August is coming to a close and I thought I should get one post in before September rolls around. So, due to the lack of new MS research or interesting articles that I’ve been able to find… I thought I’d write a little bit about my recent vacation.
At the beginning of this month, my family and my boyfriend’s family embarked on our first trip to Europe. Ten days, six cities and four countries: a whirlwind vacation, but so much fun. We went with a tour group and were bused to all the famous sites. I saw the Alps, the Eiffel Tower, the Vatican and the Colosseum; explored London by riding the Underground and toured Venice from the tapestry seat of a Gondola.
And the best part… I was able to stick to my diet the whole time!
Okay, so maybe that’s not the best part – but I was nervous about my food options abroad (especially in Italy). And I still have a hard time advertising my dietary restrictions – it makes me feel like I’m being difficult. So I prepared for the worst and packed a bunch of Lara and Kind bars. However, the tour guide was a huge help and my fears were unfounded.
In London, we ate at a pub that served a gluten-free fish & chips option; at the Moulin Rouge, the head waiter talked to me and then had the chef prepare an alternative gluten/dairy free meal. In Italy, the tour director gave me a small piece of paper where he wrote “Ciliaca Lattosia” and told me to carry it wherever I went.
This trip took me out of my comfort zone on so many levels. I traveled to different countries, experienced different cultures and learned what it felt like to not speak the local language! But it also helped me become more assertive and confident when it came to my food. It put me in the position where I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t order the “safe” salad and then eat something later at home. Eating at the restaurant was my only option and I had to make sure I got a filling, gluten/dairy free meal.
On the last night of the trip, my boyfriend’s mom snapped a picture of me with my sign. “This is how we’ll always remember you on this trip.” And that’s just fine with me.