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The Gluten Free Nerd goes to Alaska

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do! And going to see the northern lights has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. When I saw that The Planetary Society had a trip to Alaska available to its members, I knew I had to go. I sent in my application for the trip and was hopeful everything would work out. Initially, I was nervous my application would be an issue because I have Celiac Disease and food allergies. But food allergies are just part of what makes me who I am. And I like to think having food allergies makes my lifestly more interetesting because it has made me a constant learner of all things food related.

After finding out everything for the trip was in order and I was going to get to go – I couldn’t stop smiling! I got a package in the mail with a book, a suggested reading list, the trip itinerary, and a packing list. The packing list alone was interesting because I live in San Diego and anything below 60 degrees is considered cold weather. Although I have grown up skiing with my family, the temperatures in Alaska for this trip were beyond anything I have ever experienced. Don’t get me wrong, I like the cold, and rainy days in San Diego are my favorite. We get so much sunshine here, it’s nice to have a change in weather.

Everything that came in the package about going to Alaska made me even more excited to get to go on the trip! Aside from reading a few books and tackling the packing list, I needed to plan ahead carefully in terms of what to take with me for snacks, and possibly full meals just in case of a lack of options. I found preparing for which on-the-go snacks and meals to pack for this trip to be a fun challenge. I’ve been dreaming about seeing the northern lights for too long – so I wanted to focus on enjoying my time in Alaska, and not worry about wether I would or wouldn’t have access to gluten free and allergy friendly meals.

Thankfully, there are lots of gluten free and allergy friendly companies out there making products that are great for traveling. Some of my snack essentials while on the trip were: Enjoy Life Foods ProBurst Bites, Moon Cheese, and Simply Snackin protein bars. Sometimes I feel self conscious about carrying food with me at all times. So many others on the trip always had a backpack of some sort filled with camera equipment and extra warm weather gear so I felt better about always having a bag with me. One of the fun things about traveling with so much food is getting to share snacks with others. People tend to ask me what I’m eating often and I like to talk to them about my favorite brands and why I love how they taste so much. I promise, not all gluten free and allergy friendly food tastes like air and cardboard. You just need to know which brands make the good stuff.

The trip lasted a week, but I could have easily stayed in Alaska for a month. Everyone in our tour group was so nice, I had a great time! I would absolutely go back to Alaska again. Especially now that I have this collection of extreme weather gear for freezing temperatures. I learned that the right clothes for extreme temperatures make a big difference . I have acquired a new addiction for all things made by Canada Goose. I would have turned into a human popsicle without all my gear from them while I was in Alaska.

Above you’ll find a video of my week while I was in Alaska with The Planetary Society. My top 5 experiences from the trip include: seeing the northern lights more than once, getting to ride the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks, visiting Poker Flat, watching the Iditarod, and getting to spend time learning from Dr. Tyler Norgren. There isn’t any part of this trip that doesn’t make me smile. I made memories that will last me a lifetime.

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