How To Not Die On Your Honeymoon

As the wheels of our plane touched down in North Carolina at the end of our honeymoon, I gave myself a mental high-five and said “you did it!!!!”

I didn’t learn to surf.

I didn’t learn to hula dance.

I didn’t even go snorkeling in the tropical freezing cold Hawaiian waters.

No, I was proud of myself because I spent 9 days on vacation and didn’t die, or even go to the emergency room! I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic. It’s hard to be “out of my element” and stay safe in a new and faraway place when I have so many allergies and asthma. Also, I tend to get hurt a lot so just staying safe in general can be a challenge. Plus there are a lot of sharp things and cliffy places in Hawaii.

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So how do you stay safe while on vacation when you are deathly allergic to several foods? You make rules for yourself. You don’t break them no matter how tempting. You suck the life and spontaneity out of your honeymoon because your whole day/week/life is focused on “how is Courtney going to get her next meal?” But I’m worth it, right baby????? RIGHT BABY?!?!???????

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RULES

1. Only eat store bought food. No funky Hawaiian brands, only things I’ve eaten back home already. Going on an excursion that will keep you out of your hotel room all day? Pack a backpack full of snack food. I did this almost every day we were in Hawaii. I was really sick of snack food by day 6, but I was allergic reaction-free! Worth it.

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2. Have access to a kitchen. In order for rule number one to happen, you gotta have a kitchen. We were pumped to stay in a suite with a kitchen nicer than one in any house I’ve lived in. It was small, but the appliances were amazing! All stainless steel and in perfect condition. We even had a pizza cutter, cheese grater, and other oddly shaped kitchen tools that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. When we were out exploring the island during the day, the maids would come in and do our dishes. COME ON!!! I may have enjoyed that service more than Hawaii itself. (Kidding)(Not kidding at all)

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3. Trust no one. At one restaurant, the server swore she would get the chef to safely prepare me a meal if I would just tell her my food allergies. I was tempted, really tempted. How nice would it be to sit and have breakfast with my husband, both of us eating real meals together?! But I’ve played that game of Russian Roulette before. Sometimes it turns out fine and sometimes my throat starts closing and the waitress sprints back to the table screaming “oh my gosh I didn’t know <insert food name here> had <insert food allergy here> in it!!!!!!! I’m SO SORRY!” Sorry doesn’t pay my hospital or therapy bills, sweet pea. I’ll stick to the food I have stashed in my purse, thanks.


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The beautiful restaurant at our hotel where I got to sit and watch my husband eat some AMAZING dishes. Don’t worry, I really enjoyed my Greek yogurt and gold fish, too.

4. Don’t try new things. I never drink alcohol because I just don’t like the way it makes me feel. A few years ago I had two vodka cranberry’s and threw up for almost 10 hours. I even burst a blood vessel in my eye I was puking so violently. Alcohol (all kinds) just doesn’t sit well with me for some reason! Our first night in Hawaii, we decided to hang out at the pool and I figured I could try an alcoholic drink, surely it would be fine. Within ten minutes my lips swelled up (not the hot Angelina Jolie kind of swelling) and it looked like I had been stung by a bee. I don’t consider this a real allergic reaction, my breathing and throat were 100% fine, it was more just annoying.

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5. Carry all of your life-saving medical equipment with you. Because if you are totally prepared with all of your medicines, nothing is going to happen to you. It’s Murphy’s Law, I swear. This is a win win situation because it also allows you to wear a fanny pack while zip lining! What is sexier than a girl with a fanny pack stuffed with an inhaler, epi pen, benadryl, allergy eye drops, and chap stick? Nothing, nothing at all.

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See it? See the fanny pack? I felt like I was back in 1995. Ahhh fanny pack memories.

6. Don’t kiss your allergens. Errrr, don’t kiss your husband who has just eaten your allergens, to be more specific. With so much wonderful seafood at our hotel restaurant, we had to have periods of “no contact” to make sure Isaac didn’t kill me with a lobster kiss!

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how do you not kiss that face?

Those are my rules. I stuck by them and stayed alive, woohoo! Honestly, the worst/hardest parts were the times we had to spend in the airport and on the plane. My food options were extremely limited and I literally had to eat a Kit Kat bar and a bag of BBQ chips for dinner on the way back home. When traveling for almost 24 hours, there was not a lot I could do.

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We got home around noon on a Tuesday and by 1:30 I was sitting in Chipotle stuffing my face with a burrito bowl. How WONDERFUL it was to have that Mexican goodness in my body again. But this honeymoon trip gave me hope and made me feel more confident about traveling. We managed to have a GREAT time and didn’t let my food allergies inhibit our adventures. Here are a few shots from our trip:

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The top of Haleakala. We mountain biked 28 miles down the side of this volcano! Looks like Mars, doesn’t it?

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helicopter ride over West Maui and Molokai

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We got to sit up front with the pilot- so incredible

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IMG_5059 watching the tide roll in

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One of my favorite pictures from the trip- a baby humpback whale breaching!

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25 thoughts on “How To Not Die On Your Honeymoon

  1. The title of this blog post made me burst out laughing. Yes, travel is possible for those of us with multiple food allergies if we have access to a clean kitchen and suitable food. I’ve used UPS to ship kitchen supplies back and forth and even brought my own microwave and fridge if driving.

    Also, I heartily agree with your assessment of eating out– restaurants BELIEVE they understand food allergies but most often fail in their delivery. Most people and restaurants are clueless about how dangerous cross-contamination is and how to avoid it. This is why I don’t get excited when I see the new pizza place offering gluten-free crust– it’s being prepared in the same kitchen! Well, that and I can’t eat it anyway, but I can make it in the the safety of my own home… now I’m hungry.

    • Yep, it CAN work! I actually thought about doing the same thing, shipping kitchen supplies to myself! I ended up just deciding I would buy things I needed at Costco though, if need be. However a lot of places don’t have the luxury of Costco, so shipping is a great idea! Have you traveled to countries where English isn’t the first language? It made me so nervous to think about buying even packaged food in a place where the food labeling laws are different. I’d love to hear your experiences if you have any!

      • Foreign countries, no. But I’ve thought about contacting celiac support groups and such when it’s time– surely those people would know where it’s safe to shop.

        I’ve just bought cheap supplies before too and then thrown them in a box and shipped them back to myself.

        • Smart idea! I bet there are definitely celiac support groups all around the world. It may be harder in my case, I’m deathly allergic to egg, seafood, and nuts….so grocery shopping is terrifying if they aren’t required to list all of their ingredients. For now I guess I’ll still stick to the US 🙂

          • Yeah, I’m multiple allergy as well. But I have had a friend travel successfully in Ireland, where she said people are more understanding about food allergies than here, and she’s also been to other parts of Europe. So… there is hope, and I think within our lifetimes we’ll see much progress made in this area.

  2. Well its’ good that you have such will power….and that you stayed safe!

    And the photos were GORGEOUS. And you saw a whale breaching??!?!? OMG how cool. When we were there we saw one off in the distance … but just surfacing and going under.

    Wooohooo on your trip *smiles*

    • Thank you!!

      Oh yeah, it was “whale season” in Hawaii while we were there so the whales were going CRAZY! It was impossible to look at the ocean without seeing a whale breach. While eating breakfast, we would see between 20 and 30 whale breaches right in front of us- AMAZING! It felt very surreal. I can’t wait to go back!

      • omg really?!?!?!? You are sooooooo lucky! Well….with the wedding and new husband too .. but the whales!!!

        We did a swim with manta rays … and a swim with dolphins that was awesome. Both were in the open ocean … that is where we saw ‘our’ whale …lazy non-breaching whale. Damnit lol.

        So….tis still new yet …but … how is married life 🙂

        • Ooh swimming with manta rays, how fun! You got to do swimming with dolphins in the open ocean?? Where was this? Sounds incredible. Were the dolphins in pens? I used to work at the Dolphin Research Center in the FL Keys where our dolphins were in the ocean, just in pens- but wondering if there are places where they aren’t in pens at all? Sounds very cool.

          LOL lazy non-breaching whale, hysterical. Sorry yours was so slack! What month where you there visiting?

          Married life is wonderful, we both love it!! Even though we’ve lived together for several years, it feels different now, in a good way 😀 I’ll be posting a “one month married interview with my hubby” post soon heheh 🙂 Thanks for asking!

        • Both were done in open ocean. My daughter and I went in December of last year by the way…so likely not whale season? We were on the Big Island.

          Anyway … the mantas.. this was a night thing. Some of the people were scuba divers (my daughter is too young for that) … we were in snorkle gear. The scuba people shined lights from the bottom….snorklers from the top. The light attacts plankton … the mantas come by…there must have been near 20 of them. You have to be really flat on the suface as they come super close. They basically barrel roll just blow you … it is INCREDIBLE … if you breath out too much I think you’d hit them!

          The swim with the dolphins were my favorite though. This was strickly snorklers…well, there were 4 of us on the boat plus the boat captain and a snorkler guide. Basically, we left in the morn…found a pod of dolphins … the boat would zip ahead…we’d jump in the water as they swam by. Then we’d jump back in the boat…zip ahead…and do it all over again. We did this about 5 or 6 times. Each tme we were in the water about…perhaps 20 minutes at a time. The entire pod was about 200 dolphins we were told. As you snokled, they would be under you, along side you … some were zipping by, some were slowly swimming by. (slow is relative…they were all faster that what we could ever hope to swim. They appeared to swim in mini pods of 3 ot 5 ….one pod pulled along side of me and swam at the same pace for a few seconds until continuing on. It was soooooooo fun.

          Now … you WORKED with dolphins? OMG you are sooooo lucky. What kind? The one’s we saw were spinners we were told (they were jumping in the air and everything.)….not bottle nose.

          As for a post on your 1 month anniversary…and interview….wooo…looking forward to that for sure!

    • Thank you!! It was totally worth all the planning and preparation. It’s funny, as annoying as my prep was, one of the days that I was on the beach there was a sick looking man laying under a tree on the beach, hooked up to a portable IV. He was in really bad shape and it broke my heart seeing him like that. I am so thankful that my medical issues don’t inhibit my adventurous spirit or anything. I could climb mountains, ride bikes, go whale watching, and do so much more. That poor guy couldn’t even sit himself up to look at the ocean without the help from his nurse. All about perspective I guess!

  3. Awesome photos and I am SO GLAD you had so much fun and stayed healthy and happy! I know it was taking a big gamble traveling so far away with allergies, but you were so smart about it!

    • Thank you!! Yep, it was a successful trip! I still don’t think I can easily travel out of the country (different food packaging/labeling laws), but this was a GREAT start!

  4. This post had me smiling the whole time. I really do commend you on having rules and sticking to them! I guess I would too if the alternative was a hospital visit or worse!!! :(. Love ya sis, can’t wait to go to Mars with you all in a few years!

    • Thanks Char! Rules make life easier for me. It makes going out so much less stressful! I can’t wait to go to Mars with you, too!!! PLEASE lets make it happen!

  5. Glad you had such a great Time and stayed alive!! Good rules, especially for youryour honeymoon, where you reeeaaally don’t want anything to go wrong. Looks like you had funthough!

    • Thanks, Amanda!! Yep, the rules worked! If there is ever a time to not have a medical emergency, it’s on your honeymoon an island with bad healthcare. So glad it worked out!

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