Getting the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in 2013 at the age of 52 had been a tremendous shock for me. The good health I had taken for granted my whole life vanished, leaving me to learn how to manage a chronic condition. It was challenging. After the shock, fear, and anger lessened, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let diabetes limit my life or keep me from traveling.
In 2016, after my husband and I retired early, we began planning a year-long dream trip to Italy. I had a lot of questions (and worries) about how I would manage my diabetes on such a long trip. But the excitement and anticipation won out and I began stockpiling insulin, test strips, glucose tablets, insulin pumps, and other supplies. When we left the U.S. in 2017, I lugged one carry-on suitcase full of just diabetes supplies and a beer cooler full of insulin.
Our once-in-a-lifetime year-long adventure was thrilling. Every day was different and unique as we made our way from Italy to Croatia, Egypt, Spain, England, Scotland, Germany, and France. My poor little beer cooler got a workout. The trip came with a steep learning curve. There were a few nerve-wracking situations that I had to navigate, including one trip to the emergency room in London. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
Staying home is always easier. Sitting on the couch is always safer. But that isn’t how I want to live my life. Despite the risks, the unknowns, and the struggles, I want to travel, ski, eat new foods, and say “yes” to every new thing that crossed my path. Sometimes things would go wrong but that wasn’t important. Moving ahead was important. Life doesn’t come with an answer sheet and that is okay.
Pam is a retired paralegal and a contented travel addict. To see pictures of her year of travels, visit Pam’s website at www.bravingtheworldbook.com