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Uncle Traveling Matt ... Sort Of.

This guy rules, because he's super laid back and he ROCKS those green shorts.In the last few years, I've done a considerable amount of traveling, and this fall and winter will have me gone every week until mid-December.  This means a lot of air travel.  And trains.  And plenty of not-being-home. (But thankfully, Birdy and her daddy are enjoying some quality time together.)

I wish I was a more fluid traveler (maybe I should try a boat?).  But sadly, I am no Uncle Traveling Matt.  That guy was able to tool around on his little Muppet bicycle and explore the land of the Silly Creatures, never giving much of a care about how he got there or what he packed.  He was mostly concerned about sending postcards to Gobo.

Me?  I'm a maniac.  I am a fastidious packer for all of my trips.  I used to bring a gigantic bag with enough socks and underpants to outfit a minimally-clad army, but I've learned to streamline the process in the last few years, and as a result, it's always an exercise in "What did I forget?"  Of course, I don't play the "What did I forget" game until I'm about to walk out the door, or while I'm on that anxiety-inducing ride to the airport, where I convince myself that I left my cell phone/pump/license/arm/house keys at home and I have to keep checking, repeatedly, to ensure the safety of these items.  (The arm is easy to check for, thankfully. I just waggle it around a bit while I search through my bag for the other stuff.)

What always trip me up are the health-centric decisions.  Whether I'm in Philadelphia for two days or in Los Angeles for five, I bring back-ups of my back-ups.  Three day trip?  Three new infusion sets.  Three bottles of test strips.  A brand-new bottle of insulin.  The in-case-of-pump-failure insulin pen.  And let's not forget the corneal abrasion army of tools, including my (pass me my walker) Muro 128 gel, numbing drops in case my eye rips, and a sleep mask if all hell breaks loose.  

All this crap does not a light suitcase make.  

And then there's the mental dance of when to change the time setting on my pump. (When I'm traveling across time zones, I tend to change my pump as soon as we take off.  There's no rhyme or reason to this, but it's my routine.)  I also keep a close watch on my CGM graph, because it's almost comical to watch it SPIKE up after apologizing my way through the security checkpoints.  And then there's the constant water consumption and the airplane Jane Fonda'ing, all in pursuit of staying healthy while traveling.  

I seem like a crazy person, with all the planning ahead and bringing-of-stuff.  But I can't help it - it's the combination of my type 1 and my type A personality (would that be the Type D personality?).  It's part of my travel routine that I can't deviate from.  Regardless of where I'm going, all this health stuff comes along with me.  (And it always tries to steal peanuts from the flight attendants.)  It makes for a long mental packing list.  It makes me test the limits of airline carry on policies.  It probably puts me on a no-fly list in some circumstances.

But then again, I'm one of the Silly Creatures.


I had a biology teacher in high school who looked exactly like Uncle Traveling Matt. I had a little trouble focusing in class. ;)

I feel the same way- we are headed to NOLA today and I have double the diabetes supplies I might need, a jammed full carryon and god knows how many extras that I randomly tucked into my suitcase while I was packing,, at the last minute! Diabetes always seems to come with baggage :-)

When I travel I have the same issues. I want to keep my stuff close to me.

There is one more travel concern..... It does not fit in a bag and it is not checked by TSA.

Traveling alone kinda freaks me out. Not having my husband or someone around me that would know that I have diabetes and would be able help me if needed.

A few years ago you shared a story about running through the Airport (spain or something?). You told the story of trying to get to your airplane with a low. And how you had to communicate in a differant language.

We can call it Diabetes Baggage.

You are a very PUNNY woman/mom/writer/PWD!

Traveling with this disease is no treat and you are a true warrior for taking it all on IMHO, even with the great daddy support.

Yes, you should definitely see if a boat would provide a more 'fluid' experience...


Very interesting post. Definitely gives me some new perspective on traveling that I don't think I appreciated. I'm such a simple packer. I can't remember the last time I checked a bag. Lately I've just been trying to get away with my computer bag. Thanks for giving me some perspective that will help me be a little kinder to others who have different packing needs.

I still haven't figured out how to deal with time zones. My worst hypo ever (32) was in the middle of the night when I went to China (16 hour time difference -- 8 hours if you think in the opposite direction), and I didn't have a clue as to what to do with my basals. All I could think of was the can of Pringle's in the corner, so I ate them, and in the morning, my roommate indignantly asked "Did you HAVE to eat potato chips in the middle of the night?" Well, yeah! When I went to Nepal, I left my basals alone for 3 days and then changed them, and that worked a lot better. And when I went to San Diego (Hi, Kerri!) I had a HUGE carry on with way too many diabetes supplies that DID fit under the seat -- better too many than too few! :-)

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