People fascinate me. Perhaps that is why I love working as a GP. When I travel, I always want to ask questions and know what life is really like for everyone I meet. Sadly, I am not much of a linguist but I smile and gesticulate a great deal and make the effort to communicate. Given enough time, it is remarkable how connections can be made
I explore, try to understand and write about difficult issues including corruption, prejudice, exploitation, caste and poverty. I know that for some this makes uncomfortable reading and even risks demystifying and undermining the image some travellers have of the simple natural existence of the rural poor in emerging nations. Nevertheless I fervently believe these issues should be understood by all who travel so my aim is to present the facts as sympathetic engaging stories about real people. I am frustrated by the look-and-point approach to travel, but I hope I don't preach. I write of my adventures and enthusiasms and of colour and beauty so that my readers can enjoy my travel experiences as much as I do.
Travel Health Guides
Within minutes of arriving in the sleepy town of Khairpur in Sindh, I was faced with a medical crisis. I'd been qualified as a doctor for a few years but was new to expatriate life, and I was travelling with my firstborn, three-month-old son. A guy who was expecting to work with my husband announced that he needed to be evacuated because he was desperately ill. I introduced myself as a GP and offered help. Quickly I realised that my new friend was not suffering from some horrendous tropical pox but that he just had a nasty attack of sinusitis. It made him feel awful with frontal headache that recalled having a screwdriver rammed into his eyeball. Labelling it with a diagnosis made it less scary, though, and we found that the correct antibiotics were readily available over the counter in the local bazaar. By the next day my patient was well on the way to recovery.
That was the first time I really had to think about travel health. What this, my first real travel medicine ‘case’, made me realise is that even the calmest and most sensible of travellers will nearly always become disproportionately worried about themselves when taken ill. In my friend’s case, he didn’t know much about the local health service and didn’t know where he could find a doctor he could trust. He just wanted to get home to his friendly British GP. That experience showed me how liberating and empowering information can be and motivated me to start writing accessible straightforward travel health advice. I began work on a manual that was distributed amongst expatriate engineers, and soon after wrote my first travel health feature for Wanderlust magazine. It was - of course - on diarrhoea.
Staying Healthy When You Travel
“a must for anyone going travelling.”
Lemurs of the Lost World
“fascinating firsthand account of expedition life and work, as well as an exciting glimpse of the flora and fauna of Madagascar.”
Geographical Magazine, London
A Glimpse of Eternal Snows
Dr Andrew Peacock, Sunshine Beach, QLD, Australia
I came across your book A Glimpse of Eternal Snows in a second hand book store while looking for some reading to while away hours in a cold tent on an upcoming trekking trip I'm leading in Nepal. The problem is that I've just put it down, having finished it between patients in a short GP locum I'm doing before heading off - so much for my planned mountain reading!
In 1996 I first went to Nepal as a volunteer doc with the Himalayan Rescue Association working in Manang on the Annapurna circuit, I had just spent 5 months volunteering at a hospital in Dharamsala, India with the Tibetan Government in exile. Your book took me on a journey remembering that time of trying to help those with so much less than me living on the subcontinent. I'm lucky to have been back many times since then, although I have yet to visit the Terai.
Thank you for writing the book and sharing your story with the world.
Your Child Abroad: a travel health guide
This book is so informative and so interesting, it is absolutely mandatory for parents traveling with children in areas of the world where there are health issues beyond your experience. There is a prodigious amount of up-to-date and accessible information packed into this volume--and it's the kind of book that you want to read from cover to cover, even the parts less relevant to your needs. My husband and I recently returned from a six-month sojourn in Thailand, Laos and Burma with our four children (aged 7, 5, 3 and 1). We carried this book as part of our medical kit, and it was invaluable in preparing that medical kit and also in helping to plan our trip itinerary (i.e., the book convinced us that malaria was the one nonnegotiable health issue). Memorable anecdotes from expatriate and traveling families pepper the book. There's nothing else like this out there.
Wendy Leonard (New York)