Today’s post is a bit short + sweet because I am writing from roughly halfway across the world. My mom and I are currently in a little Airbnb with the windows flung open, looking out over palm fronds and a little herb garden below, just outside of the historic town of Hoi An, Vietnam. We have had two and a half days of walking, sight-seeing, and a lot of eating mind-blowingly good food. While taking a mid-afternoon break from it all, I wanted to pop in and share some general travel insights with you all, along with a recipe, tested and tried for this very trip.
A possibly well-known fact about myself is that I love packing. I have to stop myself from pulling down my suitcase the second I book a flight and I often start to pack, or at least plan what will be packed, weeks in advance. Example A: my clothes were fully rolled up in my suitcase 2 weeks before my flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
This love is probably due the tantalizing mixture of how much I find deep satisfaction in organizing things along with the anticipation of the experience- imagining what you need on a trip based on the exciting things you’ll be doing in that new place. While the objects either carefully rolled or flung into a suitcase or backpack always vary location to location, over the years I have honed a little collection of less-ordinary things that I carry with me. They help to ease the transit and keep me comfortable and grounded wherever I am in the world. Today, while in the midst of a new adventure myself, seemed like the perfect time to share that little list with you.
My Out of the Box Packing Essentials
-Coconut oil. I always put some in a little jar or container and keep it in my backpack. It’s the easiest, multi-purpose natural moisturizer for your face or body (especially on super-dry airplanes), plus I like to do a little oiled self foot massage after a long day of walking and wandering.
-Lime essential oil. I always start my day with warm lemon water and because sometimes when you travel it’s nice to keep a semblance of routine to stay a bit grounded, I bring edible lime essential oil and add one or two drops to hot water in the morning.
-Bags of herbal tea (chamomile, sleepy-time blend, etc.). It can be so frustrating to try to sleep on a long flight and feel completely restless. Tea always helps, especially the kinds that knock you out for the night.
-Vitamin C. Worse than not sleeping while you travel is getting sick just before arrival. I always try to hike up my immunity as much as possible, which means loads of vitamin c. Whether in tablet, pill or powder form- take it.
-A slightly superstitious travel token. Since I started traveling solo, I always carry an object with me that just feels like it brings good luck. I know it’s a bit silly, but it is kind of nice to have something with you that symbolizes comfort and homey-ness. My own object has changed twice now, but these days I always wear the same necklace that has some words engraved on it while I am on the move.
-Homemade snacks + travel bites. We travel, we get hungry, we need snacks. It’s a fact. I have started making these travel bites every time I have any kind of trip, whether it’s a short train ride over to Casablanca or a 12 hour flight to Vietnam.
Some people call these energy balls, but I’m calling them travel bites because they are the perfect little boosting snacks to bring with you anywhere in the world. I pack them in a small Tupperware or plastic bag and toss them in my purse for the journey, be it plane, train, or road trip. Just a couple can tide over hunger cravings, although with these two flavors I could probably eat the whole batch in one sitting.
The almond butter cinnamon toast bites were named because something about the flax seeds mixed with the oats and other flavors gives it this buttery taste, just like a slice of cinnamon toast. The chocolate fig, on the other hand, are pretty straight-forward- cacao powder and dried figs. A match made in heaven. Make these for you next trip, whether it’s a one-day escape outside of town or a long haul where you’re going to need a lot of extra fuel for the road.
Almond Butter Cinnamon Toast
Makes 6 smaller balls, vegan + gf optional
- 8 dates
- 5 tbsp rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
How To: Blend the dates in a food processor until thick and smooth, add the oats, almond butter, flax seeds, cinnamon + salt and mix on high until a sticky dough forms. Roll out 1"-1.5" balls and store in a cool place.
Makes 6 large balls, vegan + gf
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 8 dates
- 3 dried figs
- 1 heaping tsp cacao powder
- Optional: 1/2 tsp maca powder
How To: Blend the almonds in a food processor until flour-like. Add the dates, figs, cacao powder, salt + maca if using, mixing on high until combined into a thick dough. Roll out 1.5"-2" balls until all the dough is used up. Store in a cool place, if possible.