Tag Archives: food
April 14, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been meaning to update the Postcard Valet FAQ for a long time; lots of people keep asking us what our favorite place was and now I have something to point to!  This’ll go up on it’s own page, too, but I realized it serves as good summary of certain parts of our trip and thought I might make a post about it as well.

If you have a question that’s not on here, let me know.  Be happy to add something to the list.

Post Travels FAQ

Index of questions:

Q: How long did you end up traveling?

Q: Where are you now?

Q: What are your plans for the future?

Q: What was your favorite place/tour/country/thing out of all your travels?

Q: What was the craziest/most disgusting thing you ate?

Q: Which countries did you visit?

Q: Which country was your favorite?

Q: What was your least favorite country?

Q: What was the most dangerous thing you did?

Q: Did you have any trouble while traveling?  Was anything stolen?

Q: How much did you spend?  Were you able to stick to your $100/day budget?

Q: Did you ever get sick on the trip?

Q: Are you still married?  How has being together 24/7 for 18 months affected your relationship?

Q: Do you miss it?  Does life seem boring now that you’ve slowed down?  Did you burn out on travel?


Q: How long did you end up traveling?

A: Almost exactly 18 months.

Although… that answer doesn’t really tell the whole story.  In our minds, there are three or four distinct parts to our time away from home:  Crossing the US and Canada, staying with family, active travel, and living in Australia.  (more…)

August 22, 2011

Thoughts on Botswana

The great thing about traveling around the world for a year without a plan is that you can make it us as you go.  On our first night in South Africa, I found myself flipping through a National Geographic that was left on a coffee table at our backpackers.  There was a feature on the Okavango Delta, with beautiful photos of elephants pushing through marshy waters at sunset.  That’s something I’d like to see, I thought.

The Okavango Delta is in Botswana, huh?  Oh, and hey, look at the map!  Botswana is right next door to South Africa!  That’s pretty much exactly how we decided to go.

For a country right next door to South Africa, Botswana is very much a different place.  Parts of it matched up exactly with my preconceptions of what an African country would be like (the bus system, the sounds of the spoken languages) and some of it surprised me (3G cellular service, safety.)

A few days before we were set to leave South Africa, we met a couple Canadian girls in Pretoria that were volunteering in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, for a few months (Hi, Brandy! Hi, Angela!)  They offered to let us stay with them at their volunteer house for a couple nights, which was awesome for a number of reasons, not least of which being that we had a couple unofficial guides that had already figured out many of the ins and outs of Botswana society.  Their initial help with things like the bus rank were invaluable.

The Bus Rank

When we saw the bus rank for the first time, I thought, now we’re in Africa!


August 15, 2011

Thoughts on South Africa

Elephant in Addo

Going to Africa for the first time was a huge step for us and it’s hard to remember how worried we were about the whole thing.  Would we have trouble with the languages?  Would we be safe?  Will the food be safe to eat and the water safe to drink?  Should we worry about racism?  Civil wars?

In retrospect, I’m very glad our introduction to Africa was through Cape Town.  The infrastructure there is good, the population is mostly white, English is spoken by just about everyone… starting at the southern tip really eased us in.  Later on, as we progressed through the rest of Southern Africa, things became more difficult for us as travelers, but by then we had gained enough confidence to handle anything thrown our way.

Africa has elements of the Western and Eastern worlds (and even the Middle East), but it’s not really much like either.  Africa is its own place, with its own cultures, and its own way of doing business.  The list of notes I jotted down on South Africa grew rapidly.  As our first introduction to a new continent, there were bound to be many differences from the other countries we’ve visited, not to mention the United States.

March 12, 2004

Cuba: Eating in Cuba

Big Machete, teeny-tiny fork! (25k image)Part the Fifth: Eating in Cuba

The first thing I should mention about eating food in Cuba is that you’re probably going to get sick. Is that a bad way to start this topic? Well, too bad. It’s true.

It’s not that the food in Cuba is unhealthy; somehow not up to the specs of food in the U.S. Rather, it’s that whenever you cross country boundaries, you’re likely to run into food with different bacterial contents. Those bacteria are not necessarily bad for you, they’re just different from what your stomach is used to. After a couple days of… shall we say, gastronomical distress, you’ll adjust and be good as new.

Actually, you might be able to dodge that bullet completely with a little pre-trip planning. After getting delusionally sick once in Ecuador, I began to look for solutions that would accomplish my newly realized goal of diarrhea-less travel. One of the suggestions that has worked remarkably well for me ever since was to start taking in acidophilus bacteria before leaving my own country. Since I almost always travel in winter (to remind myself that some places outside Alaska enjoy sunlight during December and January) I have made a routine of switching my diet right after Thanksgiving. A simple switch to acidophilus milk in my breakfast cereal and one container of active-culture yogurt every day does the trick! (If you’re lactose intolerant, I hear that acidophilus pills will do the same thing.)

Okay, great. Let’s focus less on stomachs and more on what goes into them.