My old trouble: MYSTIC MEG on her travel sickness

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It takes five stops on the bus, seven stations on the tube or 15 minutes in a cab before my skin turns that particular shade of green favoured by corpses slabbed up for a TV pathology show. As for boats - well, all it takes is 20 minutes of The Cruel Sea and I feel utterly awful. Caught in a real storm off Iceland, while the rest of the passengers were worried that the small boat would sink, I was worried that it wouldn't. My old trouble is travel sickness.

As a small child, I would plead to be abandoned by the side of the road rather than continue a car journey. But I have since made the wonderful discovery that travelling on horseback is fine. So, too, are journeys on aeroplanes - except for rollercoaster rides in a tiny aircraft.

It's not anything I would go to a doctor about. After all, it is only temporarily inconvenient. For example, I have to allow extra time on journeys to get off the tube and let the waves of nausea subside. It is horrid for the sufferers and it is unpleasant for fellow travellers who sometimes imagine the queasy are drunk. It is difficult for non-sufferers to be sympathetic. After all, travel sickness has no glamour or pathos.

It's not a condition that changes your life, though it makes a journey something to be endured, not enjoyed. And reading palms during a journey is not on. I've tried not to let it affect my working life - in fact, I've even worked as a travel editor. Not an obvious choice, I agree, but it wasn't my choice. For a while I led a double life - journalist by day, fortune-teller by night. I was snugly settled in the cookery department of a women's magazine when the editor sent for me to say I had additional duties. I was now the travel editor.

I think the travel sickness almost helped, because it made me a stern judge of holidays. I was very vigorous in checking the number of comfort stops on journeys, I tested hotels' willingness to provide soothing servings of toast on arrival and I was able to assess if the journey was really worth it.

I've tried all the usual over-the-counter remedies for travel sickness, but they didn't work for me. The stronger ones made me feel dizzy. Not eating before a journey doesn't work, that just means retching on an empty stomach and feeling faint.

But then, on a particularly cold day several winters ago, I bought some ginger capsules, simply because it said "comforting in cold weather" on the pack. I took a couple before I set out on a bus journey that usually involved getting off halfway to allow the sickness to subside. To my amazement, this time I didn't feel sick. I looked at the packet of ginger capsules again. It did recommend taking them before journeys. Now I always do. But if I forget, that old familiar feeling comes roaring back.