Posts Tagged With: vegetarian

I’ll have the mystery meal please.

Yes, I’m the girl next to you on the flight that brings out the buffet of food that I’ve stored in my carry on. Pre-cut veggies, dips, fruit, nuts, crackers and so on. I usually just say “No thank you” when they offer the complementary meal, as I’ve never been a fan of the mystery meat and dinner roll they serve you. This round I thought I’d branch out a bit after I realizing that you get options for specific meals as long as you request it at least 48 hours before your flight. Why not?

First up is a short flight from Chiang Mai Thailand to Bangkok. I picked “Vegetarian” since I had some pumpkin seeds with me and I figured it would be a decent combo. I was served fruit, raw veggies, salsa and a side salad of raw veggies with a dinner roll. Good thing I wasn’t battling hunger (and it was a quick flight) so I just wrapped it up to take on the go.


First snack of the journey? Leftovers from the previous flight (seen above) with those pumpkin seeds I had in my carry on.


Next flight was a bit longer traveling from Bangkok to Shanghai, China. For this journey I previously selected “Gluten Free”. They served me poached eggs, steamed vegetables, two servings of fruit and some sort of gluten free bread (I’m assuming made from rice). Please keep in mind this is all for the experience and hopes for something new on a flight. I am in no way intolerant or allergic to any foods nor am I a proper vegetarian. I simply love food and surprises! For this one, I chose to eat the eggs and toast and save the fruit for a separate snack.


What’s this… left over pumpkin seeds? Perfect!


I still had a few hours to go while waiting in China, so I busted out my other carry-on meal which was a packet of miso soup. In the Shanghai airport, they have machines that deliver complimentary warm, hot or boiling water. You’d think this would be common, but more often than not, hot water is hard to find. I usually carry my own tea and oatmeal so I’m frequently in search of a cafe that will just put hot water in a cup for me or I settle for paying for the water since they “have to heat it”.


Quick photo break! Here’s a few shots from the airport in Shanghai, clean with an open layout and traditional shopping options.





Moving on to the flight from China to Tokyo, Japan. I wasn’t able to pre-select my choice for this 2 1/2 hour jaunt, so when the stewardess came around, I just asked for which ever had the most vegetables. My surprise platter consisted of fruit, rice crackers, veggies, potatoes, beef and a chicken salad. For dessert (I think) was what looked like a firm white custard-type jiggly puck shaped item.


Although I’m not a vegetarian, I’m certainly a picky meat eater and airplane beef and questionable chicken is far from my first choice of protein. With that said, I transferred all of the veggies to one dish, stashed the rice crackers for later and offered the rest to my neighbor (a teenage boy that was eager for more food). Even he stared at the “dessert” for awhile and with a confused look just covered it up with his napkin.

Landing back in Tokyo my mind is satisfied with the experiment and my stomach is horribly confused and probably a little frustrated with me. Oh we’ll, I’m still happy, healthy and no longer have extreme curiosity of the meals I’ve always skipped on flights.

Hello Japan, home sweet home? For now.

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Trains, planes and a tuk tuk equals an emotional high!

If you’ve been following this blog from the beginning, you’ll know that my experience has ranged from volunteering in small villages to helping out in grand hotels. Ive gotten to live in a tree house, van camp, hitch hike and lets not forget the random events of spoiling myself during “holiday” with friends from home. I’ve crossed paths and reunited with many other backpackers and have stayed with numerous friends from around the world. All of these events lead me to realize that I’m extremely (fill in the blank here with any positive word that represents or resembles lucky, blessed, fortunate, kissed by karma, etc).

After enjoying a luxurious month in Japan with my cousin, I’ve decided to return to my solo backpacking and spontaneous volunteering adventure that I started this whole expedition with.

I packed a small bag, bought a one way ticket and boarded a flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia… Butterflies included.

To give you an idea of where I am and what I felt getting here, I’m going to take you on a quick 24 hour journey from a train station in Japan to the very bed I’m sitting on as I write this.

“Hey Brandon, would you mind giving me a hand please? So, Ill be back in…. Hmmm, probably just… Well, I’ll let you know”.




First flight served up Japanese noodles with sauce and seaweed sprinkles, a tomato based spicy seafood pasta, what I think was a shrimp potato salad, bread and butter next to some orange juice. Complimentary red or white wine was also an option.


The snack of the morning was hot tea, a bag of peanuts, a mini snickers and a triangular rice patty stuffed with salmon.


My layover in Kuala Lumpur, brings me a smile and the first new friend of this trip. Meet Rochaq, born in India, raised in Australia and currently on his way to surprise his mother near the Himalayas. Over hot milk tea, (thanks again for that treat!) we had an in depth conversation of health and fitness followed by the usual travel wishes and stories. I joked about having different currency to tip with and just as quickly, he matched my pile. Combined, we money from India, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and the USA. Our time together ended with info exchange and a “see you again…somewhere…sometime”.




Who’s this? It’s the glowing smile that sat next to me on the flight from Malaysia! Bree is from the states and is now traveling from Bali to Cambodia. I think the most beautiful part of our conversation was the undeniable energy we shared trading opinions of yoga and backpacking to living a life with an open mind while maintaining a conscious awareness. Considering our Asia map has similar destinations, maybe… just maybe Ill see this sweet girl again!


Landing in Phnom Penh gives me a sense of freedom. I’m not sure why, but either way, my heart is racing with excitement while my shoulders drop a notch with each step. I feel at peace.


Why do I look like a giggling rabbit? Instead of taking a bus or cab, I opt for the $7 tuk tuk ride to my first volunteering home. A tuk tuk (dependimg on the type and location are also known as a Samosa, tempo, trishaw, auto, rickshaw, autorick, bajaj, rick, tricycle, mototaxi, baby taxi or lapa) is a motorbike with an open air carriage attached to the back for its passengers. The obvious choice for financial and entertainment purposes.


Backpack between my legs and my bag tied around my shoulders, I’m ready to hit the road!



Rather than describing each photo, I’m going to highly suggest that you actually take a moment to look at each one. You’ll see mothers with children on their laps, locals hard at work or hardly working and abundance of other random sights.











By this point in the journey, I’m fighting back the lump I feel in my throat and trying to keep my focus on the vibration I feel in my body (and I’m not talking about the motorized bumpy tuk tuk ride). These emotions can only be expressed as the deep appreciation I have for being exactly where I am at this very moment in time.

I am so grateful for my life.


Upon arriving to my new “home”, I’m instantly invited out for lunch by one of the house roomies. Ill introduce you to that cozy place and the others soon. For now, I hop on the back f her scooter and head to a vegetarian restaurant.



She ordered an egg sandwich and I had a mushroom patty with cucumbers and soup. In the middle we shared fried tofu with black pepper and lime juice. Including the warm tea, all together this lunch bill totaled $5 (in USD). Kind of pricey for these parts (sarcastic giggle) but we got to sit at a table, with silverware and additional sauces. Amazing!


We arrive back and I’m shown to my room which is where I sit at this very moment writing about my last 24 hours.


It’s only just begun…

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Getting lost put me exactly where I wanted to be!

When walking the streets in Arequipa Peru you’ll see more taxi’s than cars and more pedestrians than taxi’s. Mingled in with the traffic and rush of the daily busy life you’ll find street side vendors, children in school uniforms and random sights that are typical to the Peruvian culture.

I’ll start with a grand shot of the Center Plaza including the gorgeous mountain that peaks behind it. Although it was surrounded by busy streets, it seemed to bring the freshest air in the city and what appeared to be every bird.






I have no idea.


Leaving from here I made unplanned turns weaving in and out of the alleys and side streets just to see what I could find. Please join me as we get lost!




This is a school bus with all of the backpacks secured on top, I love it!












This next photo is special for several reasons. First off, I think it’s precious! Secondly, I literally stopped in my tracks as soon as I heard a famous American pop song blaring from a small tienda. I wanted to snap a photo of exactly what I saw at that very moment. What a contrast to hear Taylor Swift while melting into a different culture.


I finally found a street that wasn’t bogged down with traffic and as I rounded the corner a four letter word smiled right at me…. Y.O.G.A!



Not only was it a yoga and massage studio, but turns out they have amazing food as well! I decided to spoil myself and indulge in the everything they offered.



Here is the yoga/massage room followed by a photo of my yoga instructor and masseuse (which happen to be a happy couple!).



Brace yourself as I reveal the cost for my day of pampering.
Private yoga class, a delicious lunch and a full body massage = Grand total of $24 US dollars!


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Color me yum

Most of the meals we’ve had here have been homemade at our apartmemt. It’s financially smarter between the two of us and also beneficial to our health. (that sounded way more serious than I meant it). Also, when we DO eat out at a local place, it increases the appreciation for flavor, variety and the whole no cooking or dishes part.

Here is an unplanned “creative” meal we through together.

In the fridge we had an egg, a cup of lentils and some veggies. Excellent…. An  omlette with lentils on the side, next to some raw veggies.

Even though the yolk is where the cholesterol and fat is, it’s also the home of many nutrients that are good for the body. I wouldn’t necessarily have them every day or multiple at a time, but once in awhile is ok. Sometimes if I’m making 2 eggs, I’ll just use one yolk and two whites. This meal was a whole egg because there wasn’t a significant amount of fat in any of the other sides and we were out of avacodo and nuts (or that would of been a tasty garnish).
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Chopped up bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms went into the egg. Fresh cucumber, bell and a few carrots were on the side of steamed pumpkin. Each plate was then topped off with a portion of lentils.
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Protein: lentils and egg
Carb: lentils and veggies
Fat: yolk from the egg


I had a smidge left over, that would of been so easy to either toss or “force down”… But why? 
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The following morning I remembered my other half of the Plain Greek yogurt in the fridge. Grabbed a few rice crackers as well and Viola! Now I have breakfast for the walk to school. 
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Protien: Lentils and yogurt
Carb: veggies and crackers
Fat: Rest of the yolk and a dash from the yogurt

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Fish N Chips x 3

I mentioned in a previous post that I would tell you what I did with the beautiful (but massive) plate of fish, chips, veggies and salad I was served back in Timaru, New Zealand.

I believe in a balanced lifestyle that best suits each individual person.  For example, some enjoy 3 large meals with no snacks in the middle, many are gluten free, others may feel at their best as vegetarians… Whatever fits your daily routine and allows you to maximize your health, energy and schedule, I say go for it! 
However, If you’re always sick and/or tired, over or under a healthy weight,  not sleeping well, (the list goes on) I would suggest evaluating not only your stress level, but your nutritional habits.

For me, I feel at my best when I eat veggie based, protien enhanced, small portions with as much variety as possible. I add products with fat by sticking primarily to the ones that have some type of benefit to my health if it be nuts, seeds, bananas, yogurt, avocado, oils, etc.
Once in awhile, I’ll throw in a scrumptious meal thats out of my norm…just to keep my body guessing and taste buds alert. Also, this world is full of amazing things, how dare I limit myself to what “I” think is the best.


The first portion I ate just the way as it came. I always try it exactly how the chef prepares it out of respect for their creation and also because usually…well always… It’s made differently than I would of done it and I love new things!

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As soon it came out I separated a serving size of the fiput and put the other 2/3 in a to go box. (I de-breaded it leaving just the white flaky fish for left overs). 
I thouroughly enjoyed all of the fresh raw veggies and put a good portion of the cooked veggies aside with the remaining fish. Chips (fries) are obviously not the healthiest choice, but an unusual treat and I valued every single bite. There were a few crispy ones left so not to be wasteful, I put those in the to go box as well for a future recipe. 
With every meal or snack I try and balance protein, carb and fat. Here’s how this one worked:

Protien: Fish
Carb: Veggies and chips
Fat: Oil


So now I have 2 servings of fish left, some chips and cooked veggies. I took a little less than 1/2 of the fish and the rest of the chips and put them in a bowl.   Added 1 egg white, and some raw chopped veggies including celery, carrot, onion,  bell pepper, and zucchini. Herbed it up with some cilantro, garlic and pepper (salt not needed due to the left over Chips). Mashed it all together to create a fish, veggie patty and grilled it. Once it came off the grill, I put it aside a green salad with no dressing and used the flavor of the patty and a dash of salsa to complement the greens. 

Protein: Fish and egg.
Carbs: Chips and veggies.
Fat: Oil from the fish, and chips.


Remaining fish and veggies simply thrown in a brown rice tortilla with a dab of yogurt, cucumber, avocado and lettuce. A fish wrap… Easy!

Protein: Fish and yogurt
Carbs: Tortilla and veggies
Fat: Oil from the fish and avocado.

So one plate made 3 huge, complete meals with only adding a few additional items. This round I was lucky to have a fridge and grill to use for my left overs as well as a fresh market within walking distance. Score!

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