Travel

Category: Diabetes Travelogues Around the World

Subcategories: China, Europe, Mexico, National Parks USA, Southeast Asia, Thailand (2005), Thailand (2011)

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Travelogues

My adventures around the globe as a diabetic. This is my favorite section!

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Everyone needs some motivation every now and then

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Posts about diabetes not related to travel

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Reviews, packing tips, and thoughts on traveling with diabetes supplies

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Think traveling with diabetes is impossible? Think that diabetes might hold you back from getting the most out of your adventures? It doesn’t have to be like that and here’s the proof. Follow along on my world travels and see what traveling as a Type 1 diabetic is really like. These are my honest reports from the road, different types of trips in all manner of global destinations where insulin doses can only be guessed at and T1D is made all the more challenging by time zones, unknown or unavailable meals, and pharmacies where nobody speaks English. Pick a trip and dive in – traveling with diabetes is a challenge but it’s not impossible. If I can do it, so can you!

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National Parks T1D Road Trip

Three months driving around the United States to see its stunning National Parks and to raise money for a diabetes cure at JDRF. I drove almost 15,000 miles from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic and back again. With my insulin in a cooler in the back seat and a backpack full of needles and test strips, I followed whim and inspiration every single day with my travel partner Masayo. We saw dozens of National Parks, met some great people and saw many curious animals, became immersed in the real America by avoiding interstates, and even learned how to eat reasonably healthily in a land where that isn’t the default setting. Follow along on the road trip of a lifetime – and diabetes didn’t hold me back!

Day 72
Kings Canyon National Park

To a canyon barely accessible by road

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Day 45
Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Oklahoma's Chickasaw National Recreation Area gave me perfect blood sugars

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Day 68
Death Valley National Park

Hot, high, and happy at the bottom of Death Valley

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Day 78
Redwood National and State Parks

Huge improvement in blood sugars under the redwood trees

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Day 23
Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve - Barataria Preserve

Nothing like swamp-walking to fix high blood sugar

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Day 11
Saguaro National Park

Hot insulin and tall cacti in Saguaro National Park

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More National Parks USA

2 Months in Thailand with Diabetes (2011)

Here’s the story of two months I spent in Thailand, traveling solo with diabetes and seeking out places I hadn’t visited on previous trips to the Land of Smiles. What I found was captivating: warm, friendly people and places imbued with a live-and-let-live approach to life that makes Thailand such a rewarding land to wander around. Read these tales of Bangkok smog, the Death Railway, pit stops for mysterious fried snacks on Thailand’s largest wooden bridge, thieving monkeys in Lopburi, pizza and insect meals in Phitsanulok, and even a brand-new blood sugar meter from a Surin pharmacy. There’s no place on Earth like Thailand!

Day 28
Phitsanulok

Pigs, roaches, and other tasty morsels from Phitsanulok

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Day 8
Thong Pha Phum

Cheapo shopping in Thong Pha Phum

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Day 14
Kanchanaburi

A second visit to a town is nothing like the first

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Day 1
Bangkok

First days are so exciting: Bangkok again

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Day 19
Lopburi

How to coexist with Lopburi's monkeys

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Day 11
Thong Pha Phum to Sangkhlaburi

Ever-deeper levels of remoteness: Sangkhlaburi

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More Thailand (2011)

90 Days in China with Diabetes

I secured an unusual 90-day visa for China and, despite being a Type 1 diabetic, made the most of it. Beginning in the ancient city of Xi’an and its Terracotta Army, my partner Masayo and I wound all around the enormous Chinese mainland and its endless surprised. We scaled sacred mountains, wandered into obscure hill villages hoping there was somewhere to sleep, boated up the venerable Yangtze River, and rode buses with the locals through the wild Tibetan Plateau to the edge of the Gobi Desert. Here’s how I handled food, insulin, and blood sugar supplies over three months in this vast and fascinating country.

Day 72
Xining

Xining, the high and dry fulcrum of central China

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Day 24
Tangkou

The secret misty mountain town of Tangkou, China

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Day 1
Osaka to Xi'an

The big grey skies of Xi'an, China

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Day 75
Golmud to Dunhuang

Through the desert to Dunhuang with special permission

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Day 74
Golmud

Golmud, dusty crossroads on the edge of nothing

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Day 5
Xi'an

The ancient clay army and the small wild goose

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More China

2 Weeks in Mexico with Diabetes

I was lucky enough to get to spend two weeks in colorful central Mexico. I wandered among the colorful patchwork buildings of hilly Guanajuato, peered into the old silver mines and gargantuan church of Valenciana, felt the chaotic bustle and swirl of Mexico City, and cocked an ear to hear the mystic messages from another time that sing in the wind at Teotihuacán. Read about these experiences as well as how I searched for medical supplies from local pharmacies, handled a case of Montezuma’s Revenge, and calculated an insulin dose for (mm-mmm!) cow’s brain tacos.

Day 13
Mexico City

Avenue of the Dead and calves' brain tacos: Mexico City

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Day 0
Florida

How to waste money before the trip even starts

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Day 10
Guanajuato

Why you oughta visit Guanajuato, Mexico

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Day 3
Valenciana

Valenciana: close to home but a world away

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More Mexico

2 Weeks in Thailand with Diabetes (2005)

I took a simple two-week holiday in Thailand over Christmas and New Year’s 2005-2006. With a travel partner I spent Christmas Eve in a beach chair listening to the gentle waves on the famed tourist island of Phuket, went by boat to a hidden rock-climbing community in Krabi Province on the mainland, hiked hundreds of steps to the top of a great karst tower, and on New Year’s Day finally saw the legendary capital city Bangkok. The heart of winter is hot in Thailand but I managed to keep my insulin cool and have some fantastic experiences. This was my very first trip to the Land of Smiles but it was one that inspired me to return again and again in the ensuing years.

Bangkok

Inside Thailand's most sacred temple

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More Thailand (2005)

131 Days in Europe with Diabetes

A long-term diabetes travelogue that really tells it like it is! This is an exhaustive, day-by-day account of a four-plus month backpacking odyssey through some of the lesser-known parts of Europe. Read about the World Heritage Sites, historical areas, trains, guesthouses, and people I encountered on the road with my travel partner Masayo as well as every meal, insulin shot, and blood sugar check. The deliriously fun cold-weather voyage took us through the gorgeous sites and palpable history of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, and Norway.

Day 119
Montenegro

Living in Kotor forever isn't a bad idea

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Day 54
Hungary

Our private tour of Aggtelek's caves

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Day 86
Bosnia and Herzegovina

A World War on a street corner: Sarajevo

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Day 11
Estonia to Latvia

Valga/Valka: A town with two names

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Day 53
Hungary

Caver in the morning, liquor in the evening

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Day 105
Kosovo to Macedonia

A quick escape from Kosovo

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More Europe

11 Months in Southeast Asia with Diabetes

To date, this is the longest and most open-ended trip I’ve ever taken. Follow the nearly year-long backpacking voyage through the friendly and unbelievably beautiful countries of Southeast Asia below. On a trip this long you can’t carry all the diabetes supplies you’ll need so you have to learn how to stock up on the way. This was a great crash course in long-term travel with diabetes and it taught me that through the kindliness of strangers and your own ingenuity, you’ll always find what you need on the road. Dive into some of the most welcoming and culturally varied places in the world: Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Day 1
Taiwan

How to get back into the rhythm of travel

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Day 31
Malaysia

Thumbing a ride from Muhammad Ali

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Day 127
Thailand

Forget the big cities – go to the provinces

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Day 29
Malaysia

The crazy weightless room of Kuala Lumpur

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Day 211
Thailand

Sukhothai's split but happy personality

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Day 192
Laos to Thailand

Emergency ambulance across an international border

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More Southeast Asia

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