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The Top 5 Foods I Discovered Whilst Travelling RTW

March 28, 2016
Dumplings and Nyonga cuisine in George Town, Malaysia

Over the last 8 months I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to travel around Europe and Southeast Asia. It’s been an incredible experience, but one of the best parts about travelling to the stunning mountains of Albania and fast-paced modern Bangkok was the amazing food that we discovered around every corner. Here’re my top 5 dishes from Spain, to Thailand.

Tapas in Barcelona

Tapas in Barcelona

Seafood Paella in Barcelona, Spain

Seafood Paella in Barcelona, Spain

1. Paella and unique tapas in Barcelona, Spain

After visiting the historic Quimet&Quimet in Barcelona I decided to recreate the delicious  signature dish of smoked salmon on a toasted baguette with Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, balsamic vinegar & truffle-infused olive oil. Served with olives and salad with fresh bufala mozzarella from Italy! Not only did we find the best tapas venue in our 3 weeks in Barcelona, we also had a succulent seafood paella in the Sarria neighbourhood.

Dumplings and Nyonga cuisine in George Town, Malaysia

Dumplings and Nyonga cuisine in George Town, Malaysia

Nyonga Cuisine in George Town, Malaysia

Nyonga Cuisine in George Town, Malaysia

2. Nyonya cuisine and Dumplings in Malaysia

Amazing Nyonya cuisine, an original form of fusion that dates back centuries to the cosmopolitan ports of Malacca and Penang where marriage between Chinese and Malays created a unique way of cooking. We also stumbled upon the most amazing dumplings in George Town, a must-visit if in Malaysia.

 

Balinese cuisine

Balinese cuisine

3.  Homemade Balinese food in Sideman, Bali, Indonesia

One of my favourite places on this trip was Bali, specifically Sideman. A small sleepy town near the east coast that’s yet to be overrun with tourists, still imbuing a sense of serene calm and tranquility. Surrounded by deep green rice paddies terraces and overlooked by the Mount Agung volcano, the view from the infinity pool was heaven. A gorgeous place for a luxury stay and still affordable among the five star hotels. The homemade Balinese cuisine served here tasted as luxurious as the surroundings.

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Bosnian Coffee

Bosnian Coffee

4. Traditional Dessert & Coffee in Bosnia

We were recommended by our walking tour guide to try a Bosnian dessert called Tufahija. A delicious stuffed apple with hazelnuts and honey with cream on top! Followed by a cup of traditional Bosnian coffee!

Pad Thai in Bangkok

Pad Thai in Bangkok

5. Thailand – From North to South

We spent the last 3 months of our time in Asia in Thailand! A stunning country with a variety of dishes from Khao Soi (a rich yellow curry noodle soup with vegetables and chicken, pork or beef) in the North to spicier dishes in the South. My favourites were the delicious, people-pleasing, Pad Thai with Chicken and Mango with Sticky Rice. I ate them almost daily!

What were your favourite dishes from around the world? Let us know in the comments below!

Travel Tips

7 Things I’ve Learnt After Travelling RTW For 4 Months

October 24, 2015
Experiencing traditional Bosnian tea in a quaint teahouse in Sarajevo

Experiencing traditional Bosnian tea in a quaint teahouse in Sarajevo

After being on the road for 4 months I’ve learned a lot about what makes you a good traveller. Having travelled through 30 countries and counting, over the last couple of decades now, here’s my take on what you should know before you leave.

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Climbing a steep hill in Sarajevo in 40 degree C heat

1. Home Is Where Your Bag Is

Four months ago we packed up our belongings into storage and sold most of our larger possessions. In the time since then my concept of home has changed considerably. No longer do I commute through a city and put a key in my front door to arrive home. Home is now where my bag is (and husband in my case..). Whether that’s in a Bosnian hostel, in a traditional Albanian farmhouse, in a house in the hills of Barcelona, on a boat (where I’m writing this from!), in the rice paddies of Ubud, Bali, or on a night train to Belgrade. Although I sometimes do miss getting home and being able to relax on the couch in front of the TV,  I wouldn’t trade this experience for home comforts and slippers just yet!

A beautiful silk skirt I bought in Indonesia for only $5!

A beautiful silk skirt I bought in Indonesia for only $5!

2.  You Don’t Need As Much As You Think

My life now consists of 10kg in a backpack, carry-on only (hand-luggage for the Europeans). That’s it. After our first stop in Barcelona I ended up donating at least 4 items of older well-worn clothing from this realising I just didn’t need them. Using a one-in-one out philosophy when it comes to packing, I’ve replaced them with a pair of light-weight Mango shorts and a H&M dress for 7 Euros that I wear at least every other day. You just don’t need the 25 pairs of shoes lying in your closet (truthfully of which you probably only wear less than 5 on a regular basis), a wardrobe bursting full of shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses and boxes of jewellery. Buying unique items of clothing along the way also make fantastic souvenirs along with being functional. An example is the beautiful long silk skirt that I bought in Indonesia for $5 that’s perfect for the climate and culture in Asia. I also simplified my travel makeup the day I left, from 3 separate bags to 1 plus a small pouch of 3 travel brushes. Moving from Europe to Asia I’m finding that I hardly wear a lot of makeup, focusing on items such as serum, BB Cream and concealer with SPF. In the heat wearing a lot of makeup isn’t practical and it also lets you start your day a lot quicker!

Wading through the ocean is sometimes the only way on and off a boat!

Wading through the ocean is sometimes the only way on and off a boat!

3.  Cultural Open Mindedness

I’ve learnt the importance of being open minded and respectful of other cultures. Be respectful of other people, their traditions, religions and styles of dress when travelling. Sometimes there isn’t going to be a laundromat, or even a dock for the boat that you’re on. You’re going to jump of the boat and walk through the shallow ocean to shore or let someone kindly wash your clothes by hand. Be open minded. Try new food, you might love it! Learn about local history and traditions. We were lucky enough to attend a traditional Albanian wedding with fantastic food that included an entire roasted pig that was brought out to the guests.

Attending a traditional Albanian wedding

Attending a traditional Albanian wedding

4. Meet Locals And See The Country Through Their Eyes

The best way to experience a country is like a local. It’s an experience that we strive for. Little nooks and rituals that you may have overlooked suddenly take on a new meaning. That plain wall with 7 windows in Sarajevo is really the shrine of 7 brothers where every local comes and prays at each window for good luck. History also changes depending on your perspective. This was paramount to us in Bosnia, and hearing about their perspective on the siege of Sarajevo was something we wouldn’t have heard had we not talked to locals, each with a powerful story. Our favourite local host was Oskar in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, who took time to take us to experience fantastic local restaurants every night and even the movies (The Martian on opening night!) from an Indonesian perspective, complete with food service from your movie seat!

5. Learning A Global Language

Smiling and purposeful hand gestures can get you far. Fact. However learning some words of the the local language is an asset. Having a pocket phrasebook was a godsend in Spain, especially as we tried to go to local restaurants off the beaten track. It helps you integrate into a country especially if you’ll be there a while. Alternatively downloading the country’s language through the Google Translate app helps if you take a photo of text and automatically translate it. The low-tech way of a notebook and pen to write down your question when buying train tickets can be effective too! If all else fails smile and be patient!

6.  Adapting Your Travel Style

As someone who used to travel with 23kg of luggage plus carry on and stay in hotels, my life being condensed to 10kg and hostels is a big change. But it’s a change I’ve learned to embrace. Your travel style is individual and it may be luxury resorts, but over the last few months I’ve learnt to try new types of accommodation and made some good friends along the way, enriching my travel experience and learning from their stories.

After climbing a hill to the top of the fort in Ulcinj, Montenegro

After climbing a hill to the top of the fort in Ulcinj, Montenegro

7. Versatility (or Bring Good Shoes)

With a backpack, there’s a good change you’ll be on your feet a lot. The importance of having good walking shoes can’t be emphasised enough. Make sure the few clothes and shoes that you’ve packed are versatile! Versatility is key! The shirt and skirt you can dress up for a night out with black ballet flats or dress down during the day to walk around on the cobblestoned streets of Europe or dusty roads of Asia with walking sandals. Leave your cute LBD at home, or for that matter anything sentimental or irreplaceable. Definitely don’t bring any expensive jewellery or that pretty heirloom bracelet. I’ve brought 3 pairs of shoes including light trainers (sneakers) that are good enough to hike up the hills of Montenegro with my backpack. My black ballet flats are essential (already 5 years old!) along with a good pair of walking sandals from Clarks. Bringing or buying a cheap pair of flip flops is handy for the beach and double as shower shoes. For the boys, Kevin bought 2 pairs of shoes, lace up smarti-sh shoes that double as sturdy trainers (sneakers) and walking sandals. Girls, don’t bring that pretty statement necklace just in case you’ll need it! When you’re walking up a steep hill from the bus station to your hostel in the blazing 2pm Adratic summer sun, you’ll wish you hadn’t. I replaced my old safari shorts, an old summer dress and 2 tops in the first week of my trip for lighter, comfier and importantly more versatile clothing. Inevitably along your trip you’ll want to buy that gorgeous top but the one-in-one out rule is good for buying clothing whilst travelling. Especially when working within the 10kg carry on limit for most airlines in Europe and 8kg in Asia (plus laptop/purse)!

With ~4 months still to go I’m hoping that the first few months have helped me acclimatise to a different style of travel with less needs and fewer belongings, allowing me to experience a whole new part of the world.