Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Traveling and Food Allergy

Traveling -- if you're like me, the idea of traveling to a new destination -- taking a vacation to a new spot-- starts a knot of anxiety in your stomach. How will the food be? What will we have to bring? Will there be supermarkets close? What can we ship to our hotel? What about the plane ride-- delays??? What kind of food is available there?
Plus a host of other questions depending on where you're going.
We often take the same type of vacation-- a cruise which offers us a variety of destinations; we've been to the Baltic, Alaska, Russia as well as Mexico and the Caribbean. All have been great and mostly the food situation has been fine-- safe, often made to order.
But what about traveling on a different scale: backpacking through Europe; taking a semester abroad. Those non-structured, freewheeling trips.
These seem like impossibilities for my child. Granted we are dealing with multiple allergies -- but our mantra, which we have oft repeated ( to many of you at conferences and events), is don't let your allergies stop you; don't let them define you.
But here we are, necessarily letting food allergies curtail activities. There really is no safe way for my child to study in a foreign country-- how would he eat? How could the program feed him or how could he feed himself? And IF we could figure out a way, a country, would his time there be all about food / safety and not the program?
So, again, there is that valley of acceptance of the limitations. It doesn't matter that he's not limited in A through X. He can't do Y and Z. And that's the tough part, the intractable part of dealing with food allergies -- of course you can't let them stop you from going, doing-- but you have to realize, at points, they DO stop you from going and doing.
Of course many many kids, people, have obstacles set before them that they have to overcome -- and this is no different-- in fact, in many ways food allergies are manageable in comparison with horrible diseases or other disabilities.
I'm not whining-- it's more acknowledging-- and hopefully moving on--that a door can shut and no amount of knocking is gonna get it open. But, as I've been taught my whole life-- one door closes and another one opens.
So perhaps our great experiences and explorations will occur a bit closer to home.

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