Almost 10 years ago, I was sitting in a hospital bed and the doctor had just diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Almost immediately I had two questions on my mind… “Will I still be able to drink Diet Coke” (I had no idea at the time what was happening!) And “Will I still be able to travel the world?”
I asked my doctor these questions and the answer to the first was “Yes, of course!”, but the answer to the second wasn’t so positive: “You will struggle. A short trip will be OK, but there are many places you probably can’t go.”
For someone who had plans to visit every single country, that really did feel like the end of my world. Even if I still did have diet coke to comfort me! Luckily for me, that’s not the end of my story. With a little research, and by connecting with the type 1 diabetes community over the years, I realized my doctor wasn’t right.
I was 16 at the time of my diagnosis, and by the time I turned 18 I had already started traveling. When I left the University three years ago at the age of 23, I started my dream of traveling full-time, and that’s exactly what I am still doing today!
I want to visit every single country in the world, and once I’ve achieved that, I will know that diabetes has not held me back from my dream.
When I was preparing for my first trip, I spent hours and hours scouring the internet for tips and advice from others living with T1D who were already doing what I wanted to do. But the problem was, I couldn’t find anything current. All the posts I did find were many years old. I found some information on T1D travel tips, but I found no real single individual to inspire me to keep going. So that’s when I had a light bulb moment and realized this HAD to change. With the help of my wonderful boyfriend, and full-time travel partner, we came up with a simple idea …
“What, what! Me?!”…
So, it was then that I created my travel blog, Dream Big, Travel Far. Twelve months later came, “The Ultimate Guide To Traveling With Type 1 Diabetes”. A bespoke eBook, made completely by me, which divulges everything I know on traveling with diabetes.
So, what have I achieved in the short two years since the website has been active?
Well, it has allowed me to connect with so many amazing diabetics, all across the globe. I’ve had the privilege at speaking at various JDRF discovery days on traveling with diabetes, and I’ve helped fellow diabetics plan their amazing adventures.
So what does the future hold?
I won’t stop reaching for the stars! And I don’t want anyone else to feel like they can’t achieve their dreams with a T1D diagnosis. Whether that dream is to trek Everest, visit the Amazon rainforest, Interrail Europe, road trip the USA, or any other un-travel related dream. Diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back. There are days when I find it tough, but I sit back and look at what I have achieved so far and continue to achieve. I’ve been to over 50 countries so far, and have so many more on the horizon. I’ve managed my diabetes in different time zones, different climates, I’ve dealt with altitude, I’ve had my monitor stolen, I’ve kept my insulin cool in the extreme heats of a desert, I’ve climbed volcanoes, camped in the Amazon rainforest (got eaten alive by mosquitoes), and I’ve done it all with type 1 diabetes!
Living with T1D has given me the opportunity to meet and help others from around the world who also live with T1D. Since 2016, we have worked with a children’s diabetes charity in Bolivia and raised money and supplies for them. My next adventure is trying to help children in India. In fact, we are committed to giving 15% of all proceeds from my eBook and my online digital course on “Traveling With Diabetes 101” to helping children around the world with diabetes. Another 20% of the proceeds will be going to JDRF so they can find us a cure!
If you’d like a copy, you can use the code JDRFNE20 to get 20% off. The eBook and course will help you plan your adventures; help you deal with any challenges that come your way; and, most importantly, help inspire you to travel the world and live your dreams!
Lot’s of love, Cazzy (from Ireland!)