Food Poisoning, Playing Live Music, and an Important Lesson in Relativity

A Story from One Saturday Afternoon On the Coast of Oaxaca

Travis W. King
5 min readFeb 4


This past Saturday I was working under the afternoon sun in my favorite place, El Puerecito, 30 minutes east on the coastal highway from my home in Puerto Escondido. For some reason, something felt a little off. Not wrong, just incomplete.

I was sweaty and dirty but still slightly restless. I played with tools, put a few new plants in the ground, and cleaned the whole property. I was busy, sweaty, and pouring love into something I’m proud of. Feeling restless didn’t really make sense, but the feeling was like a small kid tugging at my shirt.

I took the feeling to one of my favorite restaurants on the drive back to Puerto. They said, “tenemos burgers, hoy!” I love a good suggestion, so said, “Okay, una hamburguesa! Gracias!”

The exact burger that did me in. Looks good, right?

On the drive home, I started feeling off in an entirely new way. My tummy was rumbling. When I got home I felt entirely drained of energy, so I napped for 30 minutes. I could only nap for half an hour because I was scheduled to play music at one of my favorite bars in Puerto Escondido—Gallo.

I packed my gear, scootered over to Gallo, and set up my mic and guitar to sing some fun covers for the drinking crowd who wanders the streets looking for mezcal and memories. I wasn’t feeling well, but I always try my best to honor my commitments. I thought to myself The show must go on as I unloaded my gear with my stomach doing backflips.

I met my bandmates Sergio and Jesus when I arrived. I told them, along with the owner, Jorge, that I wasn’t feeling too hot. That I was pretty sure I ate a bad burger on the carretera. I set up, grabbed a beer, and went on stage to tune my guitar.

Before I could finish tuning, I looked over at Sergio holding his violin, then back to Jesus sitting on the drums, and I told them both, “Just make some noise for a minute, do some improv, I think I need to go to the bathroom.”

I took my guitar off, then jumped off the stage and into the small bathroom. I bent over, looking directly into the toilet, then immediately filled it with the poison that was swimming around in my stomach. I almost…



Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at