I’m back from Ireland. All of my nearest and dearest want to know all about my trip, which is completely reasonable, but I seem to be lacking the ability to tell a linear story at the moment. Blame it on … Continue reading
One of the cultural quirks of being an American is that we are not supposed to criticize anything associated with the republic for which we stand when we are abroad or when speaking to a non-American. Let’s flash back to … Continue reading
I know a lot of people who hate flying. I love it. I love entering airports and knowing that I am about to enter a capsule on one side of a map and end up on another. I take a … Continue reading
My wandering has always included being lost 90% of the time. As I try to navigate Dublin, a highly walkable and generally friendly city with a wide-reaching public transportation system, I find myself lost most of the time. I don’t care … Continue reading
Before my departure for Ireland, my grandmother slipped me a piece of yellow legal pad paper with the following inquiries (shown here in bold), and asked for a written response. In her neat, deliberate hand, she wanted to know why the … Continue reading
It was our last day in Killarney. My friend and I tapped into our inner nature enthusiasts and knew that it was time to go to Killarney’s star attraction: Killarney National Park. We decided against the horse and buggy ride … Continue reading
1. Fear that your epinephrine auto-injector will be confiscated when you fly
Being an upstanding citizen of the world, I don’t worry about a little thing like airport security, right? Testing my speed and agility while somewhat disrobing in line as TSA officials shout orders? Bring it! A machine that allows complete strangers to see right through my clothes? Do what you will! A pat down by an official allowed to put their hands wherever? Yawn. Even though I have steeled myself to certain indignities, one fear still remains: that airport security will confiscate my epinephrine auto-injector. Right until the last moment when I push my carry-on items through the x-ray machine, I cling to my medical alert necklace like it’s some sort of protective amulet, praying that my auto-injector will remain in my possession. So far, I’ve had no problems, and recently learned that according to TSA rules I should never have any while traveling in the United States. However, as I plan to travel outside of the US more and more, my lingering concern has been compounding. Have you ever worried that your important medications were going to be taken away by airport security? What has your experience been flying with an epinephrine auto-injector?
2. You end up drinking your dinner
We’ve all been there. That Thai restaurant with fabrics saturated with gorgeous colors, lilting music, and a deadly side of peanuts. That café with its deliciously wafting aromas, excited chatter, and allergen crossover from hell. That seemingly innocuous restaurant where the servers inform you that they just can’t guarantee your allergen-free safety. Whether it’s because you are too jetlagged to move or are traveling with a friend and don’t want to be “that person,” somehow you end up drinking your dinner. This could range from guzzling tea to gulping beer. People think you’re on a diet or really thirsty or an unadventurous eater, but really you’re just trying not to die. Share how you’ve dealt with a similar situation!
3. Peanuts on a Plane!
It’s a horrifying scene that plays over and over again for those among us with peanut allergies. The snack tray rolling through, a happy time for many, is nothing short of a nightmare. The flight attendants hand out small packs of nutty death, and we sweat bullets as the people around us carelessly open them, perhaps spill a few nuts about, and crunch on what feels like our nerves. Major air carriers warn that there may be peanut (a known top allergen) dust suspended in the air or on surfaces and that they can’t be held responsible. Translation: Fly at your own risk. Come again? Do you think airplane snacks should undergo an overhaul?
4. You find safe meals and you stick to them
In January of this year, when I was in Ireland, breakfast was literally the most important meal of the day because it was often the safest and only meal of the day. I’m not complaining. I discovered the sweet joy of raw milk (apologies to Louis Pasteur), devoured surprisingly well-spiced sausages, and found out that the Irish know what they’re doing with potatoes. But why was this the only meal that I was eating? Well, every hotel that I stayed in had just about the same breakfast. When I informed them of my food allergies during breakfast time, they informed me that I was safe. For some reason, finding allergen-free dinners both inside and outside of hotels always proved to be a challenge. For example, one evening in a Galway hotel, I told a waiter about my food allergies and asked if the restaurant could guarantee a nut-free meal. He responded, in a full Irish brogue, “Ooooh, I’d say you have a 50/50 chance, but the odds are in your favor!” Wink. I drank my dinner that evening (see #2) and the chips I was hoarding in my hotel room never tasted so good. Have you found one safe food or meal and stuck to it while traveling?
5. Your food allergies make for a conversation starter
Source (Pulp Fiction 1994)
Somehow, your allergies will probably make it into a conversation with random people you meet during your journeys. I find that the most popular one thus far has been about Pulp Fiction, the one movie that seemingly everyone has seen except me. However, it is mentioned so often that I know that there’s a scene with Uma Thurman getting stabbed in the heart with epinephrine. What does this turn into? A teachable moment that stretches into a conversation. Well, first of all, it’s an auto-injecting shot that goes into the thigh and can go straight through jeans… I know. Unintentionally sexy. How have your food allergies struck up conversation?