Bodily functions are a taboo subject. No one usually wants to talk poop.
But I do.
I suffer from irritable bowl syndrome, which means that I am always sick to my stomach (read: constant diarrhea). Wherever we are in the world, I’m on the prowl for a toilet.
This has caused me to take careful note of the facilities.
Traveling is especially difficult with stomach issues. Aside from gambling each time you try a foreign cuisine, trains, planes and buses won’t wait for you to “finish up” in the bathroom.
But what if there is no restroom?
I have had diarrhea roadside, hillside, you-name-it-side, because there wasn’t a toilet in sight.
According to a United Nations report, 2.5 billion people on this planet live without access to sanitation (toilets and the like).
As I’ve looked into this subject, it’s interesting to see what does count as sanitary, and just how differently people all over the world “do their business.”
Discovering differences in access to sanitation around the world has been fascinating—and has caused me to think about a basic issue that we should spend more time pondering as humans:
What’s the best toilet—for comfort, sanitation, and environment? What’s the best toilet for properly disposing of waste, to ensure the people in the community don’t get sick?
I may be more of an anomaly with my stomach issues in Western civilization, but world-wide, diarrhea is real issue. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that every day, diarrhea kills 2,195 children. The CDC reported that’s more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.
Serious cases of diarrhea can result from contracting cholera and dysentery, diseases that result from the ingestion of fecal contaminated food or water—often found in areas of the world where open defecation is an issue. The CDC has a helpful graphic explaining the various causes of diarrhea.
I have personally had dysentery. Picked ‘er up in Colombia—diarrhea, vomiting, fever. The whole shebang. The knowledge that the disease likely came from inadvertently ingesting shit is unsettling to say the least.
As we travel, I will make an effort to discuss sanitary facilities (or lack thereof) in other countries, and juxtapositions we observe.
And I want to hear from you: tell me in the comments about your experiences with unique bathrooms around the world.
If your story has to do with poop, I want to hear it.
The following two tabs change content below.
I'm Sarah. I grew up in Montana, got my B.S. in finance, and now reside in Washington, DC. I'm one of the Fish from the travel blog, Two Fish Traveling. I LOVE squirrel monkeys. And crocodiles. And fireworks.
Latest posts by Sarah (see all)
- The not-so-hidden camping spot next to Firefly Music Festival - November 1, 2016
- Pooping In Indonesia: A How-To Toilet Guide - July 9, 2016
- Celebrating the Beauty of Pride in Our Nation’s Capital - June 15, 2016