HOW NOT TO GO OFF THE RAILS WHILE TRAVELLING
I’ve been travelling a lot this year, mostly by myself to film festivals all across the globe and there’s some absolute essential truths I’ve come to figure out about how the fuck to travel and eat the way that I eat (whole food plant-based). Now, these also translate when I’m travelling with my family - it just adds the layer of complexity with kids - because kids are fucking complex. Parents, you get it… So, first and foremost:
Your best course of action is to put a half-ass effort into planning before you go when you’re sitting at home on the couch as opposed to when you arrive and just want to be in the place you’re in and enjoy it. Rarely are we on a last minute trip (but lots of what I say below will work with that too). Depending what kind of trip you’re taking - work, vacation, visiting family, finding yourself, just-getting-the-fuck-away, you have a general sense of how much control you’re going to have over when and where you eat. If it’s work chances are there’s going to be some functions with food you’ll have to navigate around. If you’re moving around a lot perhaps it’s a lot of on-the-go food, or restaurants. If you’re sticking to one place you might even be able to load up at a market or grocery store and make your own meals and go picnic style. Figure out a plan that works for the kind of trip that you are taking. If you fail to plan ahead than you plan to fail. That shit is on you. I’ll get more specific about how and what to plan for certain things below.
If you’re taking a flight that includes a meal then you should be able to pick the option that suits you ahead of time when you book the flight. It’s still not going to be GREAT. I strongly suggest packing something. (See “PACK YOUR OWN SHIT” below for more suggestions) If you’re rushing the stores at airports always have a selection of nuts and dried fruit, etc… some even have fresh fruit and veggies and dip. Often in the morning places will have oatmeal.
If there’s a Starbucks you can make my OATMEAL LATTE - I love this as an airport breakfast.
Again - research. Airports have websites that list their restaurants and those restaurants usually have menus. See what they have at what terminals so you’re not left surprised. If the airport doesn’t have something to keep you sustained just pack something (again, more on that below).
Oh! And hot tip. Once someone at border security made me throw out the apples I had brought for a snack on the plain because it didn’t have ‘the sticker’ on them - it says the country of origin, etc… so leave that shit on if you want to bring fruit onto a plane and have to declare it.
Restaurants are totally something you can look up in advance - in fact I highly recommend using the Happy Cow website and/or App for your phone. The website is free - the app is a few bucks - but if you travel it’s worth its weight in gold. It’ll tell you all the places that are vegan or vegetarian or at least have options - real photos by real people (not overly stylized photos the restaurant hired a photographer to take) and links to menus.
If someone wants to take you somewhere that you’re not sure has stuff you can eat call or e-mail the restaurant and see what they can do for you. They don’t mind - I promise. Eating out can be a real pain in the ass, but I really love it when I’m in a new city. There’s a surprising amount of plant-based places or at least plant-based friendly.
But if you don’t look ahead don’t assume a place can feed you. You might end up eating salad with nothing on it - and that shit’s on you. Advocate for yourself and think ahead.
Pack Your Own Shit
You know what you like for snacks or half-ass meals. Bring whatever you can of your own. I’ll always bring a container full of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that gives me about a handful or so for each day I’m away. I’ll also bring some protein and lara bars if I need them in a pinch - though I try to make my own which you can also do using my recipe here.
I’ve also gotten into the habit of making with my BOB Muffins or my Breakfast Beauties for my trips. The Beauties are more of a half-meal and a bit more filling, and the muffins are perfect for curbing an appetite between meals. Bring what makes you happy and can keep you going if you’re stuck without anything for a little bit.
Pack a water bottle and fill it up whenever you get a chance. If you’re travelling a lot invest in a decent backpack where you can put your snacks and shit. Something with a water bottle holder. I also highly recommend packing your supplements into a tiny container. I always bring Vitamin C, D, and some B12 with me.
If you’ve got a morning routine try to bring it with you. I find so long as I have a 6x4 foot space I can get away with a half-ass workout even in a hotel room. I like to start my morning with some decent movement so on the road I’ll sometimes bring stretch bands, which take up almost no room in a suitcase. I also like to do power yoga and body weight exercises and I find there’s tons of videos I can just follow on YouTube that help me with that. My personal recommendations are HASFit for body weight and Sean Vigue for Yoga. HASFit also has an app that you can pay a low monthly fee for that helps you curate your exercises - but you can get by with the free ones on YouTube as well.
I also like to start off my day with some mindfulness meditation and I’m still starting out with this so it helps to use an app to guide me. There’s a lot out there, personally I use HEADSPACE - there’s a free version of it, and a cheap subscription based one as well.
I can’t recommend a morning routine more strongly - it really sets you up for the day. One book I’d highly recommend, that I just finally read recently, is THE MIRACLE MORNING - I got a copy at the library, but they also sell it on AMAZON (click on the photo of the book on the right). It’s a quick and breezy read and might unlock some shit for you. Check it out. One day I’ll write a bigger article about my morning routine.
Take Advantage of Time Zones
So your body clock is all fucked up and you can’t get to sleep or you woke up way too goddamn early. Take advantage. Go for a big-ass walk (if you’re in a place that’s safe to do so), do a workout in your room, meditate, read, take a bath. Don’t just sit there and veg on the TV. Use that extra time to your advantage by doing something physical - it’ll energize you for the day (or help you fall asleep) and help to tucker you out a bit more for the next night when hopefully you’ll be more aligned to your new time.
If you’re in a hotel with a fridge, or staying somewhere with a kitchen, etc… then take advantage of local grocery stores and/or markets. Load up on healthy stuff and make some of your own meals. Make sandwiches to carry with you, make your own oatmeal, etc… Load up on healthy snacks like dried fruit and nuts if you weren’t able to bring your own. Treat yourself to some fresh local fruit and veggies that you might not see so often at home (or ever!). What’s in season where you are?
Move A Lot
Find every excuse to move. If something is a twenty-minute walk away then walk instead of taking an uber/taxi/rental car. It lets you see the place you’re in and gets you moving! People almost always over eat (at least a LITTLE) on trips - so counter that with extra movement. Take stairs, go the scenic route, etc… Enjoy the space you’re in. Find a trail to take a hike, climb a mountain.
In Glasgow, Scotland I discovered there was an unofficial walking tour of graffiti murals throughout the city so I made it my mission to find as many as possible. Find whatever cool stuff the place you’re in offers and do it!
The ones that serve breakfast will often have an oatmeal option - again, you can look this shit up before you leave. If not bring some granola or oatmeal from home and hit up a market, grab some plant-milk and fruit and make your own giant fruit salad/cereal. In a pinch you can also just grab some quick-oats from a grocery store and use hot water from either a kettle in the room, or just running the coffee maker through with nothing but water. Or use orange juice or plant-milk and make your own muesli style oats with some dried fruit and nuts/seeds.
Hopefully the room has a fridge - keep it stocked with fruits and veggies and stuff to make quick and easy meals.
Look up in advance if they’ve got an exercise room or a pool or anything where you can get a workout. Otherwise, like I said elsewhere on here, I find that so long as I can clear a 6x4 foot space in a hotel room I can do a bodyweight or yoga routine that I find on YouTube. Start your day with some goddamn movement - even though you’re on holiday maybe. It’ll set a tone for the whole day.
If you’re staying at a hotel that serves a continental breakfast of any kind they usually have fruit - stuff some extra in your pocket for later!
Enjoy and Indulge (a bit)
I know what you’re saying - this fucking asshole has been raining all over my parade. I’m looking forward to going out of town and TREATING MYSELF.
And you totally fucking should! Seriously! The world is full of delicious plant-based treats! I pretty much always get a dessert if I can find one - and I even go for a dirty-vegan-burger from time to time. The world is also full of fast-food-vegan type shit. My approach is this: balance. I try to just “indulge” once a day-ish. Either that or I’ll go nuts on my first day and just have a full-out cheat day and get it out of my system and then eat a lot cleaner for the rest of the trip. But if you want to spread it out then just do that and have a balance.
If you have a heavier lunch go for a lighter dinner, or try to fit in a big walk or something.
And also - if you’re going to treat yourself then do it fucking right! Get the BEST TREATS. Eat stuff you can’t find back home - or make at home. Use it as a chance to explore new tastes and food ideas that maybe you can make a (healthier) version of in your own kitchen.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is travelling should be fun - I don’t want you to feel like you’re restricting yourself - I’m just suggesting you find a balance so you don’t fall totally off the fucking rails. Your post-trip self will thank you.
Now - travel well - smash stuff into your life!