Over the last three years, I’ve done quite a bit of travel. A lot of it has been for fun, but much has been for work. Fortunately, a lot of the work stuff has coincided with school holidays, which has meant the family has travelled with me. It’s always lovely being able to add some family time at the end of conference time! But some of the travel has been on my own.

Just over two years ago when I went to Dubai for the IDF World Diabetes Congress, I didn’t even think twice about going alone. Of course there would be people I knew at the conference, but I was travelling solo. This was not a new thing for me: frequent interstate overnight trips for various meetings and conferences are all done solo.

Empire State Building on my desk

New York State of Mind.

In all honesty, this works really well for our family. There is no need to think about childcare and babysitting because Aaron is home with our daughter for the few days that I’m away. Even the two-day trip to Perth in October last year that involved a 5.30am flight out and a midnight flight back in wasn’t a problem when it came to kiddo arrangements, although the nightly Skype catch-ups were a nightmare with the time-zone changes!

Really, the biggest challenge for me when it comes to overnight travel used to be missing the family. Until recently, that is.

This year, I’ve had some hypos that have been pretty scary: a couple of white outs and another that resulted in paramedics being called (which I will write about soon). And these have made me a little nervous about being away overnight alone.  I presented at a conference in Paris in June and headed there to do that before joining my family for the rest of our break. That was the first time that I was concerned about being on my own while away.

I put in place a few things to make me (and the family I was leaving back home) a little happier. Fortunately, a wonderful friend was presenting at the same conference and staying at the same hotel. We had adjoining rooms and she kept an eye out for me. I did extra BGL checks and set a slightly higher BGL target for before bed and overnight.

Later this week I’m going to EASD in Barcelona, specifically to attend a summit for diabetes bloggers. When discussions about this started a couple of months ago, I was reluctant to commit until I knew that I wouldn’t be travelling alone.

I know that it is not reasonable for me to expect that I can be chaperoned every time I need to be away overnight and I am working on strategies to feel safe and secure when travelling alone.  Diabetes is a pain in the arse a lot of the time, but I am usually pretty good at just accepting it and getting on with things. But when there is fear and uncertainty, I absolutely hate and resent living with this condition. Feeling scared about something that ‘might’ happen frustrates me; it sends my imagination into overdrive as ‘what if’ scenarios play out in my mind.

Regardless, the travel bug has a much stronger hold on me than the hypo bug. So, I’ll keep planning and travelling and attending conferences. It’s part of my job and a passion as well. And that is reason enough to keep doing it.

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