Introducing the Cornflake Traveller
Hi I’m Mick Hobday a.k.a. The Corn Flake Traveller, so called because my mission in life is to eat a bowl of cornflakes in every country in the world. I have currently visited 64 of the 192 countries on the planet and in January 2013 published my first book “The Adventures of a Hard-up, Diabetic Traveller with a Corn Flake Problem” which details my favourite experiences from my first decade on the road.
I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when I was 9 years old, after a 3 week period of drinking 20-30 litres of liquid a day and peeing an equal number of times. There were 2 aspects of my young diabetic life which were influential in shaping my personality. Firstly, growing up having such a structured life i.e. being told to eat and inject at certain times (to the extent of having to eat 2 digestives biscuits at both 10:30am and 3pm) instilled a slightly rebellious side in my personality and made me want to live a free and independent life. I also remember being told that if I didn’t control my blood sugar levels that I would develop complications and was most likely to have a shortened life span so this made me want to ‘live my life to the max’ and gave me an ‘I’m here for a good time not a long-time’ attitude.
Coping with diabetes while travelling has brought up all sorts of complicated, and potentially dangerous situations and although some were a bit scary I just saw the experiences as exciting and something that most travellers wouldn’t have. Now I can reflect on those experiences and appreciate how they have allowed me to learn and develop ways to overcome difficulties. Just a few things that have happened over the years include having insulin stop working because it was exposed to intense heat, running out of insulin because I smashed some vials, I’ve had to learn to alter my dosage according to the temperature and the altitude (both of which have had an effect on the amount of night insulin I require) and I’ve had hypoglycaemic attacks that have given me some rather trippy experiences, many involving night hypos and me not knowing where I was.
The pursuit of my mission continues but between trips I now wish to tell people about my experiences in order to raise awareness and inspire diabetics the world over to be the boss of their diabetes and not the other way round, nobody should let this illness stop them doing what they want to do. There are simple things you can do that will allow you to live a fulfilled life without endangering yourself too much. For example I always tell people around me that I am diabetic and I make sure they know that if I am acting strangely I need to eat some sugar and not be injected with insulin, a common misunderstanding by people from every continent; people hear diabetic and they think our medicine is insulin and only insulin.
So why Cornflakes I hear you ask?? – Well my answer is simple, it all started as I was a lazy cook in my adolescent years and could only manage pouring. That and they are lovely; lovely, golden and crunchy and a fantastic thing to share any travel moment with. Me and my flakes have visited the pyramids in Egypt, the Sahara desert in Mauritania, Times Square in New York, Pamukkale in Turkey, we went to the world cup in Germany and have cycled through 21 European countries together, although I did most of the cycling. Joking aside I have had some fantastic experiences over the years and gained some experience on how to adapt to keep control of diabetes, this is what I wish to share with you in my blog posts for Diabetes UK.