Fellow travelers, this post is for you. Especially those of you who frequently travel for business.
Back in the day I traveled away from home at least one or two nights a week. Nowadays I’m lucky if I travel twice a year for work.
Some people love traveling to try new food. Of course I do too, but not every meal, every day. I like to make sure my diet has ample fresh fruit and vegetables, something that can be a challenge when on the road.
This is made easier if choosing a room with at least a refrigerator. A microwave is a bonus. A room with a kitchenette is complete luxury, and this is what I selected on my last work-visit to Victoria BC. I chose to stay at the Oswego Hotel a gem of a hotel, one block away from the inner harbour, and a reasonable walking distance to the 24 hour James Bay Thrifty’s Grocery store.
I got a studio suite with well stocked kitchenette: refrigerator, microwave, stove-top, pots and pans, utensils, toaster, blender, proper kettle, tea-pot, coffee maker, French press, sink and dishwasher. No need to make grilled cheese using the iron and ironing board here.
I brought a few things along with me from home. Some dried beans and rice, pre-measured into single serving zip bags. I also brought along some dried garlic granules and lemon pepper spice. I also tucked in a small one-cup serving reusable plastic tub with lid. These took up no room in my bag, and saved me spending ridiculous amounts on money on spices at my destination. When I arrived at the hotel, I dropped off my bags and headed over to the grocery store. There I picked up six eggs, milk, a stick of butter, a loaf of bread, yogurt, and frozen blueberries. My favourite go-to fruit is apples, but the hotel provided lovely Granny Smiths at the front desk and in the room.
On the first night after settling in, which means opening all the cupboards, sniffing the soap, checking the bed for bugs, hanging up my clothes and calling home I decided to make toast and tea, one of my quick go to snacks when needing to relax and feel comfy.
I pulled out the toaster. I noticed the dial was set to Level 11, so thought it might be one of those toasters that has a tough time getting hot and toasting the toast. Indeed, it took two cycles to get to a glorious golden brown. Golden, not burnt. But what happens? The smoke alarm goes off!The smoke alarm is strategically placed above the kitchenette. Clearly, it is a smoke alarm on the ready, determined to save the lives of the inhabitants in the hotel, because honest to god, there was NO SMOKE. I mean, look at the picture! The butter isn’t even melting!
Quite contrary to my regular behaviour, I calmly continued to butter my toast through the ear-splitting alarm. I could hear doors opening the hallway. I could visualize my neighbours standing around in their pyjamas and sweats wondering where the fire is. I didn’t even open a window. I figured once I finished buttering my toast, I’d flap one arm in the general vicinity of the alarm to help circulate the air.
As it is, the alarm silenced when it was satisfied there was no fire.
The next morning I was woken by seagulls and gurgling float planes and breakfast was the first thing on my mind. I decided with confidence to make a poached egg, and have it on toast. Feeling a little anxious about setting the smoke alarm off at 6:30 a.m. I took some preventative steps. The first, open the patio door. The second, turn on the ceiling fan to High. With the ceiling fan twirling around so fast it looked like it was ready to come off its moorings, I felt safe to make toast.
The toast was made, again using two cycles, but this time I stood guard with tea towel in hand and flapped the air around, just to make sure. Toast was made, no alarm. Meanwhile, my simmering water produced the most beautiful and perfect of poached eggs. I admired it as it sat atop my buttery toast, took the picture, and enjoyed my breakfast with a most amazing view.
For work, I scooped out some yogurt and frozen blueberries in my handy container, and packed a granola bar.
This is a regular work-day snack I have, and was quite pleased with myself to continue the tradition while away from home.
For supper, I was feeling ambitious when I left home and had visions of making rice and beans and taking in left overs for lunch. This didn’t happen for two reasons. The first is cooking up an onion in a studio room gave me visions of sleeping in onion vapours the rest of the visit, and smelling up my clothes. The second is the simple social dynamic of traveling. My natural self desires to be in my PJs by 7 pm, under the covers watching Netflix shows and eating Cheezies. But I am easily swept up in the “let’s go for a drink after work” thing, and next thing I know I am finishing my second pint of beer, sipping my first glass of wine, and ordering Thai prawns. My ankles swell thinking of it.
However, a night of booze and salty-high fat restaurant food is quickly remedied by drinking glasses of water, starting the next day with cups of tea and eating a bowl of heart and artery soothing oatmeal.
Traveling can be hard on some people, especially those with delicate dispositions if you know what I mean. At the minimum, a kettle or microwave to heat up water to make oatmeal for breakfast is a sure way to keep things moving along. A fridge to keep berries frozen and yogurt cool is a must. It doesn’t take much to eat healthy while on the road.
Don’t forget to enjoy the people you are with too. Don’t get so hung up on healthy eating that you miss out on nights out on the town. A few beers with co-workers can begat friendships and memories to last a life time.