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How to Eat When you Travel

A Taste of Something Different. Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the […]

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A Taste of Something Different.

Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the regions’ spices and cultural specialties. The cuisine says a lot about the culture and diving head first is how I travel.

Obviously there are restrictions that I usually follow, never drink the water in Central America, avoid extreme spices and be wary of some street food. I tend to eat too much street food, but I figure if the locals eat it, why shouldn’t I? Water in third world countries in general should be avoided due to parasites that your insides might not be used to. Eating extreme spices when on a road trip is another danger all together.

Countless times I’ve been unsure about tasting something only to be completely surprised and amazed by the new flavors. Eating live octopus in Japan sounded and looked insane but once I actually did it, well, it was pretty gross, to be honest. Not everything you try will be appetizing but at least I can say that I tried it. The memory is always with me and the experience was unforgettable. Had I decided not to push my boundaries and try the still alive octopus, I don’t think the memory would last.

My travel memories are constantly awakened by smells, tastes and textures. It’s amazing how the mind connects memory and experiences. I can’t walk past a gyro shop without being reminded of my time in Greece, the aromas are so overpowering and pleasurable. Gyros are now one of my favorite dishes and I have an afternoon in Athens to thank for that.

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Rule #1:

I have a few simple rules that I live by when I travel that apply to food. First, I always eat local my first meal. You won’t find me eating at an American chain restaurant anytime soon, even if it’s in Istanbul. Instead I’ll ask my cab driver or concierge at my hotel what food I NEED to try. You’d be amazed by how many suggestions you’ll receive.

I find that people are generally proud of where they are from and revel in the opportunity to share their favorite local spots. I know that when friends and family visit me in Los Angeles, I am a venerable fountain of information, just spewing restaurant names and my favorite dishes at anyone who will listen.

http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Wtk-Did-You-Ever-Eat-A-Balut/2390649

Rule #2:

My second travel cuisine rule is simple… do not be afraid. Many of what you are about to eat may look, smell or even taste bad, but you cannot show fear. Instead be brave and just go for it, take a big bite, chew it up and savor the flavor. Granted, you may spit the food immediately out and that’s fine, I’ve done it. It’s a natural reaction of your body to reject some tastes, but at least you now know that whatever you just ate is bad.

My wife and I were traveling in the Philippines a few years ago and my cab driver said that we had to try balut, which if you don’t know is fermented bird embryo, and is a very acquired taste. When I first saw balut I was honestly scared, it does not look appetizing, in fact it doesn’t even look edible. The smell was horrendous and all the locals stared at me like I was about to do something real dumb, and I was. I followed my own rules and I took a bite, not a large bite, but a bite nonetheless and my reaction was violent and over the top. I spit out my bite, threw my arms into the air, yelled a primal scream and tossed some water down my throat. Was I overreacting? Sure, but with the added audience I figured a larger than life response was warranted. I got a loud boisterous reaction from the gathered crowd followed by applause. This was my favorite moment from our trip to Manila. A simple taste of local cuisine has stuck with me for years like it happened yesterday and to think, if I hadn’t been adventurous I wouldn’t have ever experienced this. Of course I remember the awful taste, but what I truly remember were the connections I made with a dozen locals that day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npF_5k9R7s0

Rule #3:

My last rule of eating while traveling involves your intestinal fortitude. When I travel, I always try whatever on the menu scares me the most. In England, this was blood pudding. Just the idea of eating coagulated blood is so unappealing to me its no wonder I was terrified by this choice. But just like all my other food related travel memories, I can perfectly paint a picture of that day. I was visiting my good pal Simon, who was on weekend leave from the British Army. We met at a local pub and began drinking pints, as the locals were known to do. Who was I to shy away from local traditions?

Simon and his mates knew I was terrified of eating blood pudding, so they egged me on for hours. I finally caved to their taunts and ordered blood pudding. A horrid looking dish, much darker than I had ever imagined and the smell was similar to an old dumpster. They come in sausage casing, which is already a strike against them, and are cut into bite size pieces. All that build up and you know what… they weren’t half bad. They taste similar to liver, very irony and grainy. The texture is one I won’t soon forget, but you know what… that day was incredible. I’m honored to have spent it with young soldiers while we sampled their local cuisine.

Remember friends, travel with your senses and you will never forget.

 

AJ

 

 

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How To Make A Healthy Gas Station Meal

   

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You’re on the road when you get hit by the old hunger pangs. Normally what you do is head straight to a fast food joint and get a triple chili burger with a shake and cheese fries. But now you’re trying to eat healthy which means making smarter choices. The question is how do you make healthy choices when you’re in the unhealthy world of rest stops and gas stations? Do you order a chicken fried steak and take the breading off? Do you eat the lettuce and onion then throw the rest of your Big Mac away?

No, there are plenty of great ways to eat healthy when you’re on the go and we’re going to share them all with you so you can stay healthy and stay moving.

REMEMBER THE IMPORTANT THREE

When you’re searching through the foods at your gas station look for these three things to make sure you stay feeling full and satisfied after you eat: Protein, fiber and healthy fat. Aim for around 350 calories with 12-20 grams of protein and 5-10 grams of fiber per meal. It’s easiest to start by looking for a protein like nuts or jerky or peanut butter. Then look to add some fiber with fresh fruits or vegetables. Then it’s time to add some healthy fat with guacamole or nuts. Finally, try drinking water instead of that 64 oz. Big Gulp you usually put down.

DECONSTRUCTED YOGURT PARFAIT

This is a great, quick, healthy meal you can throw together at almost any gas station. Find a low sugar Greek yogurt and break pieces of a nut-based bar into the yogurt. Then add some fruit and voila you have your own personal parfait. You will thoroughly enjoy your meal while also keeping the calorie count nice and low. Filling and delicious is the best way to eat when trying to stay healthy.

PEANUT BUTTER AND APPLE ON CRACKERS

Get an apple and cut it up. Then buy some peanut butter or some other type of nut butter and add it on top of a delicious whole grain cracker for a light meal that is tasty and will leave you satisfied. If you have a hankering for sweets then this meal is for you. It is usually hard to satisfy your desires for sugar in a healthy way, but if you can do it with a meal like this then you have hit the healthy jackpot.

TUNA SALAD

Gas Stations usually sell tuna and you’ll be thanking them for doing so. You can get condiments from the hot dog station to properly fix your tuna right then smear it on top of some whole wheat crackers and you got yourself a delicious meal. All you have to do is add some fresh fruit and you’ll be sitting pretty for a good long while on the road.

BEEF JERKY

When in doubt, grab the jerky. Sure it may be processed, but it’s probably your best bet for processed food a gas station has to offer. Pair it with some fruit and some nuts and you will have a great meal that will put you into a savory based heaven. Just be sure to look for a low sodium option because jerky can be high when it comes to the salt.

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Destinations

Former Olympic Cities That Are Definitely Worth A Visit

  

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We’re still a ways away from the next Olympic Games, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about Olympics past! In fact, this is as good a time as any to revisit some of the amazing cities that have hosted the historic games over the years.

It turns out many of them are still absolutely gorgeous and very much worth a visit. We went through all of them and here are our top 5 you definitely have to see.

LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY

Lillehammer hosted the Winter Games in 1994 and it provided some unforgettable moments. Like American Bonnie Blair winning her third straight gold in the 500-meter speed skating race, and Norway’s own Johann Olav Koss setting world records in three different speed skating events. Many of the courses and tracks used during those games are still open to the public. You can explore all 211 miles of the cross-country trails, ride the luge and bobsled tracks, or check out the ski jump arena.

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK

I didn’t know this; Lake Place actually hosted the Olympic Games twice! First in 1932, and then again in 1980. The 1980 games were the setting for one of the most famous moments in American Olympic history: The Miracle On Ice. When the men’s hockey team miraculously defeated the seemingly unbeatable Soviet team. Many of the Olympic facilities are still open for use by the public, but the big draw for Lake Placid is the beautiful scenery. Surrounded by rolling mountains and the beautiful blue water of the lake itself, it’s easy to see why Lake Placid is a two-time host of the Olympic Games. 

ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND

St. Moritz also hosted the Olympic Games twice. First in 1928, and then again in 1948. The 1928 games are famous for introducing the skeleton event, one of the most exciting and dangerous sports in the winter games. One attraction you have to catch when you visit is the Olympic Ice Pavillion that was built in 1905 and used in both Olympic Games that were held here. It’s also right by the beautiful Kulm golf course if you’d like to get in a quick 18 while you’re there.

HELSINKI, FINLAND

Helsinki was the proud home of the 1952 summer games. This was the first Olympic Games that saw athletes from Israel an the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union wasted no time getting down to business, as their women’s gymnastics team dominated their field. 

Helsinki is especially famous for its beautiful architecture. Most notably Helsinki Central Station, and Hotel Kamp, which features an incredible hall of mirrors. And don’t forget to stop by the Design District to take in some art, pick up a few mementos, and grab a bite of the local fare. 

MONTREAL, QUEBEC

The 1976 Olympic games took place in the one and only Montreal. A very important Olympics, as women’s handball, rowing, and basketball were included for the very first time. But beyond that, most people remember Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci the most. She famously earned the first-ever perfect 10 at the age of 14. 

The legend of these games lives on in the old Olympic Park through ‘Since 1976,’ a beautiful exhibit celebrating all that took place that year. Definitely worth a look if you ever make it to this beautiful city. 


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A Cruise Expert Tells How To Safely Enjoy The Ultimate Getaway

  

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  The weather – consistently sunny. The excursions – plentiful. The food – a smorgasbord. The drinks – flowing. Cruises, no matter domestic or international, all seem to have a little bit of something for every kind of guest. Who would have guessed that a cruise ship would become sort of an adult daycare for a week or two? Honestly, they have cabins, pools, open bars around every corner, a giant and often 24/7 buffet, onboard entertainment shows, off-ship excursions in new and exciting locations, classes, gyms, and endless but breathtaking sights that change at every minute. 20 million people may take cruises every year and many enjoy safe and perfectly relaxing vacations (don’t focus too much on recent and very widely-televised disasters that don’t often occur). Still, as with any activity out of your normal routine, you should be aware and prepared for the unexpected.

     Jonathan Mark, owner, and writer of the popular cruise website – Cruise Fever – has provided several steps you can take before embarking on a cruise to stay safe but have an incredible time.

One – Research Your Ship

     Cruise ships with issues are unlikely to be in service, but not all can be foreseen. Things flat out break, wear down, and happen to be the result of completely unexpected circumstances. Plain and simple, things happen. However, don’t let that scare you. Mark mentions that “Every ship that sails too and from the U.S. is required to have at least two surprise inspections each year… Over the past year, 14 cruise ships earned perfect 100 health scores.”

 

Safety Drills

     Cruise Ships and crew are required by law to comply with a sailing mantra – SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea. These rules dictate the “number of lifeboats, fire safety provisions, and functionality of communication equipment.” These precautions may help quell any mental tension you may have about sailing but be sure to take part and recall the mandatory tourist training. “Even though it’s the least ‘fun’ part of the cruise it’s important for both the passengers and crew.”

Don’t Drink Too Much

     For many of us, a little (or a lot) of alcohol can help take the stress off of life and even your vacation. Nonetheless, “Just because a drink package allows you to drink 15 alcoholic drinks per day does not mean you should [drink that many]…. While in port it’s important for passengers to be familiar with their surroundings and with any travel advisories that have been issued.”

Packed

     “There’s a saying when it comes to packing on a cruise: ‘Whatever you were planning, take half the clothes and double the money.’” “Also older ships have few power outlets so an adaptor that has extra USB plugs can be a lifesaver.”

Also – Don’t Pack

     Simple enough… “Any illegal substances should not be brought on a cruise. Just because something is legal in the state you live does not mean you can take it out of the country with you.”

Make Friends (For Safety!)

     “Most cruise ships will have a get-together for cruisers traveling solo… This is a great way to meet other passengers. If you are traveling by yourself in port, stay on the beaten path and in touristy areas. This is another area where common sense into play.” Don’t place yourself into undue harm because you wanted to go exploring on your own. In addition, unless you know the other passengers on a decent level, if someone asks you what you’re up to, mention that you’re “waiting for friends.” This way, they will be less compelled to play anything funny on you.

 

Street Smart

     Just like the real world, keep your wits on your sleeves. “The biggest way people put themselves in danger on a cruise is to not use common sense… Cruises are statistically the safest way to vacation. This causes people to put their guard down when they should, in fact, use the same precautions as if they are on a land-based vacation.” Don’t fall victim to yourself just because you’re on vacation. 


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