"With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look - for dizzier heights." — Nikola Tesla
I flew home from La Paz, Bolivia earlier than expected and without any photos of the Bolivian salt flats because unfortunately I developed severe altitude sickness on the Island of the Sun. We'd been slowly acclimatizing to altitude throughout Peru, steadily sleeping at higher and higher altitudes. When I took this sunrise photo at our lodge atop the Island of the Sun, we'd reached an elevation over 13,000 feet. You can't see the whole mountainside of stone stairs we climbed, but if you can grasp from this photo our height above Lake Titicaca (highest lake in the world, thank you very much), you can imagine it was a steep, strenuous hike. With stops for breath, it took us one hour and 45 minutes to ascend. I didn't feel great going up, but I got quite ill in the morning. Our local guide and my friend handled the whole situation gracefully and compassionately. I was assisted on the descent and taken to the mainland town of Copacabana for excellent treatment at a local clinic our guide knew well. This detour forced us to miss the salt flats, which was hugely disappointing. But what can you do except make the most of it? We stayed in Copacabana for the night, spent more time in La Paz than previously planned, and appreciated the slower pace of our new schedule. I'm sharing this because I really want to talk about why travel insurance is so important. I'd purchased a trip protection plan with Travel Insured International, who I highly recommend and use for my own trips. In this Bolivia example, the $400 USD clinic visit will be covered under the "Accident & Sickness Medical Expense" benefit. I'll also be filing a claim using the "Trip Interruption" benefit for the costs of the additional hotels I had to pay for and some other non-refundable expenses due to the new itinerary. It was and is such a relief not having to worry about these unforeseen costs. In addition, I have an annual MedJet Horizons membership, which gives the ultimate peace of mind. Thankfully, I didn't need to be hospitalized, but if I had, you can imagine I'd rather be at my home hospital and not in Bolivia. Unlike health or travel insurance, which typically transports you to the nearest acceptable facility if deemed medically necessary, a MedJet membership covers the transfer to your home hospital of choice, regardless of medical necessity. MedJet covers many other things too! Knowing I had all this coverage that day was HUGE. I could just focus on feeling better - and keeping all the receipts for the insurance claims, of course. Always save your receipts!! Right before my trip, I had a meeting with Duration Health, and I LOVE what they are doing and must share this with you too. They offer an online, pre-travel consultation with a Board-Certified travel medicine physician, work with you to assemble the medications you might need if you get sick on your trip, and ship them to you before you leave - like for motion sickness, malaria, altitude, traveler's diarrhea, UTI, infections, and more. For example, their Altitude Med Kit includes the prescriptions I was given at the clinic; if I'd had Duration Health's kit, I could have begun taking them hours earlier for relief. When you work with Nine Muses Travel, you receive custom trip protection plan quotes and my assistance in helping you start and file any necessary insurance claims too. I will always advocate for purchasing travel insurance (and MedJet) to feel safe and secure wherever you roam.
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