Why What’s Important to Us Matters + How We Implement It

Core Values

To guide us on our journey and help us achieve our goals, we follow a set of core values gathered from cultures and philosophies around the world. Just as our travels shape our experiences and perspectives, these values shape the foundation of our philosophy and approach to empowering T1D travelers.

In all aspects of traveling and learning, we value:



Origin: Japanese

Stepping outside of your comfort zone to gain new skills and perspectives

One of the seven principles of Zen Buddhism, datsuzoku means to take a break from the conventions and mundanities of daily routine in order to discover more creativity, resourcefulness, and to perceive your surroundings differently. We believe travel enables exactly this–new energy, new skills, new outlooks, perspectives, and purpose–and that the benefits are extraordinary.

Let’s face it: diabetes comes with a lot of mundanity. The constant site and sensor changes, injections, checking blood sugars, treating highs and lows…Maybe you’ve been told diabetes “thrives on routine” but you find that routine dulls your light. Or perhaps you want to try something new but worry about how to manage diabetes while doing it. No matter who you are or how you feel inside and outside of routine, the more you step outside of your comfort zone, the more you gain and grow. 

Travel injects (pun intended) excitement into the monotony of T1D management and inspires new ways of thinking and doing in all aspects of life. Type 1 Way Ticket programs offer the reinvigorating power of adventure combined with the supportive environment and learning opportunities that empower you to truly thrive with diabetes–on routines and on adventures.



Origins: Swedish & Lakota

Honoring the feelings of fear and excitement before a journey begins and the brave and courageous spirit that lies within every person embarking on it

A Swedish word with no English equivalent, resfeber is the restless race of a traveler’s heart ahead of an adventure when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together. “The jitters before the journey” perfectly encapsulates what Type 1 Way Ticket honors in our Dialed Leadership Curriculum

There is a reason we don’t say “travel with us, you won’t even have to think about diabetes.” We all know not thinking about diabetes is not an option, and we don’t make false promises. But we do honor and normalize the full spectrum of emotions experienced when preparing for travel and while traveling as diabetics. And we equip our travelers with the preparation and planning skills to work with diabetes, instead of against it, on adventures.

Pre-departure, we guide both parents and travelers to set goals to actualize their hopes and overcome their fears. Before each activity on-program, we hold in-depth orientations, and we regularly engage in group check-ins. Simply put, we bake empathy into every one of our practices. 

Our motto, “go boldly abroad with diabetes,” is a nod to woohitike, a Lakota virtue meaning “the brave and courageous spirit that lies within every person.” To do something big and different and exciting and scary–like travel on a Type 1 Way Ticket program– is to be brave, and we celebrate each and everyone of our travelers’ bravery.



Origin: English

Persevering and persisting through highs and lows

Diabetes, travel, and life come with a lot of challenges–literal and figurative highs and lows. The more we challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones, the more we grow, and the more we grow, the smaller our freak out zones and the greater our abilities to persevere and persist become.

Our experiential learning model follows the brain science: the most effective way to learn is by doing, and the most effective way to learn by doing is to engage with challenging situations and activities that push us into our growth zones. Our itineraries combined with our Dialed Leadership Curriculum give T1D teens daily practice anticipating, preparing for, and handling the challenges associated with both diabetes and travel in supportive environments with their T1D program leaders and peers.  

By repeatedly moving from comfort zone to growth zone and back to comfort zone, Type 1 Way Ticket travelers are able to exercise and strengthen their abilities to evolve and adapt to new, dynamic, and challenging situations in diabetes and in the world. Through this cycle, our travelers build confidence, self-reliance, and self-esteem, and can better persevere through subsequent challenges.

Sources: Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Macmillan Company. | Sansdseter, E. & Kennair, L. (2011). Children’s Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences. Evolutionary Psychology.



Origin: Portuguese

Creatively managing challenges as they arise

Speaking of managing challenging situations…have you ever had your recently-inserted CGM almost fall out and not been near an adhesive patch? How about a time you wore an outfit without an obvious place to clip your pump? Or needed to explain to someone why you needed to bring snacks and juice to an event that didn’t allow outside food? T1Ds are some of the most creative MacGyvers around and naturally excel at desenrascanço, the Portuguese art of finding a solution to a problem out of left field, without the tools people might think are required.

According to Kinfolk Magazine, “Desenrascanço is imaginative resourcefulness when you need it most. It’s a celebration less of the careful planning that comes before a situation arises, and more of the creative management of that situation as it happens. It’s an indication of a more spontaneous approach to life—there’s no need to concern yourself with unnecessary planning and detail when you feel confident that any problem you might encounter is solvable with the skills you already have.”

While it is of course important to plan for traveling with diabetes, we believe it is equally important to learn how to think outside of the box when things don’t go according to plan. In diabetes as in travel, things will go wrong. Type 1 Way Ticket gives T1D teens a travel-specific addition to their desenrascanço tool kit–how to communicate with TSA who don’t speak English, how to guesstimate street food carbs, what to do if your Omnipod occludes 60 feet underwater and you’re scaring away all the fish or if you leave your insulin 10 hours away at the guesthouse you spent all day hiking uphill from (lookin’ at you, Savannah). 

The powerful implication of desenrascanço is the notion that you already possess most of what you need. If you’re flexible and nimble, everything else is just details. There is no substitute for an open creative mind and no solution out of reach for a person determined to find one.

नमस्ते NAMASTE


Origin: Sanskrit

Holding compassion and respect for self and others

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you might recognize the word “namaste.” Accompanied by the Anjali Mudra prayer hands at the heart gesture, namaste literally translates to “I bow to you,” yet it carries a deeper significance: “The divine in me recognizes the divine in you,” or, “the light in me sees the light in you.” This interpretation comes from a Hindu belief that a divine spirit resides in everyone, and therefore, any person you meet deserves respect. 

Often used in error as a dismissal from class, we strive to incorporate the true principles of namaste by meeting, greeting, and speaking to locals, guides, drivers, hospitality workers, homestay families, and each other with respect and compassion for our similarities and differences. We also strive to extend compassion and respect in the ways we think of and speak about ourselves. 

Embodying namaste is equally important in holding our nightly Circle community reflection or when a group member is struggling with an activity or having a tough diabetes day. We recognize that everyone deserves understanding, kindness, respect, and compassion and that this recognition means we too are deserving.



Origin: Old English

Recognizing you are more than your diagnosis

Tattooed on T1WT founder Savannah Johnson’s finger, haecceity is a person’s thisness–the individualizing difference between the concept “a diabetic” and the concept “Savannah.” Haecceity refers to the aspects of a person that make them a particular person–the aspects of you that make you, you.

Academic philosophy has taken haecceity a step further to mean “the here and nowness” of a person’s life. The (T1D-ified version of the) theory is this: as you think about the frustrating stubborn high you had yesterday or the calls you’ll need to make to insurance to get extra supplies for your T1WT trip tonight, it is challenging to experience “here and nowness”–pure presence. If you are lucky enough to experience pure presence, defined neither by how far you’ve come from the past nor where you are now in relation to where you want to be in the future–you experience haecceity, and haecceity will shape your personal ethos–your youness–thereafter. 

Though we are all T1Ds at Type 1 Way Ticket, we recognize and honor that every individual experiences diabetes and the world in unique ways, and we celebrate the beautiful individuality and diversity of each member of our community.



Origin: Japanese

Continually improving – being self-aware, responsible, reflective, and committed to growth

As Angela Duckworth says, “One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday.” The Japanese philosophy of kaizen is based on the idea that small ongoing positive changes reap significant overall improvements. No matter your goal, striving to do 1% better than the day before will garner more and longer-lasting progress than making drastic changes in hopes of achieving immediate results. 

Type 1 Way Ticket supports travelers to hone their introspection, self-awareness, responsibility, and reflection skills and practices so that they are well-positioned to meet and exceed their goals. Our company’s commitment to kaizen looks like staying up to date on innovative instructional pedagogies and healthcare models, implementing best sustainable travel practices and safety and emergency protocols, reviewing and refining our programs, and listening to and learning from our community.

παρέα PARÉA


Origin: Greek

Developing friendships that kindle your soul and spirit

Imagine you’re traveling on a Type 1 Way Ticket program in a country you’ve never been to. You’ve just hiked up a mountain top and you’re surrounded by your group mates, looking out onto the sunset over the ocean, talking about life, your ideas, your values, your hopes, dreams, fears, experiences with diabetes. In Greek, this is known as a paréa – a stage for the development of friendships and growth of the human spirit.

Each Type 1 Way Ticket program has built-in paréa moments–get to know you games, nightly Circle, mentor meals, structured reflections–and “in-between” paréa moments–informal opportunities to cultivate deep bonds with other T1D teens.

We believe a key ingredient to holistic diabetic health are diabuddies who fully understand the literal and figurative highs and lows, and something we love most about what we do are the lasting friendships formed on our programs.

生き甲斐 IKIGAI​


Origin: Japanese

Discovering passions and purpose

Literally translating to “a reason for being,” ikigai is a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for getting up in the morning, and, overall, a profound sense of enjoyment in life. National Geographic has speculated that ikigai may be one of the reasons for the longevity of the people of Okinawa–the happier you are, the healthier you are, and the longer you’re likely to live. 

Diabetes management certainly feels a lot more manageable when life is full of meaning. Empowering teens to explore the world is our ikigai, and through exposure to a variety of places, people, activities, and educational opportunities, we endeavor to help our travelers find theirs.



Origin: Diné Bizaad (Navajo)

Striving for balance in life

Hózhó is the wellness philosophy and belief system of the Diné (Navajo) people, comprised of principles that guide one’s thoughts, actions, behaviors, and speech. Though hózhó loosely translates to “beauty,” it refers to a positive, harmonious, happy state of being that must be constantly created through thoughts and actions towards oneself, others, and the earth. 

Balance can feel like a lofty ideal when it comes to mixing diabetes with life, school, sports, college, work, friendships, relationships, parenthood, and so forth. Creating a balanced life means making time for the things you have to do, as well as the things you want to do. We aim to empower our travelers to create balance by working harmoniously with the responsibilities of diabetes and finding time daily to do things that bring them pleasure, fulfillment, and joy.



Origin: Māori

Protecting the places and planet we call home

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. The word’s two components, tūranga meaning “standing place” and waewae meaning “feet”, are often translated as “a place to stand.” Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel rooted, empowered, connected, and strong. They also signify our relationship to our physical surroundings and our imperative to protect them. 

Connection to place and to nature is fundamental to Māori identity. It shapes thinking, ways of being, priorities, and values. Type 1 Way Ticket seeks to embody the spirit of tūrangawaewae through our emphasis on place-based learning and our commitment to environmental stewardship, waste reduction, and carbon footprint offsetting. Recognizing the environmental impact of flying and travel, we donate a portion of each program fee to carbon offset programs.



Origin: Arabic

Extending generosity, graciousness, and gratitude

كرم Karam is a beautiful cornerstone of Arab culture. Though translated to “generosity,” to be karam-generous is to welcome strangers into your home as if they were loved ones, go above and beyond to make them comfortable, and honor your family name by demonstrating the highest degree of inclusion to others.

Type 1 Way Ticket’s implementation of karam is applicable to many situations. We have a tradition whereby our travelers extend gratitude to the people who made their program participation possible. When culturally appropriate, we tip generously to give thanks to the various people who house us, keep us fed, transport us, welcome us to their countries, teach us, and enable our programs to be the transformative journeys they are. Often, we encounter locals whose life stories captivate our groups, and we will invite them to meals and on group outings to show our appreciation and create space for further storytelling exchange. 

We also strive to embody karam in our financial aid offerings. We believe that to have had any doors opened for us is to have the responsibility to open doors for others, and we are dedicated to doing the work so that T1D teens, regardless of their families’ financial standings, have the opportunity to discover their limitlessness on our programs.



Origin: Zulu

Connecting to a greater whole – being part of, supporting, and being supported by community

Directly translated to “humanity,” the widely used translation of ubuntu is “I am because you are” or “I am because we are.” No matter the translation, ubuntu is the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. 

Demond Tutu described a person with ubuntu as open and available to and affirming of others. Diabetes takes a village. And doing diabetes is more manageable and a heck of a lot more enjoyable when surrounded by the support of that village. Building and strengthening–and being open to, available for, and affirming of–our community lies at the center of everything we do with and for our village.