There are few things more uncomfortable than waking up in a hotel room in the middle of the night in Cambodia with genital discharge and no idea when, where, or how this happened. No no no, not me, but a friend, but luckily for me, he’s allowing me to share this story and the moral. Let’s call him Reid.
One of the benefits of travel is it allows many folks to work on their sexual bucket list. Ah, we’re pretending we don’t know what the bucket lists consists of, eh? Or what it is? Well, since we’re not about modesty here at Passport Required, I think I talked about over here.
Side note: Last thing on my bucket list is one of those women from Little Women of ATL.
Let me mention, this is a no judgment zone.
While fulfilling life goals and living his best life, Reid scratched up the wrong pole and ended up desperately needing a translator, a local phone, a couple of pills, and a shot of ceftriaxone in the ass. It’s seriously nothing to be ashamed of, and honestly, there’s a great chance this could happen to anyone who’s so casually sexually active. The hard part, however, is when it happens and you’re 8,000 miles from home and 4 countries away from a language you know.
A few years ago, I was working with sex workers in New York City, and I would always tell them, “I’m not here to tell you to stop hoeing, I’m here to teach you how to hoe safely.” So I pass those words now to you.
Moral, or lesson, or whatever I feel you should take from this:
1. If you’re going to have sex while traveling, or hell, even domestically, be able to say things like, “I think it could be gonorrhea or chlamydia,” or “I had sex with a stranger and now I’m seeing strange fluid” in the local language.
2. Download an app that allows you to make international calls over wifi. I use Talkatone. It’ll save you time and energy.
3. Find the free clinics as soon as you touch down. It’s easier to locate them when you’re not in a moment of panic. Ask the taxi drivers, they seem to know the lay of the land.
4. Educate Yourself! Always use protection and understand you are never 100% protected. Since adolescence we’ve know how to protect ourselves, but we need to continue updating that information. Hell, learn about PrEP!
5. Come to terms with possibly not being able to complete your bucket list.
6. Make sure your emergency contacts are updated, just in case you meet up for sex in some strange alley in Bogota and end up under a bed in a seedy motel, chopped into little, slightly recognizable pieces.
7. Carry condoms like you carry your identification! ALWAYS! And while putting it on, ask your partner if they’ve been tested and what the results were. Or…ask long before you get to the house, or the car, or the porta-potty, or wherever you plan to make the magic happen.
8. Enjoy it all! If it’s not fun, why do it?
Reid is finished scratching & scratching off his list and now has a strange story to share with the wife, kids, and grandkids he’ll one day have. And here I am, still looking through Tinder for a little woman in this big world.
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.