Guest Blog Post by Jeremy Hyman of - The Useless Pancreas
Hello Useless Pancreas readers!

I am honored to have been asked to write blog posts for a site like this, one I wish had been around when I decided to drop everything and travel the globe.  My travels have taken me many places around the United States and throughout the world. I hope through these blog posts, I will be able to share some experiences, provide guidance, and answer any questions about traveling with Type 1 diabetes.

A Little Bit About Me

My name is Jeremy Hyman and I am approaching my 11 year diaversery (diabetic anniversary, for those not fluent in diabetic lingo).  But, I would think many of the readers on this site would be either Type 1 diabetics or know someone close to them who is a T1D.

We all have our stories about how we were diagnosed and while they are all unique to each of us, there usually are many similarities and pieces to our stories that will resonate with all of us.  For me, it was a lot to process when first being diagnosed and it was as much of a mental shock to the body as it was a physical one.  While I knew my life was going to be forever changed, I knew right away I would do whatever possible to not let this disease slow me down.

Just months after being diagnosed in the spring of 2010, I graduated from Syracuse University and then in June of 2010, I ventured off for a 60-day road trip around the United States, where I visited all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.  After the road trip, in the fall of 2010 I went to get my Master’s degree in Sports Management from Ithaca College, where I was still using insulin pens and sticking myself at every meal.  Following that year, I moved to Washington D.C. and took a job in digital media in the NBA and WNBA with the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics.

By this time, I gave up the insulin pens and moved on to the Omnipod, which I still wear today. I spent the next seven years of my life primarily traveling around the U.S. with the Wizards, where I would start to learn what traveling as a diabetic was all about. It was an amazing job and one that required a lot of time and energy. It was also a job that was about as far from a traditional 9-5 as one could find, which meant crazy hours, crazy travel, crazy eating schedules, and a life that was probably not the most ideal for a Type 1 diabetic.

But, as I mentioned above, I wouldn’t let the disease prevent me from living the life I wanted.  I then left that job in 2018 for maybe the only thing that would actually force me to leave: The chance to travel the world.

My Trip Around The World

Before 2018, I had done a lot of domestic travel around the United States, both for business and for pleasure, and had a bit of experience traveling internationally.  But, I wanted to do something more and something bigger. There were so many places around the world I wanted to see, I knew it would probably take me a lifetime to see them all if I remained employed.
So, I left my job in the summer of 2018 and decided I would take one year to see as much of the world as I could.

This wasn’t a decision made on a whim, but one that I had planned for months. There were a lot of factors I had to consider (financial, health, logistics) before deciding to leave my job and travel, and it took me a while to make sure everything was in place for my departure.  Once I was able to secure all of the details, I left the U.S. in September of 2018 destined for Tanzania, which would be my first country of over 30 I would travel to for the next year.

Before I left, I decided I would write about my travel experiences through a Type 1 diabetes blog, which I launched in 2018.  That’s when was born.

I wanted to accomplish a few things with this blog:   
  • The first, was to showcase all of the things that were possible despite being a Type 1 diabetic. Through  the many pictures and stories, I did my best to highlight as many of my adventures as possible. I actually still have about 40 percent of the blog to publish, which I’ll do over the next few months. 
  • The second, was to provide tips and guidance on different techniques I used in different countries in terms of handling my disease. From searching for endocrinologists in different countries, to finding where I could buy affordable insulin, to things as simple as figuring out if a hotel or an Airbnb had a refrigerator where I could store my insulin, I tried to convey as much as I could about all of the things I was dealing with along the way.
Along with the blog, I launched an Instagram page to share some of my pictures and videos in different places. I came up with a pretty simple idea to bring a white board with me every where I went, test my blood sugar, and write that number on the board to sort of mark that place in a personal way.

"Here I am, this is my blood sugar reading, and this is another awesome location crossed off my bucket list."

Before the trip, I had a custom ‘Type 1’ hat designed which I would wear every day on my trip around the world. It wasn’t just a fashion statement or a branding opportunity, but an additional method to alert people that I am diabetic (I wore medical ID’s too, but the hat made for better pics).  It made for some interesting conversations when I had to ask strangers to take pictures of me holding up
this white board with what looked to them like some random number on it. But, I was happy with how they turned out and the many pictures that now exist on IG at @Type1_Travels.

While I shared a lot in my own personal blog, I feel there’s a lot more I can offer and I hope to be able to serve as some kind of a Type 1 diabetic traveling guru for anyone with questions, fears, or concerns about traveling as a diabetic.  I’ll use this forum to provide the knowledge that I have and I will try and be as open as possible, so please feel free to leave comments and ask questions about anything surrounding traveling with Type 1.

I look forward to this opportunity and virtually meeting many more like-minded Type 1’s that have a similar passion for traveling like myself!

Keep those sugar levels steady!

March 03, 2021 — Celeste Litt