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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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 1
Osaka to Xi'an

The big grey skies of Xi'an, China

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Day 49
Taxiacun

Tea leaves and local families in Taxiacun

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Day 68
Chongqing

I left my jaw in Chongqing's hotpot

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Day 7
Kaifeng

The amazing food stalls of Kaifeng

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Day 14
Hefei

Laundry service plus vomit: The tale of Hefei

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Day 36
Shaoxing

Shaoxing and the mysterious yin-yang of travel

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More China

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 30
Poland

Inside the deserted Polish castle of Malbork

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Day 25
Poland

Frustration and chaos in Warsaw

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Day 131
Norway to United States

Every trip must eventually end

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Day 105
Kosovo to Macedonia

A quick escape from Kosovo

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Day 78
Croatia

The extraordinary solitude of Pula on New Year's Day

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Day 99
Serbia

Recovering from a 400+ BG at Žiča Monastery

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More Europe

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)

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 35
Malaysia

Kuala Selangor's wild menagerie

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Day 12
Malaysia

The view of Malaysia from atop an elephant

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Day 80
Malaysia

The waterfall walks of the Tanah Rata jungle

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Day 228
Cambodia

As Khmer kids in canoes do circles around my motorboat

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Day 96
Thailand

Out of harm's way and into Trang

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Day 192
Laos to Thailand

Emergency ambulance across an international border

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More Southeast Asia

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 9
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Cactus vs. sky at Organ Pipe

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Day 52
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

How to get the most out of Black Canyon of the Gunnison without hiking

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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 6
California

The whole world in two hours, courtesy of Southern California

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Day 49
Taos Pueblo

Strolling around Taos Pueblo, America's oldest community

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More National Parks USA

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 0
Florida

How to waste money before the trip even starts

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Day 3
Valenciana

Valenciana: close to home but a world away

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Day 13
Mexico City

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

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Day 10
Guanajuato

Why you oughta visit Guanajuato, Mexico

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More Mexico

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 11
Thong Pha Phum to Sangkhlaburi

Ever-deeper levels of remoteness: Sangkhlaburi

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Day 6
Kanchanaburi

Exploring Kanchanaburi's messy international ties

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Day 19
Lopburi

How to coexist with Lopburi's monkeys

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Day 7
Kanchanaburi to Thong Pha Phum

The Death Railway to 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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More Thailand (2011)

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