The Foodie Traveler, or How Not to Get Sick on the Road


As you’re reading this, I’m in Tampa at RainbowCon, getting my author geek on and spending my downtime doing some writing but otherwise being as lazy as possible. After the convention ends, I’ll spend a few days visiting with cousins who live here, during which time I hope to be by the pool or on the beach, for the most part. And then I fly to Portland (by way of Detroit) for the Dreamspinner author workshop. I’ll be back home a week from Sunday.


I started doing regular travel for work of one sort or another 15 years ago, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I can’t stomach it unless I’m very, very careful. Oh, I’m mostly fine with flying, which was something I didn’t learn until I was in my 30s, because we never had the money to fly anywhere when I was younger. My problem is a tendency toward occasional motion sickness, which can happen any time and with any kind of motion but has certain triggers. Riding in the back seat of a car, for example, is usually a bad idea. And eating heavy or greasy meals before travel is right out.


When I’m on the road, I do my best to follow the usual travel guidelines. I get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water (most of it bottled), and try to eat healthy meals. That last part is tough when you’re eating out most of the time, but I pay particular attention to what I eat on days when I’m traveling. I’m lucky that I don’t have any serious food restrictions, but light meals on travel days are a must, and I also carry something snacky with me. A bout of low blood sugar is never fun but ten times worse when you’re sitting in an airport. I also stock various medications for various digestive-related ailments in the mini pharmacy that always goes into my travel bag.


(I’m trying to avoid going into much detail here. There’s TMI, and then there’s T. M. I.)


One thing I still try to do when I travel is eat locally. I don’t want to go across the country and then eat food I can get around the corner. I avoid chains, unless they’re regional and don’t exist near me (I’ll be visiting Wawa while I’m in Tampa). I’m happy to visit tourist-attraction restaurants (I will have a VooDoo Doughnut in Portland) but like to find the places where locals eat. I’m cautious about foods I’ve never had before, and I stick close to my regular personal guidelines (nothing too spicy, for example), but I firmly believe food is a big part of the travel experience, so I stretch as much as I feel like I can. Not that this plan is foolproof, but then, nothing ever is. 🙂


So wish me smooth travels and safe eating, all, and I hope I’ll have foodie stories to share when I get back home!

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