The travel bug never bit me. I’m not really sure why I never had much desire to see the world, or even my country for that matter, but I always felt fulfilled by a short drive to the magnificent New Jersey beaches, a quick train to one of the greatest cities in the world, New York, or simply in my own peaceful backyard. (Did I mention I don’t like to fly?) However, in recent years, I have said “YES” to several travel opportunities that have come my way, and it has been quite exciting and eye-opening. Perhaps it is because my children are now grown and independent, or that my parents are not needy, or that I have the time, or that I realize I don’t know how much longer I’ll be fit and active, or simply that there’s just no reason to say no!
In the past few years, I have said “YES” to New Orleans JazzFest (bucket list), Las Vegas (a friend’s birthday weekend), Mexico (parent’s anniversary celebration), Caribbean cruise (family vacation with family friends), Italy (son studied abroad), Israel (daughter studied abroad), and tagged on to my husband’s business trips to London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Ibiza, Lisbon, and Paris.
Whether with my family and/or friends, I’ve hiked beautiful mountains, biked around cities, visited magnificent beaches, listened to inspiring live music, explored foreign neighborhoods, eaten amazing food everywhere, and so so so much more!
What many of you may not know is what goes into traveling with T1D. It’s a lot of work! First, there’s all the preparation that goes into packing for the trip. Besides figuring out what clothing and shoes are required and the regular essentials that everybody needs, there are so many medical supplies to bring… insulin vials X3 (in case one breaks), infusion sets and reservoirs (twice the amount just in case), test strips and lancets (twice the amount just in case), tons of glucose tablets (just in case), glucagon (just in case), long-acting insulin (just in case), syringes (just in case), spare meter and pump (you never know), and that’s just off the top of my head. In case, in case, in case. I don’t want to be in a strange place and have to start looking for supplies, which might not only be difficult to find, but also who wants to waste precious vacation time doing THAT!
Then of course there’s dealing with airport security regarding everything from traveling with needles to going through security wearing an insulin pump and CGM. Sometimes I disclose it up front and sometimes I test the system haha. Sometimes I get stopped and scrutinized, and sometimes I sail right through. I have had to change a clogged infusion or cranky CGM in an airport bathroom. I’ve needed more glucose tablets in the overhead compartment when we are confined to our seats. When traveling through different time zones I have to work closely with my doctor on how to adjust my pump settings. And my bulky medicine bag and emergency food (in case we are delayed), which always stay with me, take up most of my one-allowed carry-on luggage.
These are just some of the challenges that I face. BUT I don’t let it get in the way. It’s just what I do, and it’s never too late to say YES!
Abby and her husband, Mike, live in New Jersey and they are the parents of 23-year-old twins. She has worked in several fields including Public Relations, Corporate Special Events, and Wardrobe and Image Consulting. She is an active volunteer for the Foundation for Diabetes Research where she also serves on its Board of Directors. Abby was diagnosed with T1D in 1973 at age 8.