Hello and welcome to Travelbetic, my blog about life and travels with type 1 diabetes. I hope to inspire other type 1s to step out of their comfort zone and not allow their condition to keep them from enjoying this precious life. Travel sets me free. It gives me perspective and clarity to see my path ahead and I wish to share that vision with you. This site isn’t just for diabetics, my ramblings and insights may prove interesting to anyone intrigued by adventure or curious about the obstacles faced by those with type 1 diabetes.
So who am I? Whats my story? How did Travelbetic come to be? My name is Zach Toth and I am a 24 year old marketing professional currently living in Galveston, TX. Aside from trotting the globe chasing waves, I enjoy live music, yoga and producing electronica music. Check out my artist page here www.ragydmusic.com.
When I was 14, my parents took me and my little brother to Costa Rica for our first international surf trip. Those warm pacific waves changed my life. Upon return to the States I begged my parents to uproot us from the grey concrete jungle of Houston and move to the beach. They eventually obliged and the rest is history. I have been surfing and chasing waves around the world ever since.
Anyone who has known me for awhile would tell you I was energetic, spontaneous and in great health. The first to jump at any opportunity for adventure and always living life to the fullest. So you can imagine the surprise amongst myself and those close to me when I went into diabetic ketoacidosis and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on my 22nd birthday.In the middle of my last year of college, deep in the care-free college party life, I had to make drastic changes. I switched from mostly fast food to an almost paleo diet, to lower my soaring A1C, quit drinking and rarely left my house. I lost 40 pounds in the previous months and had little energy to surf or go out. I distanced myself from many of my friends and began to feel lonely and depressed. My moods swung wildly as I fell into an uncertain future. Nagging at me was the thought of not being able to carry out all the crazy adventures in my head because I now had to carefully manage my diet and blood sugar and keep supplies and medications temperature regulated and close by all the time. Surfing became tricky and the idea of an extended backpacking trip seemed impossible.
With the help of my family I got my blood sugar under control and gained my energy back, feeling almost like my old self. My mother recently asked me, “do you ever feel like you did before you were diagnosed?” The answer is no. Diabetes is part of me now and it won’t let me be quite as care free as I was before. Not to mention I used to pee half as much as I do now.
But, in a way, type 1 diabetes has been a blessing in disguise. It is a reminder that our bodies are vessels for our souls and it is up to us to nurture them. To regulate what we consume and question the source of our nutrients. To practice moderation and patience. It is a constant reminder that life is not promised, that every person and every day are a blessing. Every finger prick and insulin injection is a sharp whisper in my ear, reminding me to do awesome things. Like start this blog!
Since my 22nd birthday I’ve surfed in Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico, hosteled and skied in Montreal and scored an artist badge to Wakarusa Music Festival. That nagging feeling of being held back by my diabetes is gone. Instead I feel motivated and inspired to live and love greater than before.
Having type 1 definitely adds a burden to many adventures. But with the right knowledge, gear and planning we can go anywhere and do anything this world offers. I am excited to share my experiences with you, both good and bad, in hopes that we can learn and grow together.
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