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. I’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, I’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 I’d never be able to communicate my dietary needs or ask the right questions about unfamiliar dishes (it’s hard enough in English – how could I do it in Hungarian?). While I still pack some celiac-safe snacks, I’ve found resources that take the worry out of travel (well, dietary worries, anyway), and allow me to savor a destination.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve visited Peru, Easter Island, Chile, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, and Spain. I travel to Canada on a regular basis, and I’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 – restaurants, shops, products, hotels, tour operators – that have made traveling a pleasure (or, occasionally, a pain). I’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. I’ve got plenty of secrets to share.
There are many wonderful websites that help people adjust to – and enjoy – a gluten-free diet. Some feature recipes and luscious photos featuring the results. You’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 they’ve made for me). Instead, you’ll find information that every gluten-adverse globetrotter should have.
I want to hear about the places you’ve discovered, too. You can reach me at glutenfreeguidebook [at] gmail [dot] com.