the control and precision it gives me
far outweighs any extra hassle, but it's
certainly something to consider when
packing those supplies. This is one
instance where more is more!
Time zones are another thing to think
about when travelling, particularly if you're
going to multiple countries. When I first
landed in South Africa, I blamed my tricksy
blood glucose levels on the heat and the
change in routine. But after a couple of
days I realised I needed to change my
basal rates to match the new time zone.
Even two hours' difference had a huge
impact on my waking glucose. What I will
say is that as I relaxed and my cortisol
levels decreased, my insulin requirements
dramatically dropped. Hormones are a
rather spectacular entity!
Food is a huge part of my life, and
trying new cuisine is one of the best
things about travel but I'd advise that
you watch out for aeroplane food which
can be full of hidden mysteries that can
mess with your blood sugars. Eating out
while travelling is a fantastic way to get
to know people. I inevitably didn't always
get my carb portions right, but I never,
"There's no need for a
fanfare but travelling
is not a time to be
shy about Type 1
diabetes. I liked
knowing that at least
one person I was
with knew what I was
dealing with, even on
the most basic level.
ever gave myself a hard time about this -
I just corrected as soon as possible and
carried on regardless. Food is there to be
enjoyed, especially on holiday!
There are a lot of variable factors to
contend with while backpacking so I think
it's important not to give yourself a hard
time if things aren't perfect. Luckily I'm a
huge seafood fan, so a trip abroad often
results in a low carb diet by default, which
helps to combat fluctuating glucose
levels. Oysters, anyone? That being said,
I had more than one incredible burger
along the way...
I also believe that travelling is not a
time to be shy about Type 1 diabetes.
There's no need for a fanfare, and it's an
incredibly personal condition, but I liked
knowing that at least one person I was
with knew what I was dealing with, even
on the most basic level. I actually found it
to be a great conversation starter, so own
it, because you're bossing it!
There are other easy hacks that
are applicable to any kind of travel with
Type 1, such as carrying a copy of your
prescription with you, as well as your
pump settings and ratios if you use one.
Travel insurance is a must, and it's helpful
if someone back in the UK has a copy of
all your documents.
If you give it a bit of thought, there's no
reason why you can't enjoy the trip of a
lifetime with Type 1, backpack in tow. My
diabetes certainly felt more present than it
had done in a while, because so much of
the norm had gone out of the window, but
that also made the trip one of the most
rewarding experiences of my life. Plan
ahead and the biggest worry you'll have
is the thought of washing your pants in
the sink. Again.
Jen Grieves is a freelance digital producer who usually lives in
London but is currently working in Spain. She was diagnosed
with Type 1 diabetes in 1996.