I was lucky. I grew up on the fast-track to medical school. That was all I cared about. Medicine and healthcare. But on my way through my undergrad degree, I realized that medicine and good health were political topics. The medical side of the profession flipped a switch inside me and changed the course of my studies and my life. But though I lost my taste for the politics of healthcare, I never lost my interest in medicine. For this, I feel lucky because I’ve been able to see through the politics to find real treatments for health problems that otherwise would’ve been deemed “chronic” in the United States.
In fact, healthcare is one of the major reasons why we decided to pack up and leave the United States for good. Healthcare is a basic staple for human happiness (like food, shelter, and clothing). In the United States, healthcare is not only prohibitively expensive, but also damaging to patients. It often does more harm than good, but that’s a series of articles for another time. What I want to talk about in this article is how to handle personal healthcare as a nomad who’s traveling perpetually.
There are five things that we do to manage healthcare, politically, financially, and in terms of illnesses and ailments, while we’re traveling:
- We keep ourselves as healthy as possible by eating well, exercising, and reducing our toxic load by avoiding things like synthetic fragrances, parabens, etc. We don’t try to prevent death (because that isn’t possible), but we try to prevent illness and feel good as often as possible.
- We carry a medical bag with us that contains a selection of diagnostic tools (like an otoscope) as well as antibiotics and other drugs, herbs, and essential oils that could save our lives if we were stricken with serious illness.
- We stay up-to-date on our travel vaccines.
- We carry global health insurance when we’re traveling to places where the healthcare is more costly than we could afford out-of-pocket.
- We do medical tourism, rather than going back to the United States for health-related issues. The United States healthcare system is terrible. It’s one of the lowest ranked developed countries in the world in terms of healthcare provision.
I don’t tend to blindly trust doctors anywhere in the world. Western medicine has limitations. It’s particularly valuable in emergency situations when a patient is seriously injured or goes into shock for any reason. Vaccinations and antibiotics are a valuable contribution of the western model of modern medicine, though a lot of diseases are best treated with plant medicine. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to carry herbs across the globe for a lot of reasons, the most practical being that they take up a lot of space in comparison with antibiotics. Essential oils are a more compact alternative.
In addition to the five basic staples of our healthcare strategy as digital nomads, I also search for new and innovative treatment options for chronic diseases. For example, Tijuana, Mexico offers alternative treatments for cancer that actually work. RigVir, the cancer vaccine that was developed in Riga, Latvia is available at the Hope4Cancer clinic. The famous Hoxsey Tonic is also available in Tijuana. The low cost of cancer treatments in this city are thought-provoking. And their treatment successes also cast a shadow over what’s really going on in the United States in terms of healthcare. For more information about non-chemo cancer treatments and other shady healthcare deals going on in the U.S., read The Truth About Cancer. You’ll never consider going back to the U.S. for health treatments of any kind ever again.
If you’re already a digital nomad or you’re planning to become one, the best place to start as far as your healthcare is concerned is by getting the requisite travel vaccines. You could contact a Travel Medicine clinic in the United States, but I’d recommend ordering an up-to-day version of the CDC Yellow Book and reading about travel vaccines to make a vaccination plan for yourself. Consider traveling abroad for some of the vaccines to keep things affordable. Don’t ever trust your doctor blindly, even when it comes to vaccines. Doctors in the U.S. are especially prone to “not caring” and most of them have never traveled anywhere outside of the states. Use the charts and information in the Yellow Book to decide for yourself which vaccinations you’ll need based on which countries you plan to travel to. And consider getting some of the vaccinations abroad, like at the CIWEC clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal. Many of the vaccines are much cheaper there and the facilities are top-notch—better than anything you’ve encountered in the U.S.