Diabetic Discoverer… Don’t Let Diabetes Stop You

fullsizerender-8.jpgMy name is Alex Armstrong. At the age of 3 I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, much to the shock of my parents. There was and still is no history of the condition in the rest of the family, so diabetes was the last thing they suspected. For a week my mum didn’t take me to hospital and my dad was feeding me Mars bars to try and give me more energy. For those of you who don’t know, put simply, diabetes stops the body breaking down sugar, so by feeding me Mars bars my sugar level was constantly rising, making me more lethargic, grumpy and unresponsive. I was eventually taken to hospital, put on a drip for a week and have been doing injections 4 times a day ever since. Yawn.


For a fair few years now, well at least for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to see the world. When I was a boy I got bought a Scratchmap, its exactly what it says on the tin, you scratch off where you have been in the world, with the ultimate goal, obviously, to reveal the entire map and not leave a country untouched. Now there are some very obscure places in the world, from North Korea to Nicaragua and Lesotho to Laos but one day I will see them all. I’ve made a solid start in my first 25 years, visiting 32 countries (correct as of 03/11/2016) out of a possible 195, 196 if you include Taiwan and lets bare in mind that as a child I didn’t go on holiday for 9 years, and went to Spain 3 times! However, after spending endless hours scrolling through the internet, there is no information about travelling with diabetes, not an iota. There is information on 2 week holidays, about taking double the amount of insulin with you that you will need for the two weeks incase you lose some. But what happens if you want to go away for longer, lets say a year. Its almost as if you’re not allowed if you’re diabetic, its not recommended, its frowned upon. Well i’m sticking two fingers up to the system, as Jack Black would say in school of rock “I’m sticking it to the man.” I booked a one way flight to Mongolia on 18/06/16 so let’s see where this crazy adventure takes me, as the caption at the top of this page says…

Don’t Let Diabetes Stop You!

10 thoughts on “Diabetic Discoverer… Don’t Let Diabetes Stop You

    • I’m trying to organise some volunteer work in Africa around March/April after my travels around India. Well that’s the plan anyway, I just haven’t quite got round to organising it. I’ve heard some great things about South Africa, but as of yet, I haven’t met or heard much about Lesotho. I will do some research!


      • Lesotho is a tiny mountain kingdom and really beautiful. But it is very third world and you wouldn’t want to become ill there. A short visit shouldn’t be a problem. South Africa on the other hand is more first world than third although it has a developing economy. I am pretty sure you could get volunteer work here. Check out this website http://www.anyworkanywhere.com/vol_za.html
        When you come to South Africa be sure to let me know – I am blogging about Italy at the moment but most of my posts are about travel in South Africa. I could give you plenty of tips of where to go and what to do

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  1. I am sooooo happy that this blog popped up on google! I have been so terrified of traveling (Do they have insulin there? Will they have my brand… and such). I took a chance and now I have been living in Thailand for two years. But even with two years in another country under my belt, I am still afraid to go to other countries, because of that nagging paranoia that they might not have what I need… that is why I am just so happy about this blog and the message that you are sharing, it is really inspirational. Stick it to the man indeed!


  2. Hi Alex! It’s great to see that you haven’t let diabetes stop you from travelling. I have booked a one way flight from Australia to the U.K./Europe to go for around a year or so. I have an Italian passport and am planning to probably settle in Amsterdam, Berlin or Barcelona. I’ve bought travel insurance for a year. Do you know where I could find out about costing of insulin/best way to buy insulin/if I have any benefits from being an EU citizen (even though brexit happens next year). I use 10ml vials of novorapid but in an insulin pump. Would love to hear your advice! Thank you :~}


    • Hi Bella, I have been living in Holland for the last 6 months and the price of insulin here is the same as it was in Vietnam, I think there is a global price and everywhere pretty much sticks to that. I think here in Holland if you register an address you then have to obtain health insurance and then you get a reduction on the price of the insulin, as for Germany and Spain I am not sure. It’s actually cheaper for me to catch a bus or a flight back to England, get my insulin free from the NHS and then travel back to Holland then it is for me to get monthly insurance and pay for the insulin, which is what I will be doing next month. I’ve been quite lucky on my travels as every 6 months I’ve met a family member somewhere in the world, who has bought a large supply of insulin with them from England, in Frio packs.


  3. Hi Alex,
    I just came back from a trip to Queenstown where I had the pleasure of meeting Holly. She told us all about your blog and I’m so glad she did, your story is truly inspiring! I’m so excited for you to see the rest of the world. Make sure to keep posting, I’d love to read all about it 🙂


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