Anna Sonnenberg of Gluten-Free Jet Set shares her plan to create a go-to travel resource for the gluten-free community.
Back in April 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Sonnenberg of Gluten-Free Jet Set at the Gluten-Free Living Conference in Orlando, Florida. Since then, I have been following Anna's blog and I am excited to share the following Q&A with you, as Anna and her team are about to embark on a gluten-free world tour, all to help you travel without fear.
- Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
How long have you been diagnosed with celiac disease?
I was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago, but have been gluten-free for about five years (minus the six week gluten-filled celiac disease testing period). Long enough to have seen huge growth in celiac disease awareness and the gluten-free lifestyle.
How did your diagnosis impact your love of traveling?
Like many people with celiac disease, I was a little apprehensive about eating most foods immediately after my diagnosis. I’ve come a long way since then, though! Since I am a food lover, seeking out interesting, local gluten-free food in new destinations has become a passion and my primary reason for traveling. Connecting with the gluten-free and celiac disease community, trying new cuisines, and sharing gluten-free recommendations has made my love of traveling stronger.
What inspired you to start the Gluten-Free Jet Set blog?
After eating gluten-free in cities around the world for years and doing so much of my pre-trip research online, I saw a real need for more information about how to survive, stay healthy, and have fun as a gluten-free traveler. I wanted to contribute what I had learned and experienced because I knew it would benefit others. I published my first post a year ago, and the feedback I’ve gotten and the connections I’ve made with other gluten-free eaters since then has been absolutely amazing!
I hear you are starting a huge gluten-free travel project. Can you tell our readers about it?
Yes! A few weeks ago I announced Gluten Free Around the World, which is a gluten-free travel guide that you can download onto your eReader or mobile device, so you can take it with you anywhere your travels take you. I know how tough it can be to find reliable gluten-free resources for many destinations, so I set out to create a comprehensive guide.
This worldwide guide will offer specific recommendations and will cover foods to expect and avoid in major tourist destinations around the world. We will cover gluten-free options not only in restaurants, cafés, and hotels, but also on airlines, in airports, and in transit.
I will also create mini city guides, which will go more in depth into the best gluten-free options in cities like Paris, Rome, and Bangkok, and will offer a sample itinerary for each city, making sure you get to try the best gluten-free food while seeing all of the sights!
While I have already done much of the research and written about some of it on the blog, my team and I will be traveling extensively over the next several months in order to expand the scope of our research. Please follow along on the blog and all of our social media channels!
How will this project help everyday people living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?
Travel is a part of all of our lives at some point, whether it’s for a family vacation, a fun getaway, or a business trip. This guide will help frequent travelers, reluctant travelers, and vicarious travelers by demonstrating how to create a healthy, safe dining and traveling experience, no matter your destination. We also want the project to open gluten-free eaters’ eyes to the myriad foods and cuisines that are out there, many of which are naturally gluten-free!
How can people contribute to your project and why do you think it’s important that they do?
One of the things we love most about the gluten-free community is how supportive we all are of each other, and this project is no exception. Your financial contribution will go directly to this project, which will help people with celiac disease and gluten-free eaters like you.
We’re currently raising funds to produce these guides through an IndieGoGo campaign until October 5th. When you make a contribution, whether it’s $15 or $100, you get to select one of our great perks, which include the complete Gluten Free Around the World guide, a mini city guide, a box of worldwide gluten-free goodies, and more. If you’d like to contribute - and we hope you do! - please do so before our campaign ends on October 5th. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/GFIndieGoGo
Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about yourself, your blog or the Gluten-Free Around the World project?
One last goal for this project is to put a positive spin on eating gluten-free. Too often we focus on what we can’t eat, but here we’re focusing on all of the delicious and diverse food we CAN eat around the world. If you know of any unique local food or restaurants that you think we should include in the guide, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can chat!