Community: a few observations from my recent travels in America

Observations from my travels

A few observations from my recent travels in America…

I’ve just returned from four weeks in the United States. David took me on an adventure for my 50th birthday. It was #bloodyfabulous. A marvellous time was had. Especially by yours truly. To be honest, I’m feeling very loved up and very spoilt.

We started our time away in New York before heading to Washington DC for a few days, and then onto the fall colours of New England in Martha’s Vineyard and Boston. And then, just so it wasn’t ALL about the east – a couple of days in the Napa Valley en route home.

“With age, comes wisdom. With travel, comes understanding.” – Sandra Lake

Along the way I connected with some of you; AIPers whom I’ve met online over the years. And it was an absolute joy to have this opportunity. You’re a pretty special bunch.

I used to travel a fair amount. But, for a variety of reasons, it’s been a while. This trip has reminded me of why I love it so much. I’m hopeful it won’t be quite so long until the next trip!

And I made a few observations, too… Nothing too deep, I know. Just things that this little Australasian AIPer never quite realised before…

Rather watch a video? Here’s one I prepared earlier…

 

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An AIP way of life makes travel easier

In my head, I split my life into ‘before AIP’ and ‘after AIP’. I really do this. I’m not embellishing.

Before AIP, I didn’t know what would happen with my Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) symptoms from one day to the next. I didn’t know if I’d experience a flare causing acute pain in an uncomfortable place resulting in difficulty walking with any level of ease. Before AIP, I was fatigued. All the time. (only, I thought that was my ‘normal’). Before AIP, it didn’t occur to me that my diet may in some way contribute to my horrible, ugly and shameful skin issues. Before AIP, travel was a bit of a lottery.

Now, after AIP, I’m pleased to say that I can go 4-weeks travelling in the U.S. without flaring. Well, if I’m completely honest – there was one wobbly day when I could feel my HS ‘stuff’ rearing its head but I knocked that sucker down by upping my leafy greens and getting an early night. After AIP, I’m far more aware of my body and what I can and can’t tolerate. I know my limits. After AIP, I set boundaries – both in terms of my diet and my ‘downtime’. These help me to stay on track.

Living an AIP way of life has given me a framework for diet and lifestyle choices that help with travel, too

It’s good to get outside your comfort zone

I’ve been living my AIP way of life here in Sydney for 6 years. I didn’t really recognise what a bubble my wee world is or quite how lucky I am that I have a partner who embraces my weird and wonderful lifestyle so completely. That support is so important to my success.

 
OBSERVATIONS FROM TRAVELS

And while I make a point of fine-tuning and tweaking my personal protocol as a matter of course, given my geography, my perspective has always been very ‘down under’ in nature.

You’d think that AIPing in Australia and New Zealand would be pretty similar to AIPing in the northern hemisphere. But, I’ve learned that’s not always the case.

And, as with so many things in life, it can be the little things that trip you up.

When you travel to another country – even one as relatively similar as the US is to Australia – you are forced to step outside of your comfort zone. This is especially true when you’re on a healing protocol. You can’t help but look at the world a little differently when this happens.

Your perspective changes. You become more aware of how others live because you are experiencing it first hand.

And, given I work with Aipers from around the globe, this was an important lesson.

We have a REALLY special community

This AIP community of ours is #bloodyfabulous. I’m so ridiculously grateful for all the positive changes following an AIP way of life has brought with it – but the most unexpected and wonderfully warm and fuzzy-inducing bonus has been the people.

When I first embarked on my ‘suck it and see’ AIP experiment all those moons ago, I had no idea the sheer number of incredible women (and the odd dude!) I would come to happily and proudly call my tribe. You have become so important to my life and enhanced it in ways I could not have imagined.

Here I am with just a few of you #bloodyfabulous peeps!

What’s with all the potatoes?

No, really. That’s not me being facetious. I’m actually completely serious. Fries. Home fries. With everything.

Now, I’m not the trans-fat police. Not by quite some stretch. But all of these nightshades cooked in who knows what were a bit of a surprise. Especially at breakfast.

I’m pretty lucky. My AIP way of life has evolved to the point that gluten-free is my only real hard-line in the sand when it comes to dining out while travelling, but even I struggled with all those potatoes at breakfast. Not least because American portion sizes are BIG! Supersized everything!

Different strokes for different folks and all that good stuff…

A few food-oriented musings that occupied my mind:

  • ‘Good coffee’ means different things to different people. And, if you know me at all, you know that my coffee is important to me. The disappointment of a poorly made coffee was sadly a semi-regular occurrence. I was in the habit of ordering an Americano – but the quality varied considerably. Can somebody educate me on exactly what an Americano should be…?
  • Where‘s the salt? Our little travelling group was forever salting our food. Not because it wasn’t salted enough, but rather because it didn’t seem to be salted at all! And then, we’d add more. Fortunately, I travel with my trusty Olsson’s travel salt. What a lifesaver!
  • Why must the plate always be FULL to the very brim? As a gluten-free AIP-esque girl who doesn’t want potatoes with her brekkie, I was in the habit of ordering an omelette for my first meal of the day. I’m a-ok with eggs and this allowed me some wiggle-room with add ons. But! Wait staff really struggled with having empty space on the plate… no home fries or toast? How about a fruit salad?
  • I found that serving staff took my gluten-free status very seriously but didn’t always have a thorough understanding of which foods contain gluten. In one very high-end restaurant (the night of my birthday), I was served a dish with barley as a core ingredient. And the server tried to tell me that barley didn’t contain gluten…Vigilance is paramount.

Consider a Digital Detox…

I took a digital detox for 2 of my 4 weeks abroad. I removed all social media from my phone (so that I wasn’t tempted to check-in!) Honestly, I think this was one of my better decisions.

Staying off-line allowed me to engage more fully in my travel experience. I was more present with my travelling companions. I could soak up more of what was going on around me.

Interestingly, I could actually feel the cortisol spike when I signed back in on returning home. Something to think about!

This trip was a very special one. I will treasure the memories.

Back to real life, now…

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Comments (2)

Your comments are pretty accurate. I live in Canada and have lived in and visited Australia. Potatoes are the least of our worries in terms of food out on the plate. I often say that there is no real food in the US. You have to watch out for cheese product and other assorted foods made to taste like the real thing. My food lifestyle takes me to the part of the menu that is whole food. If I’m really stuck, I try to order vegan. But the best strategy I found was living out of our camper and cooking most of the food myself. Grilled meat on salad is still the best and easiest meal to order or make while on the road.

Yes! Grilled protein and salad is my ‘go-to’ safe option, too.
David REALLY struggled with all the cheese – especially at breakfast (dairy is not his friend).
It was an eye-opener!

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