ARTICLE BY FARHANA JAMAL AND JILLIAN CARDONA, CO-FOUNDERS OF BREAKINGBREAD
Making Travel Worry-Free for the Gluten-Free!
Jillian Cardona and I recently cofounded BreakingBread, a website that seeks to make ‘Travel Worry Free for the Gluten Free’. It is a blog and online community for people who are gluten-free to share their stories and learn from each other’s first hand experiences avoiding gluten abroad. BreakingBread began as our Athena senior capstone project for the Athena Leadership Program at Barnard. The projects are intended to demonstrate leadership and creativity in solving social problems and must be executed within the semester. However, as we worked on the website, we realized how invested we were in creating a niche for gluten-free travelers and decided to extend the project beyond the allotted semester.
Jillian and I are both allergic to gluten. We studied abroad for the Spring 2015 semester in Prague, Czech Republic and Buenos Aires, Argentina, respectively, and immediately bonded over our shared struggle of gluten-free travel. For example, in spite of being in two different parts of the world, we found that our experiences were shared across the globe. For instance, gluten-free awareness was not consistent among the various cities (and countries, for that matter) that we visited, making each trip difficult. Our bonding therefore evolved into a resolution. We decided to address the growing needs of gluten-free travelers and provide them the support and advice we wish we had while abroad.
Jillian and I learned so much through exchanging personal stories of gluten-free travel, and decided that our solution would be to create a story sharing platform for others like us. Therefore, BreakingBread aims to provide fellow gluten-free travelers the solace that they are not alone in their struggles, frustrations, and anxieties regarding the daunting task of being gluten-free away from home.
We believe that sharing experiences through storytelling, advice, recommendations, and firsthand tips will both serve to facilitate gluten-free travel and mitigate the stigma surrounding food allergy. This stigma stems from a general lack of awareness and knowledge about what gluten-free means and entails. Now, we know that it is possible to have fulfilling travel and food experiences all over the world, even with a gluten allergy. One just needs to be equipped with the right information. In our opinion, there are too many wonderful food experiences for a gluten allergy to stand in the way.
We encourage anyone with an interest, or with experience in gluten-free travel, to join the BreakingBread community! Visit www.BreakingBreadAbroad.com, and if you’re interested in becoming a contributor, reach out to Jillian and me directly at BreakingBreadAbroad@gmail.com!