For me travelling is not as simple as deciding on a place to go, booking a flight, packing my bags and heading off. It is a research project that can takes weeks, if not months.
My allergy has prevented me from experiencing many once in a lifetime opportunities. While I like to try and see the positive aspects of being allergic to peanuts, I also resent it at times. I was not able to join 90% of my grade on an Israel trip in grade nine, I also didn’t go on a free trip to Israel offered through the community to young adults when I was 21, I was the one who never went on an all inclusive with my girlfriends in College, I couldn’t go backpacking through Europe with my friends in University, I even had to rearrange my honeymoon.
My allergy has certainly put up road blocks with respect to travel, but it has also taught me how to handle disappointment and to face reality. The fun in planning a trip becomes slightly more stressful for me, and more of a challenge. Everything from the airline, restaurants, and even hotel choice come into question. The airline must be peanut free, the restaurant must be peanut free, and the hotel must be close to a hospital.
I have come to terms with the fact that I will likely never travel to any part of Asia, and that I will probably never go on an all inclusive. I am certainly not a jet setter, but I have been to many places in Europe, Canada, the US and South Pacific and I will continue to travel in the future.
Have these situations changed who I am as a person…I think so. I have experienced enough disappointment related to my allergy that I am now able to accept it for what it is. My attitude as a teenager was completely different then from what it is now as an adult and a mother. As a teenager, I tried to convince my mother to let me go on these trips and she never budged. She literally threw out the mail that arrived for the free Israel trip so I wouldn’t see it and want to go. Now that I am a mother, I will probably do the same if I had to. At the time, I was so caught up with the fact that I wasn’t able to go on these trips that I lost sight of the safety issues involved. Now, I accept the fact that the allergy can hold me back from travelling the world. Of course everyone handle’s their respective allergies differently, and while some people may not agree with my decisions, I respect the decisions other people make around travel. I realize that I have a responsibility to myself, my husband and the boy to do my absolute best to be as careful as possible so I don’t have a reaction.