As some of you may know, I have been away for a little over three weeks on a Trans-Siberian adventure. We travelled from Beijing in China through Mongolia, then through Russia up to St Petersburg, all by train. It was wondrous, eye-opening, disconcerting and at times painful.
The painful part came from food choices that were made for me with a promise they were onion and garlic-free, and from the restrictive use of shared toilets on the trains.
Following is what I learned from this journey, which I knew from the get-go would be a tricky one to negotiate but which I was determined to undertake nevertheless. I don’t let my IBS stop me from travelling. My main triggers are onion, garlic and fructose. The only things which can be hidden in food are the garlic and onion so they are the only things on my laminated cards, which I always carry with me when I travel – in the language of the country, of course. I use Google translate and copy and paste the strange characters as with Chinese and Russian.
On the whole, I had many more good days than bad. Some days, I wished I were back home but mostly I felt well and healthy and I had an amazing trip and saw things that are once-in-a-lifetime. I also learned so much about countries that are often misrepresented in the Western media and literature.