy bowel habits (me). Don’t let poo roulette ruin your trip.

travelers diarrhea

Designed to target and neutralize bacteria before they can make you sick, Travelan is an essential tool in my travel arsenal. I use it to make sure my travel plans stick to a schedule. Reducing the risk of experiencing stomach upsets is vital to me, especially when I’m traveling to places where it’s common.

Between the actual illness part, which lingers for days to the general inconvenience of trying to find doctors or hospitals overseas in remote places to the cost of the medical treatment, I want to avoid all of that mess. Oh, and let’s be honest here, not all toilets are created equal. All of the toilets I’ve had to use while in the throes of sickness have been THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES.

Nope, I want my gut happy and healthy and normal – don’t we all? This is perfect because Travelan mostly contains naturally occurring antibodies that help to neutralize gastrointestinal issues before they begin.

travelers diarrhea

This doesn’t mean to let all good hygiene practices fly out the window while traveling. It’s essential to stay as clean as possible when you can. Also, it’s up to you to do everything you can to prepare for the inevitable travelers’ diarrhea.

Travel is wild and beautiful, and wildly beautifully unpredictable. It’s in that inconstancy where we often find the most compelling stories and make the most incredible memories.

Just don’t let pooping your pants while on a horse trek be one of them.

Travelan is an essential item when packing for your next trip, and you can buy it on Amazon here with 10% off. Read more here about Travelan

**In Australia, Travelan® is a listed medicine and is specifically indicated to reduce the risk of Travelers’ Diarrhea. It’s available to purchase from Australian pharmacies. In Canada, Travelan® is a licensed natural health product and can be purchased from Canadian pharmacies.

travelers diarrhea

Many thanks to Travelan for sponsoring this post – like always, I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you could expect less from me!

The post Avoiding travelers diarrhea – how I look after my gut while traveling appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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My Valentine’s Day heart attack


Greetings from the Christchurch hospital, where I’ve been loitering since Valentine’s Day when I had A LEGITIMATE FREAKING HEART ATTACK.

You see, when I think I’m in control and getting my life planned out and organized, the universe has a way of reminding me that I’m a pawn and that sometimes shit.just.happens.

Why me? Why is it always me? The universe, I’m going to need you to stick to the plan. Five days in the hospital for a heart issue is not part of my project! Get it together.

As you can see, I’m totally fine now, but please read on.


Friday morning, I was on my laptop sipping coffee, getting ready to start my day, when a feeling of total dread washed over me, building into the most intense crushing pain across my chest, neck, and shoulders down my arms and even into my jaw. The discomfort was immense and all-consuming.

I couldn’t breathe, eventually collapsing on the floor sobbing, gagging and heaving from the sheer pain of it all. Clutching my armpits and curled up in a ball, I thought to myself, oh my god, I’m dying. But out loud, I said to my partner Giulio, “I’m fine. I’ll be fine, just go to work!”

Luckily, he ignored me and dragged me to the hospital, where I was poked, scanned, prodded, wired up, and poked some more. Not after he first said, “babe, you shouldn’t have eaten that whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s last night,” before he realized the severity of what was happening.

Obviously, I will never let him forget that.


And here we are. I’m 31 years old with no history of heart issues in my family. I don’t tick any of the boxes around risk factors for heart attacks or heart problems minus the occasional B&J binge and a whole heap of stress.

On paper, I’m perfectly healthy. And yet, at 31 years old, I find myself bed-bound in ugly standard-issue hospital pajamas in the cardio ward surrounded by people twice my age.

I had suffered a mild heart attack. The culprit? My migraine medication, Sumatriptan (Imitrex).

Hands up if you had no idea this was a possible side effect of the most common migraine medicine?! Me neither!

All the doctors knew about this but had never seen it before.


My simple understanding is that migraines cause blood vessels in the brain to expand and inflame, and Sumatriptan is very useful in shrinking those blood vessels back down, causing the headache to stop. It certainly worked for me up until now.

However, it can also cause the blood vessels everywhere else to reduce down, including around your heart. The blood vessels shrank, cutting off the blood supply to my heart. This essentially causes it to spasm or cramp, technically a heart attack, though a minor one.

It’s not the kind of heart attack that you think of around blood clots or blockages. They know this because the enzymes in my blood were high and abnormal, indicating a heart attack, though a tiny one compared to my bedfellows in the cardio ward. It’s also why I felt fine the day after. Luckily I have no lasting damage or should have problems with my heart in the future – fingers crossed.


Five days later, I’m still in the hospital waiting for test results, and things are looking positive. Physically I feel pretty good, just exhausted with a damn lingering migraine that I can’t medicate for. The good news is that my heart and my brain look fine. I should be all good moving forward, trialing a new migraine medication that isn’t a triptan.

Emotionally is a different story. While my discharge papers are almost ready, my mental state feels bruised and fragile.

A deep part of me still feels like shit. Like in some way, this was my fault, especially after my burnouts of the past two years. If I eat cleaner, exercise more, manage my stress better, be more Instagram-Healthy, and even emotionally stronger, then this wouldn’t have happened.

I’m too young; I’m not supposed to be here.


I felt really really depressed in the hospital for a variety of reasons, the main one being that hospitals are fucking depressing.

Being on the public health system in New Zealand (in my new experience) is that if you aren’t dying, then you have to wait for your turn in the hospital. This makes sense, except I’m guessing that the public hospitals in most places are overworked and understaffed. Because I went in on the weekend, I was doomed to wait around for days with no answers; it was so frustrating. It didn’t help that I still had a migraine, no answers, and didn’t see the same nurse or doctor twice, and everyone I did see gave me a different answer.

I spent six hours in the ER on Friday night waiting for admission to the cardio ward, literally surrounded by people escorted by police and chained to their beds. It was a horror. Not Christchurch’s finest.

Combined with the fact that I just moved to Christchurch meant I didn’t know anyone here well enough with only my partner Giulio by my side meant I felt very lonely.


Twice I freaked out badly and looking back, I’m ashamed at how emotional I got. I went home on Saturday night against the advice of the doctors because I couldn’t stand to wait two more days in there for tests with no communication.

Upon reflection, I wish I hadn’t gotten so upset but at the time or was so impatient. I suppose situations like this don’t bring out the best in people, and even now, I fight against my desire to appear perfect to everyone all the time. Sigh.

It’s disheartening (pun intended) to be in the hospital for something that shouldn’t happen to people like me. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it all. The girl whose heart literally broke on Valentine’s Day – oh the irony!

All I can say is that it was a massive wake up call for me to get as healthy as possible and really put my life back to order after a very stressful couple of years. And also to take drug side effects seriously.

Have you ever experienced something similar? How should I cope with something so surprising? Any advice for migraines and stress reduction? Share!


The post My Valentine’s Day heart attack appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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