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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

Getting Your Adventure On with Diabetes (Book Review and Giveaway)

Below is a Book Review for my latest book, Adventure On: Adventure More, Worry Less, and Watch Your Diabetes Motivation Soar originally posted on Diabetes Mine..

Written by Mike Hoskins | Published on March 27, 2017

If you're in search of a motivational diabetes resource that lets you 'Choose Your Own Adventure,' then look no further than the newest paperback by type 1 athlete Erin Spineto!

It's called "Adventure On" and encourages readers to embrace their inner adventurer and not let diabetes hold them back, as per the book's subtitle: "Adventure More, Worry Less, And Watch Your Diabetes Motivation Soar."

For those who may not know her, Erin is a surfer, triathlete, and sailor based in San Diego, CA. Her first book, Islands and Insulin: A Diabetic Sailor's Memoir (published in 2013) chronicles her now-famous 100-mile solo sail through the Florida Keys.

She was diagnosed with T1D in 1996 and eventually found the motivation to become a true adventurer about a decade ago, she says. She created the first-ever, all T1 team swim around Key West before taking a 100-mile stand up paddle adventure along the Intracoastal Waterway in North Carolina.

Her newest self-published 138-page book actually came out in November 2016, and is less narrative than the first; it's more of a "how to" guide on finding your own motivation for adventures.

Let's be clear: This book wants you to dream big -- as in, do more than motivate you to walk around the block with your dog (my style of daily adventure) or even jump on your bike to crank out a few miles. No, the scope here is more along the lines of swimming around an island, biking across America (or a country you live in), surfing every break of a country/region/state, or running the Ice Marathon in Alaska.

"It is time to stop calling ourselves diabetics and start calling ourselves adventurers," Erin writes.

Divided into four main parts, the book walks you through Erin's four-step Adventure On process: Dream, Plan, Train, and Execute.

The clear theme is: Find something that's a challenge. Push yourself. Use your imagination, and your mind and body to experience life and -- at the same time -- grab a little more motivation to better manage diabetes while adventuring on.

I like that theme a lot. Particularly where she describes the "magic of one percent better," aka Brailsford's concept of the Aggregation of Marginal Gains -- basically, the idea that small victories add up to a huge win at some point. I'm a big believer in this mindset when it comes to diabetes management, where it's not about "perfect control" but rather just about "doing better."

Throughout the book, Erin offers references to online resources that present other stories from around the Diabetes Community that are pretty darn inspirational -- from mountain climbers and marathoners, to those who've biked and sailed the world. There are also some great lists in the book of other blogs and organizations that focus on activity, fitness, adventure, and just good 'ole DOC-style peer support.

Honestly, one of the best parts of the book for me was the intro where Erin describes the "Why Adventure?" question, sharing her personal story from 2009 when she was uninspired to stay on top of diabetes. She was just feeling BLAH, which we all can relate to so well. In the "Training" section, I enjoyed how Erin does outline some mini-adventures that you can take in your own little corner -- from an exploration of local wildlife, to embarking the train a few stops before your home or work destination so you can walk or bike the rest of the distance. Those suggestions hit home with me.

But the bulk of the focus is about planning for major adventures like an ultra-marathon or world travel, and much of that felt out of reach for me -- not because I don't think PWDs aren't able to achieve anything and everything they want for the most part, but simply because it was so grand in scale: travel the world, rather than find adventures closer to home.

Let's be honest: how many of us are really going to go "zorbing" across a city, build our own wooden boat and sail it along an entire coastline, or go volcano-boarding down the face of an active volcano on a plywood toboggan?! More likely, my kind of practical adventure is sprinting between airport terminals on tight layovers, or maybe golfing every hole on Michigan's golf courses.

Along with the more extreme and hardcore adventures highlighted, I did appreciate Erin's discussion of taking safety precautions and not going on these adventures alone. In one chapter, she even fully fleshes out a "What If" scenario of getting thrown off course during a sailing adventure, and how you can find your way back to land, people and eventually a hospital to get insulin -- yikes!!

Plan for the worst, but hope for the best... story of our D-lives, isn't it?! ;)

Overall, I found the book to be a fine read that serves the purpose of laying out action ideas, tips and tricks for planning, and definitely inspiring the reader to tackle an adventure of some sort.

Thanks to Erin, I am inspired to try something new now that Spring has finally arrived. Here's to choosing our own adventures, sooner rather than later!

You can find this book in paperback on Amazon for $9.99, but before you buy it, here's your chance to win a free, autographed copy of Erin's book for yourself...

This contest is now closed. Congrats to Deborah Perlongo who was chosen by as the winner.

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