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.
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?!?!???????
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: