My Tips for Surviving Festivals With a Vomit Phobia.
Surviving WHAT I hear you say? Did she say a “festival” – as in a camping, with drunken people, in a field, in a tent, with porta loos for nearly a week? Yep, that’s what I said haha.
Yes I have a phobia of vomiting but I’ve tried hard to not let it stop me from doing the things I’ve wanted to. I didn’t let it stop me from having a child and I haven’t let it stop me from enjoying music. When I was younger, one of my main loves was alternative music. Anything from the Deftones to Metallica, Marilyn Manson to Anathema. I really LOVED music. And what better way to see all the bands you love than at a festival. The first time I went to Reading festival must have been the year 2000. I camped two further years and then attended on a day ticket. Here are my top ten survival tips for getting through what could potential be a vomit-phobics nightmare!
1. Be mentally prepared. If you are in a really sh*tty place with your emet (vomit phobia) then ask yourself if it is worth the hassle, stress and cost. When I went to Reading, I was in an ok place. I wouldn’t say amazing but I was living in my bubble where I believed if I didn’t eat, I wouldn’t be sick.
2. Be physically prepared. By this, I mean pack everything which will help you in certain situations. For me, essentials were: loo roll, chewing gum, wet wipes, some sort of music player – for me, back in 2000, this was a mini disc and batteries! When I attended Reading in 2000, not many people had a mobile phone, either. Easy-peasy these days ;)
3. Go with people you trust. For two years in a row I didn’t. And the first year, the guy I was camping with decided it would be a good idea to be sick in front of our tent. YEAHHHH. Not. It was a long night spent roaming the fields and stalls! Be sure to camp with someone you know isn’t going to get sh*t-faced and puke in your tent.
4. Don’t park by a hedge. Mistake for year two. We rocked up by a hedge thinking it would be nice spot. Yeah right. It was the Reading festival campsite toilet for three frickin days!
5. Porta loos – day one, you are fine. Any day after, give them a wide berth and use the hedge that you didn’t pitch your tent against! And try and plan your toileting…the loos inside the music arena at Reading were hard standing and were in an OK state come the last day. Plan wisely ;)
6. Food – bring some dried stuff you can have on standby. My go-to in this type of situation are crackers, crisps, mini cheddars, cereal bars. Anything that lasts and is typically bland. If you really want to make sure you aren’t sick, avoid bbqs, meat, anything dodgy. We typically ate out, or we purchased bland food from the stands. Bland for me means chips, chips, chips or jacket potatoes. It’s a few days. I can live with potato for a few days.
7. Pills. Be sure to pack any medication you need. And be sure to keep some on you all the time. Don’t go leaving it in your tent in case someone decides to take a visit when you aren’t there. This hasn’t happened to me but it’s just common sense to keep valuable stuff on you. ALL THE TIME.
8. Know your body. I was always susceptible to diarrhoea IBS. Yayyyyy. Just what you need at a festival with sh*t toilets. I’d plan accordingly though. Eat light pre-festival and during the festival. I’d also load up on immodium. I know, I know. This is NOT a good option and I am in no way advocating it. It helped me though and it ensured I kept calm.
9. Understand that you CAN leave the site. Plenty of people will tell you not to and that it makes it extra special when you leave on the Monday morning. I left most days though, just to get some time out, use a proper loo and get a sandwich or something from the nearby Waitrose! Who cares if you don’t spend the whole week onsite? Do what you need to make your week great for you.
10. And don’t worry about doing everything with everyone. Plan your own agenda. Be sure to see the bands you want to and visit the stands you want to. It’s your festival and it cost enough so make sure that once you are there, you bloody well make the most of it :)
Ahhh, so there, my ten tips for festival success with a vomit phobia. It CAN be done. You CAN have fun. Yes it’s tough sometimes. But walk away, take a breath and remember it’s ok.