Wellness babes and gents, I hope you are enjoying America’s birthday festivities in all the best ways. I am spending time in the country soaking up sunshine, cooking up delicious dishes and writing this post! This week I’m going to tell you a story about a time when I was forced to overcome my fear of traveling with numerous food intolerances.
Before the Lyme disease and autoimmune shenanigans, I was an adventurous person who loved to travel. My Lyme issues caused an autoimmune response that to this day I am healing from. My inflammation has made significant improvements but has not returned to normal yet. I have intolerances to numerous foods including gluten, dairy, egg white and spinach. I feel terrible if I accidentally eat any of these foods. Those reactions can last a few hours to a few days.
It’s not until you have food issues do you realize how much thought must go into doing just about anything. Eating out, work events and travel are all more challenging when you can’t eat whatever is available.
I had a terrible fear of traveling anywhere because I didn’t want to feel sick and be away from home. I didn’t want to jeopardize my health and healing.
Then one day I was contacted by a company for a job. I wasn’t looking at the time but the company seemed pretty cool so I took the interview. The initial meeting went very well and they called me the next day asking if I could fly to Paris in two days to meet with the Founder of the company. This would have been a dream opportunity before getting sick but in that moment it sounded like my worst nightmare.
Paris!? They wanted to send me to the land of cheese and butter in country that spoke another language. How would I articulate my food intolerances? Would restaurants hate me and think I am a high maintenance American? These are the crazy thoughts that went through my head.
My boyfriend gently reminded me that Paris was not a third world country and most people spoke English. I thought it’s only for two days. I could survive a weekend in a new city filled with cheese. Challenge accepted. This would be the ultimate test.
I went to Whole Foods and stocked up on every clean travel snack there was. This included Lara Bars, roasted chickpeas, raw nuts and dried fruits. I even brought a home prepared meal on the plane ride there. Even with all my snacks I was feeling very uneasy and pretty much had a meltdown before I left for the airport.
The good news is I made it to Paris and quickly learned that everyone spoke English. The restaurants and the hotel were extremely accommodating with my food issues and I was able to eat without any problem.
My meeting was on Saturday afternoon leaving me all of Saturday evening and Sunday to enjoy my quick trip. I checked out the Eiffel Tower, took a lovely river tour and spent all of Sunday checking out a few touristy sites. I walked all over Paris with a physical map because I didn’t have an international phone plan.
Moral of the story: I survived my first solo international trip with multiple food intolerances, 48 hours to prepare and no wifi in Paris. It was a cool experience and I had a lot of fun once I got there. While I prefer not to travel too much while I am still healing, it’s good to know that I can make it work if I want to.