Zach has always lived a life unscripted, chasing adventure and longing to travel this world’s far corners. A diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes in 2013 did little to dampen his spirit. Though diabetes can be physically and emotionally demanding, Zach refuses to be held back by his diagnosis and continues to travel, chasing waves, following bands and living life on his own terms. Through Travelbetic, Zach hopes to challenge the stereotypes about type 1 diabetes and inspire others to overcome life’s obstacles and lead a healthy life through travel and adventure as well as raise awareness about type 1 diabetes and debunk common myths surrounding the disease.
Before diabetes, Zach cruised through life as if he were invincible, hucking himself fearlessly into every exciting escapade he could dream up, giving little regard to physical health or well being. Then, on his 22nd birthday his life changed forever. After two blurry days lying in bed, nearly unconscious, Zach was rushed to the emergency room. Doctors immediately recognized the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis and diagnosed him with type 1 diabetes. Zach and his family were distraught and confused, the general understanding of type 1 was that only children were diagnosed, this obviously wasn’t true and so he geared up to take over the job of his pancreas, administering multiple insulin injections everyday for the rest of his life.
Faced with his own mortality Zach had a choice, he could heed the caution counseled by his health care team and live a relatively dormant life in order to ensure proper care of this incurable disease, or he could see diagnosis with diabetes as a challenge and continue his adventurous ways exploring the world and pushing his boundaries. Zach chose the latter and has adapted his diabetes care to fit his life instead of the other way around. Diabetes served as a wake up call for Zach, a realization that it is up to him to take care of his body, his temple for his soul. Since diagnosis he has adopted a low carb diet, taken up a daily yoga practice and made exercise a priority.
Zach no longer feels that sense of invincibility. Diabetes constantly reminds him that death is very real and that every day is not promised. But he believes that death is not to be marveled at, instead, the very fact that we are alive is the marvel and we must take advantage of the time we are given. We must “not go gentle into that good night [we must] rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Through Travelbetic.com, Zach challenges common misconceptions about the limitations diabetes places on an individual and offers encouragement and tips for other diabetics to get out into the world and challenge themselves and their personal limits. Zach believes adventure has a healing power far greater than any traditional medicine. Adventure trains us to expect and accept mishaps and manage risk, it teaches us that shortcomings and tremendous challenges are inevitable and helps us to feel less victimized by our situation.