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!
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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!
More Thailand (2011)
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.
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.
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.
More Thailand (2005)
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.
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.
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