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Need Moral Support For Travel
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So I have this opportunity to travel for work - it's the biggest assignment of my career - but it involves traveling from place to place every day, relying on either hotel breakfasts, lunch buffets and whatever restaurant is close. Also, traveling with a group of non-celiacs in a high stress, hectic and fast-paced event in Europe.

 

I've been wanting to do this assignment for years, but now that I'm celiac, and still struggling on a daily basis with symptoms, I'm not sure I can accept it. I have five months until I'd go, but only a few weeks to decide: should I stay or should I go. I'm terrified to say yes, but terrified to say no.

 

Help.

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wow.  sounds  like  a  great  experience.... Mu suggestion  as an old time celiac(10+ years)  would be  to  carry  a  gluten-free  food  pack  with  you for  an  emergency  in your  luggage.....and  research , research, research the places  where  you will be traveling....in this  day & age  most  places  in the  world gluten-free  food  can be  found........have  a great  time...

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A chance of a lifetime - I would say YES! Within five months you will almost assuredly be feeling better, plus you will be more experienced with how to deal with restaurants. Plus, as Mamaw said, you will have time to do research on gluten-free foods available in the cities you're likely to go to. Even if they have no restaurants, they will have grocery stores so you can buy what you need.

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If you decide to go, do not leave the country without taking out travel insurance that includes some medical benefits.  If you were to go and become ill and need medical attention, the insurance you have will not be accepted out of country.  You will have to pay cash and then be re-imbursed by your insurance company.  I always take out medical insurance and it includes emergency evacuation back to the States, just in case.  I have never had to be flown home sick but it costs a fortune and airlines have strict rules, which will cost you a lot of money.  It just is a good back up thing to do.  You sound young so insurance is not expensive when you are younger.  You may also be covered by your company so look into it and find out.

 

I only say this because you are still suffering from on going symptoms and I have learned from experience that travel stress can make things worse.  I had to cut a vacation short in 2009 because my Hashi's thyroid disease flared up bad and I went seriously hyper and needed to fly home a few days earlier.  I was healing and the dose I was on was now too large.....and the symptoms decided to kick in when I was in Europe.  I did a ticket change but got re-imbursed by the travel insurance company.  No matter your age, travel abroad should be covered from all angles.

 

I would plan on going and stay positive but if you are not feeling up to snuff right before travel, you may have to re-think things.  Take out the insurance to cover your bases, if needed, and that will help to make you feel more comfortable when doing this big adventure.  Good luck to you......sounds great!

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If you decide to go, do not leave the country without taking out travel insurance that includes some medical benefits.  If you were to go and become ill and need medical attention, the insurance you have will not be accepted out of country.  You will have to pay cash and then be re-imbursed by your insurance company.  I always take out medical insurance and it includes emergency evacuation back to the States, just in case.  I have never had to be flown home sick but it costs a fortune and airlines have strict rules, which will cost you a lot of money.  It just is a good back up thing to do.  You sound young so insurance is not expensive when you are younger.  You may also be covered by your company so look into it and find out.

 

I only say this because you are still suffering from on going symptoms and I have learned from experience that travel stress can make things worse.  I had to cut a vacation short in 2009 because my Hashi's thyroid disease flared up bad and I went seriously hyper and needed to fly home a few days earlier.  I was healing and the dose I was on was now too large.....and the symptoms decided to kick in when I was in Europe.  I did a ticket change but got re-imbursed by the travel insurance company.  No matter your age, travel abroad should be covered from all angles.

 

I would plan on going and stay positive but if you are not feeling up to snuff right before travel, you may have to re-think things.  Take out the insurance to cover your bases, if needed, and that will help to make you feel more comfortable when doing this big adventure.  Good luck to you......sounds great!

I'm flattered you think I sound young! ;) No, I'm 47. I'm not sure that qualifies anymore...

 

My main concern about the trip, aside from not being able to find food, is that my last Big Assignment to Italy resulted in my diagnosis. I'm fairly sure I picked up an enterovirus that triggered the symptoms, leading me to find that I'd had celiac for years and had complete villous atrophy. I haven't been right since, aside from a week over Christmas, and so I'm leery. Last time I was in the UK I picked up a bug (or so I thought, maybe it was the gluten) that made me really, really sick.

 

Last time I was in France I lived on Powerbars. I don't think I can do that again.

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I would most definitely take the offer. You have time to heal and get stronger.

Your system is NOT what it was and 5 months from now, it will be even stronger.

Real Food can be found anywhere. 

Invest in a Koolatron cooler for your car. I love mine!

Carry food with you.

Use Find Me Gluten Free Apps.

You can do this. Europe is better at gluten-free than here, for pete's sake, so do not worry about it.

 

Go, girl, go!!!  :D

 

My Rule #1: Don't let celiac define you or confine you!

 

Congrats on this awesome opportunity.

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IH's #1 is also mine.  I used to allow my health conditions control my life.  How liberating to have taken back that control!

 

I would do it without question.  We travel regularly to Europe and find it easier there than here to deal with celiac disease.  You may have serious regrets if you do not do it and wonder why later on.  You can and you must do what feel you need to do!  Go and have the time of your life.  :D

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I'm flattered you think I sound young! ;) No, I'm 47. I'm not sure that qualifies anymore...

 

My main concern about the trip, aside from not being able to find food, is that my last Big Assignment to Italy resulted in my diagnosis. I'm fairly sure I picked up an enterovirus that triggered the symptoms, leading me to find that I'd had celiac for years and had complete villous atrophy. I haven't been right since, aside from a week over Christmas, and so I'm leery. Last time I was in the UK I picked up a bug (or so I thought, maybe it was the gluten) that made me really, really sick.

 

Last time I was in France I lived on Powerbars. I don't think I can do that again.

I am 55 this year so 47 is young, baby! Ha,ha!

I have to tread carefully because all my friends here have given you good advice. However, I really understand your concerns. I was very sick at diagnosis and forged on ahead and went to Europe (UK) and did fairly well until that 2009 trip when I went haywire. It is so not fun to be in Europe and away from known medical care when you are sick. I am more cautious now but still travel. But it takes a lot of planning and I use the insurance as a safety net in case something happens. I wouldn't travel without it. Plus, we rent cars and if there is an accident, it could get ugly with the money end. By having this insurance, it really does provide some peace of mind.

If it were me, I would plan on going but if you are still somewhat symptomatic and not feeling robust when the time to leave comes near, I would consider not going. Travel is difficult and requires energy, especially if you are going to more than a couple of places. I do not let Celiac define me BUT I plan trips differently to give me some rest time also and am vigilant with food. Europe is easier because people know what it is over there. I eat healthy and keep it plain if in doubt and have not been glutened......except for once in Liverpool. The first damn night there, in a cafe that boasted gluten-free options. UGH! It was cc because I just ate fish and veggies. But the rest of the 2 weeks went fine. I would not want to eat power bars all the time either........that would not sit well with me as I need to eat real food.

Check with your company about health insurance while over there. They should cover an employee while there, without it costing you out of pocket if you need medical care. Also make sure you have a well stocked first aid kit with all the necessities that a celiac could want while away.

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I agree with Gem about being sure you feel good enough to travel internationally.

 

However, I said "Go for it" because I was thinking that  if you do not say yes now, you may lose the opportunity.

If down the road, things change, well, you can decline then. I would hate to see you balk at it out of fear you might not feel

well enough in 5 months.

 

Just wanted to clarify my thinking on the "Yeah, just do it!" thinger. lol :D

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I understand your fear and hesitation.  I'm planning a road trip for this spring and I'm terrified as well.  I'll be staying in 5 different cities and I've been researching like crazy... possible restaurants, grocery stores, etc.  It's a pain in the arse.  When I first started all of the planning I almost didn't even want to go.  But I know if I let this damn Celiac monster thing control and ruin my life I'll be pissed off about it for the rest of my life.  I think you should seize the opportunity.  You've got 5 months to really plan it out and also to do everything you possibly can for yourself to get to your healthiest place possible.

 

I recently read a quote - that of course now I can't find - but it went something like, Victory is not about being the fastest or the strongest, victory goes to the one who is best prepared. 

 

Feel the fear... do it anyways... have a great time... learn lots... and give yourself a big victory celebration when you get back!

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I always though 47 (yup, I'm that too) was halfway to dead. Thanks for the clarification Irish  :lol: I will have to rethink things now......

 

I just wanted to add that an assignment like that sounds like a real career booster.  I would try to go for sure, you have to get back in the game at some point and this sounds like your point!!!

 

Colleen

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Oh gosh, I almost forgot.  There is a member, name is Anti-Soprano, and I believe she travels a lot for work.  She could help you with the ins and outs of grabbing quick meals and meetings involving food etc.  Shoot her a pm if you think she might be able to help.

 

Colleen

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I understand your fear and hesitation.  I'm planning a road trip for this spring and I'm terrified as well.  I'll be staying in 5 different cities and I've been researching like crazy... possible restaurants, grocery stores, etc.  It's a pain in the arse.  When I first started all of the planning I almost didn't even want to go.  But I know if I let this damn Celiac monster thing control and ruin my life I'll be pissed off about it for the rest of my life.  I think you should seize the opportunity.  You've got 5 months to really plan it out and also to do everything you possibly can for yourself to get to your healthiest place possible.

 

I recently read a quote - that of course now I can't find - but it went something like, Victory is not about being the fastest or the strongest, victory goes to the one who is best prepared. 

 

Feel the fear... do it anyways... have a great time... learn lots... and give yourself a big victory celebration when you get back!

 

Thanks everyone! I am going to do it, even if it is two weeks - it's just two weeks. People have been lost in the wilderness and lived that long on just water. Even if I don't eat anything (a distinct possibility considering the pace - there isn't time to go to well-researched restaurants, it's pretty much get food where you can kind of a deal, and will be traveling with others who like to work up to the last possible minute before places all close) I will survive it. Maybe even come back with my summer bikini body. Haha.

 

Now I just need to figure out if my mini rice cooker can do Euro power.

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Thanks everyone! I am going to do it, even if it is two weeks - it's just two weeks. People have been lost in the wilderness and lived that long on just water. Even if I don't eat anything (a distinct possibility considering the pace - there isn't time to go to well-researched restaurants, it's pretty much get food where you can kind of a deal, and will be traveling with others who like to work up to the last possible minute before places all close) I will survive it. Maybe even come back with my summer bikini body. Haha.

 

Now I just need to figure out if my mini rice cooker can do Euro power.

SO glad you've decided to go!! 

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Yesss! So glad you've decided to go. Five months is a long time to research and prepare, especially with a forum as active as this to help you :) Where are you going in Europe? I'm sure there will be locals on here who can help you. I am in England and have noticed that a lot of packaged foods from the rest of Europe are pretty clear on their gluten labelling (Spain springs to mind) and Italy is supposed to be very good at it as well. I *think* I remember reading somewhere that in Italy it's illegal to add wheat/flour/gluten to products unless absolutely necessary (will try and find the article - it may have been France...very helpful of me) so y'know, that's good too :D 

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Yesss! So glad you've decided to go. Five months is a long time to research and prepare, especially with a forum as active as this to help you :) Where are you going in Europe? I'm sure there will be locals on here who can help you. I am in England and have noticed that a lot of packaged foods from the rest of Europe are pretty clear on their gluten labelling (Spain springs to mind) and Italy is supposed to be very good at it as well. I *think* I remember reading somewhere that in Italy it's illegal to add wheat/flour/gluten to products unless absolutely necessary (will try and find the article - it may have been France...very helpful of me) so y'know, that's good too :D

OH PLEASE find that article!! We went to Italy last summer and I gorged on pasta and beer and pizza. Of course, the whole time I thought my symptoms were because I never really at all that stuff that much. 

 

We are maybe going back this summer. I know Italy is gluten friendly for sure, but would love to read the article!

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Hi there, I think it is absolutely fab that you have decided to grab this opportunity of a lifetime- I also travel a lot for work and I am already crapping myself with worry about the ins and outs of international travel- I do feel your worry, especially if you happen to be among non celiacs, it is tricky.

However, I am also in Europe - well, live in Scotland but travel often to Spain, Italy, Germany etc- I also speak all these languages and if you need help I would be delighted to lend a hand.. Just get in touch.

I for my part are travelling next week to Louisiana and am preparing a bag with a bit of food in case I'm stuck (a couple of tins of tuna, rice cakes, a packet of bread) and something fabulous someone suggested here on this forum A ONE PERSON FOREMAN GRILL! One can always buy a bit of fruit, or a piece of chicken, a bag of salad... And eat before you leave the hotel... Remember plugs are different in Europe,

Wish me luck!! I will let you know how it went.

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PS >>47 is YOUNG. 

bless your little heart (says the 48 year old)  :)

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Thanks everyone! I am going to do it, even if it is two weeks - it's just two weeks. People have been lost in the wilderness and lived that long on just water. Even if I don't eat anything (a distinct possibility considering the pace - there isn't time to go to well-researched restaurants, it's pretty much get food where you can kind of a deal, and will be traveling with others who like to work up to the last possible minute before places all close) I will survive it. Maybe even come back with my summer bikini body. Haha.

 

Now I just need to figure out if my mini rice cooker can do Euro power.

you'll most likely need a converter,,,,,,,like this.

 

http://www.amazon.com/EU-PLUG-i-Trek-European-Plug-Adapter/dp/B0012S304W/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1391907758&sr=8-3&keywords=european+us+adapter

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Yesss! So glad you've decided to go. Five months is a long time to research and prepare, especially with a forum as active as this to help you :) Where are you going in Europe? I'm sure there will be locals on here who can help you. I am in England and have noticed that a lot of packaged foods from the rest of Europe are pretty clear on their gluten labelling (Spain springs to mind) and Italy is supposed to be very good at it as well. I *think* I remember reading somewhere that in Italy it's illegal to add wheat/flour/gluten to products unless absolutely necessary (will try and find the article - it may have been France...very helpful of me) so y'know, that's good too :D

IThe last time I was in Spain, I even bought gluten free snacks and sweeties in motorway service station shops... I was really impressed!

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I'm searching for it... Wish I'd read it properly and saved it now! In the meantime here's what Coeliac UK says about travel - EU food labelling is the same as the UK's and it's easy to understand. https://www.coeliac.org.uk/gluten-free-diet-and-lifestyle/holidays-and-travel/ 

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Hi All,

Before I was gluten free I applied to teach abroad in Berlin for 5 weeks and my husband and I planned a trip to Italy before settling down in Germany for the span of the class.  I was terrified going that far out of my comfort zone gluten free, but I was totally fine!  I did get hungry and/or frustrated a few times, but I think that's fair given what I got in return (mainly the courage and confidence that I can survive celiac in most if not all situations!)  In Germany, breakfast and half of the lunches were provided by our housing accommodations and we were on our own for the rest.  I also traveled to Amsterdam, Dresden, and Leipzig when I was there.  I was only slightly glutened twice from CC by the hotel we were staying at- who did not understand gluten free. About half way through I just stopped eating there altogether and got my own food from the grocery store.  We had a fridge, but nothing else. Every other restaurant I went to (and there were a LOT of them) was totally fine.

 

Where are you going?  If to any of the places I mentioned- let me know.  For the person traveling to Italy, I hope you're going to Florence!  Oh, the food in Florence!!!  Here's a book that I found extremely helpful:http://www.gfguideny.com/homegfguideitaly.html  It outlines all the restaurants and hotels that understand gluten-free.  Although none of my three hotels were in that book, they all provided me with a gluten-free breakfast when I wrote them in advance of my arrival.  There are also books for Spain and France.  

 

Are you going to one city or several?  If I was going to be abroad for 2 weeks, I would pack the biggest bag possible and take enough food for maybe one meal a day (like a bar of some kind or a packet of gluten-free oatmeal that you just need hot water for). That would make me feel more secure, especially given that you said the pace will be non-stop. But that bag may be difficult if you're running all over the place. You may also talk to the other people going with you (if possible) to let them know that you will need some extra time to secure safe food for yourself if someone else is creating a schedule. Sometimes fruit stands and grocery stores are only open during daytime outside the big cities. I'm not sure if making that request would be kosher, given the situation, but you can decide.  Once you know where you are staying you can email the hotel(s) and inquire about microwaves, fridge access, and meals.  Some hotels will have communal fridges and microwaves.  

 

They have restaurant cards in just about every language that you can carry with you if you are going to a restaurant that is unfamiliar with gluten-free: http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/italian/  I used mine a couple of times with success.

 

There are also a lot of people blogging about traveling abroad as celiacs.  So also search the web!

 

Best of Luck to you!  You can do this :)

Shellie

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My situation is sort of opposite of yours. I live in Japan and have only been to the US once since going gluten free. I found it very stressful! One thing I did was make sure my hotels all had a fridge and a microwave or access to a microwave. Here in Japan silicone steamers are very popular. In the steamer (put it in the microwave) you can cook eggs, veggies, meats, whatever. I bought a small "kitchen set" (cutting board, cutlery, etc) and carried that around with me. At the market I got food and cooked everything in my hotel. There are many types but something like this:

 

http://www.mastrad.us/produits-list.php?fam=cuiss&isfam=0&cat=papil

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I've been overseas plenty of times, and have two adapters, but I'm concerned I'll blow up my rice cooker using one. I had an immersion boiler that I ruined trying to use in Europe with one of those...

 

But thanks for the advice. I'll definitely go with a bag full of food - just in case.

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