Traveling the World with Diabetes: Bridget McNulty

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Bridget McNulty has been a member of TuDiabetes since March 2009. On September 1, she started traveling around the world for 9 months. As she travels, she shares her story.

1) Can you tell us a bit more about you?
My name is Bridget McNulty, I’m a South African writer (my first novel, Strange Nervous Laughter, was published in South Africa in 2007, and in the USA earlier this year). I’m also an avid blogger, at, and a type 1 diabetic. I live in Cape Town, South Africa, and I spend my days freelance writing, reading, and drinking tea in my hammock (which is a lot trickier than it sounds!)

2) When/how did you get diagnosed?
I was diagnosed in October 2007… It was a really late diagnosis, I was apparently 2 days away from a diabetic coma, and I had to be rushed to ICU. Very dramatic! It was also quite late for a type 1, I think, I’d just turned 25. The advantage of being diagnosed so old is that I could adjust really easily, I understand the necessity for change.

[Note from TuDiabetes Administration: type 1 diabetes in adults is often referred to as LADA. You can read discussions about LADA here and watch a video that explains more about LADA here.]

3) Why did you decide to write about diabetes and travel?
Together with my partner, Mark Peddle (who is a photographer), I decided I wanted to travel around the world and spread positive awareness about diabetes. We want to show that just because you’re diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t follow your dreams - that having a chronic condition doesn’t have to stop you doing anything you’ve ever wanted to. We have a multimedia website set up - we’re going to have a written blog, a visual journey of photographs, weekly videos and daily video snippets of the Best Moment of the Day. Anyone who wants to will be able to track our journey across the world…

4) What are the top 3 recommendations you can give to someone with diabetes in preparation for travel?

  • Be very prepared! Take twice as many supplies as you think you might need, and have all your numbers and addresses handy.
  • Always carry snacks on you. There’s nothing worse than going low and having to hunt for something in a foreign place.
  • Don’t be too adventurous! The last thing you need is to get sick from trying some weird local delicacy cooked on the side of the road.

5) What has been the single biggest challenge you’ve faced while traveling due to your diabetes?
Not being able to eat food that I’m used to. You don’t realize how accustomed you become to your normal way of eating, with foods you recognize, and carbohydrate values you can easily calculate. The biggest challenge of adventuring is that you have to try and identify what’s on your plate!

6) Anything else you would like to share?
If anyone would like to follow our 9 month journey - which started on the 1st of September and lasts till the end of May - visit and follow the Round the World links. Please stop by!

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