Down Once, But Not Out

Frequent Flier Christine Cunanan Travelife Magazine Publisher

Christine Cunanan recalls a temporary glitch in her Travelife. 

For once I was in one place for all of two months and not living a Travelife. Throughout February and March, I’d driven past airports without stopping and watched airplanes take off from afar, unable to go near either because I’d fallen ill and been slapped with a medical travel ban.

In January, you see, I’d done a rash series of trips thinking I was invincible to sickness. I flew to Los Angeles for a weekend, sailed to Mexico on the world’s most luxurious ship for a day, stopped over in Taipei to shop for skincare products, and then spent two weeks traveling around the Philippines in a happy frenzy of luxury hotels and memorable meals.


One week later, however, by early February, I was in an ambulance speeding towards a hospital just past midnight; and by the time I reached the emergency room, my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and I was minutes away from going into shock.

My immune system had been compromised by the fatigue and the constant jetlag, and something as simple as a lowly bacteria perhaps found in food somewhere had made its way into my bloodstream resulting in a potentially fatal infection.

Yes, after years of traipsing around the world, I’d finally come head to head with one of the very few downsides to travel: catching a dreaded infection while on the go.

Exposure to illness is possible anywhere, but more so when you are traveling because airports and train stations are just rife with bugs and viruses. Boosting your immunity with vitamins, using hand sanitizers and masks, and washing your hands as frequently as possible will all help you avoid illness up to a certain point. Unfortunately, none of these will stop a determined germ from attack.


This is exactly what happened to me. Before I knew it, my defenses were completely down and I was fading rapidly. Fortunately, the forces of the universe conspired to save my life and within two weeks I was out of the hospital and on the slow road to recovery and to returning to my Travelife.

As this issue goes to print, my days are filled with therapy sessions when I’m not at work, as getting back to 100% is actually a full-time job – and not an easy one. But the thought of a nice holiday by the beach in Phuket, at some of the loveliest resorts in Thailand, and a relaxing long weekend in Istanbul, trying out new local haunts in the chic district of Nisantasi, are enough to keep me motivated. I have to be completely well and healthy by the time I get on an airplane sooner rather than later; because the moment I do so, I will keep going, as I always have been, and there will be no looking back.