It hit me a few months ago, while I was planning a trip to Peru, that much of my research is wasted after I return home. Iâ€™m a freelance travel writer, so my trips usually translate into magazine articles or guidebooks. But since 2004, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, Iâ€™ve devoted entire days to figuring out how to follow a gluten-free diet while on the road.
The first trips I took after my diagnosis saw me lugging an embarrassing number of gluten-free protein bars abroad. I assumed that Iâ€™d never be able to communicate my dietary needs or ask the right questions about unfamiliar dishes (itâ€™s hard enough in English â€“ how could I do it in Hungarian?). While I still pack some celiac-safe snacks, Iâ€™ve found resources that take the worry out of travel (well, dietary worries, anyway), and allow me to savor a destination.
Since my diagnosis, Iâ€™ve visited Peru, Easter Island, Chile, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, and Spain. I travel to Canada on a regular basis, and Iâ€™m often on the road in the US as well. I want to let others with celiac disease or gluten intolerance know about the discoveries â€“ restaurants, shops, products, hotels, tour operators â€“ that have made traveling a pleasure (or, occasionally, a pain). Iâ€™ve been writing guidebooks for a decade, and I know that the best ones are like trusted travel companions with an insider knowledge of local secrets. Iâ€™ve got plenty of secrets to share.
There are many wonderful websites that help people adjust to â€“ and enjoy â€“ a gluten-free diet. Some feature recipes and luscious photos featuring the results. Youâ€™re not going to find that here (unless I can convince some of my friends to share the secrets behind the fantastic gluten-free treats theyâ€™ve made for me). Instead, youâ€™ll find information that every gluten-adverse globetrotter should have.
I want to hear about the places youâ€™ve discovered, too. You can reach me at glutenfreeguidebook [at] gmail [dot] com.