Nessa The Traveling Toon And I
And Why I Created The Gluten Free Traveling Toon App!
Why This App Exists?
When I first moved from Ireland to the United States, I did not encounter many people with Celiac Disease/Coeliac Disease in the US at first.
My goal was to travel and see as much of this beautiful country as possible. Working in restaurants allowed me to travel freely on a flexible schedule.
It was through that restaurant work I finally encountered fellow celiacs. The relief on their faces when they found out that their server understood what that meant but sadly this was also followed by the sad reality of what was actually safe to eat from the menu. A lot of the food was breaded and fried, exactly how you crave it; amazing bar food but just not gluten free.
At this point in New York we did not have 100% gluten free restaurants but we did have amazing restaurants that catered to gluten free and I must mention this was before gluten free became a dangerous fad.
Once my fellow celiacs had finished their meals, I would share my recommendations of these restaurants on a napkin. Messy and not very organized. At this point I had basic programming skills and thought to myself I must put a website together so I can share theses finds more easily.
I returned to college part time and developed more skills in this field which naturally benefited this app development. My website Intolerablegluten.com (now also helpglutenfree.com) was launched in March 2011 and the App did not evolve until October 2019.
Our trademark Nessa, The Traveling Toon was born from my travels. I hate the camera but I loved to capture photos to document my travels. I started to use a dollar store trinket, a solar dancing flower in place of myself in these photos. I noticed the videos and photos in which she starred were very popular on my social media posts (analytics do not lie) but I knew I could not use her as my own. So I hired a very dear friend of mine to reimagine her and make her an individual.
My childhood friend Colette and her amazing artistic skills gave our Traveling Toon Nessa an Irish fairy twist and a life of her own. She was trademarked approved that year in 2018 and the app was launched end of 2019.
As we all know 2020 has been brutal for very business and restaurants are struggling at this moment to survive. I am continuing to add to this app as now more then ever we need to support these local businesses and try to keep them alive. What was first created as a travel app has turned into a support your local business app.
Let continue to support when we can!