Monday, 24 September 2012

Travelling with four of my five senses!

I don't think I'll ever really want to visit anywhere more than I want to constantly go to/be in Britain, however, I don't go to England to travel - I go there to go home.

But in the past couple of years, I've become more financially stable and it looks like I don't have to scrimp and save in order to get back to London. This means I can do MORE travel - if I could only afford one trip, I would choose England every single time, but I may now be able to afford more travel, or maybe do some proper stopovers on the way to Europe.

See, I want to go to some places feel a bit more different than Western Europe and the USA. Here's a list of where I've visited:


All of those are fairly 'Western' - Fiji is very resort-style, at least where I was, and Israel has a huge mix of cultures but I've been going there since before I can remember. Most of the stops in Europe were only very short, three days at a time at most, sometimes only one day. I've allegedly been to Greece and Singapore but I was a baby and I don't remember it.

So. While I am genuinely most interested in Europe and the culture found there (as well as the USA and the events/food found there) I feel like I've travelled a lot but am not particularly 'well-travelled.' I work in the travel industry so am constantly exposed and reminded of the existence of thousands of cities and all the unique experiences to be had. I want to do some of that. And I could do some of that. The problem, for me, is food.

Ifyou read this blog post, you'll know I have some eating issues. If you haven't, I suggest you read it as the issues are quite severe.
 I'm terribly ashamed of travelling somewhere with a totally different style of food and having to not eat it, but the fact of the matter is that I just can't. People might say how much I'm missing out, how much it's a major part of the experience... I've heard it all before. I'm sure that's all true... for you. But eating for me isn't that big a deal, because I've had these problems so long that I am used to not experiencing things when it comes to food. I don't often go out to eat with people even at home. I just eat what I can eat to get by, and when there is something I really enjoy, I enjoy the fuck out of it and it's a major luxury. So yes, one day I'm going to go to Naples just to eat their pizza, and I'll go all around Italy eating pizza and bread and being disgustingly gluttonous, and when I was in California I spent $60 on 2lbs of hand-made salt caramels which are a gift from heaven. But I don't NEED that in my travel. I just need to be able to eat enough to survive.

I want to visit places in Asia. Maybe Russia, Eastern Europe at least. Maybe India. South America also, and the West Indies. South Africa, Egypt and Jordan. I have genuinely no idea how easy it is, in many of the places I might want to go, to get simple Western food, which is basically what I need. I'm sorry if it offends you connoisseurs, but that's the situation and I know it means I'll have trouble going 'off the beaten track' and out into the wilds. Don't tell me how much I'm missing. It's not like that. It's how much YOU'D be missing in that situation. Don't project your values onto me.. I have different values about food. Pretend that food was just a meagre thing required to get by, like plugging yourself into a power socket, and I need a particular type of socket.

Can you help me?

I'll list some examples of places that I'd like to think of visiting. If you have anything to offer in regards to what I need, please comment, or Tweet me. (@nataliefisher)

Hong Kong
Sri Lanka
Czech Republic
Greek Islands
UAE (Dubai)
Southern Africa
West Indies

Here is my question - if you have visited any of these places - or any other places you think I should visit - how easy do you think it would be for me to eat, relatively simply and normally for me? I'm talking more supermarket food than restaurant food. For example, safe fresh fruit/veg I could buy, commercial Western brands I would recognise being sold, or even fast food? I've been to Malaysia - not into the city, just around the airport, and this is a good example - I ate McDonalds there and it was pretty much the same as any McDonalds anywhere. Same goes for Korea. It should be noted that I'm not obsessed with McDonalds, I just happen to have instant trust in regards to them, like I know their world standards so I wouldn't be scared of going and getting some fries and fries are a staple of simple filling foods that I can eat and sometimes easier to get than plain bread, depending on the culture.

Now, I'd be happy to go to anywhere in Asia and experience all the culture, forests, wildlife, history, temples etc. and then go back to my hotel room at night and stuff myself with plain fries, Coca Cola, and a couple of bananas and oranges. I can sustain myself like that, I generally only eat one proper-sized meal a day as it is.

So, friends, tell me - where is this plausible? I imagine somewhere like Bangkok that's no problem, but I'm more interested in northern Thailand and also the islands. I think Bali might be okay? My idea for Asian travel is beaches and forests, wild life, boats, temples, sculpted gardens, serene mountains, local craft, history and culture, markets, etc etc.  As far as Europe goes, I want to go to Gallipoli, I want to see ancient ruins, I want to see beautiful museums and stately buildings. As far as South America, Russia, India and Africa go - I have no idea what might be plausible in regards to my eating.

I know in a lot of these places, the culture may vary hugely from big cities to smaller places. I don't love the idea of big Asian cities, it overwhelms me quite a bit, but I'd stay there and potentially go on day trips out to the slightly more remote places if possible, in order to see what I might like to see and still be able to eat? I could bring my own food on such trips if I'm able to buy it in the cities.

I just want to hold baby tigers AND eat McDonalds, okay? Is that a thing that can happen in my life?


  1. Hey Natalie,
    I haven't really spent much time in Asia so don't have much to say on that front, but I spent about a week or so in Barcelona a few years ago and you'd definitely have no problem finding something to eat there. I stayed at a hostel and most nights we made our own food to eat and the supermarkets are virtually the same as in Australia (and otherwise they have plenty of places with different cuisines so you may be able to find something in that way too). The thing is that that's obviously a pretty big city though so I'm not sure how it'd be in smaller towns, but my sister went to Seville/Granada and I'm pretty sure she found it quite easy to find fairly similar food to here.
    I lived in Egypt for a couple of years but it was when I was about 4 so I can't really remember much unfortunately - but I'm fairly certain that in the cities it shouldn't be too hard. Can't be 100% sure though.

    Anyway, hope that's some help, if you have any questions feel free to ask :)


  2. Hey. :) So, I think your blog ate my first comment...

    Anyway, I basically said that I've been to Spain and the mainland of Greece. Both are fairly Westernized and easy to move around in, both in terms of the people and the food. In Spain, we were offered quite a lot of Americanized food. A little less so in Greece, but I also remember several small market stores where you could buy all sorts of things. McD's is also not a problem in either country. As far as food goes, I'll try anything once, and most things twice. But I understand that not everyone is like that and I definitely understand the mechanisms behind diseases and disorders such as the ones you listed in your other post. You'll never catch me rolling my eyes at something like that, because I know just how much it can't be helped (I have anxiety and some of the lengths I'll go to in order to avoid certain things even drives me up the wall). But in those two places, at least, I don't think you'll have a problem. (It should also be noted that I traveled with a large group, so they did have to feed 30 people at a time and that could be why it was so much easier to come across Americanized food. But I still don't think you'll have a problem.)

    I've never been, but I've got good friends in both India and Argentina. If you need any sort of information about either of those countries, you know where to find me. For Argentina in particular, my friend eats a lot of fruits and vegetables and very little meat. It's a cultural thing, so I think you'll be safe there too.

    Oh, and if you do ever go to India or Argentina, take me with you?!


  3. To be honest Fisher, I've never been anywhere you can't get pizza, from Goa to Chang Mai, to Shanghai...
    Thailand has enormous numbers of 7-11 and Tesco Lotus everywhere, if you're heading into the middle of the Southern Peninsula (khao sok or places like that) then you might have a little trouble, but even there they had a 7-11 that sold enough western analogue stuff to get by on, every town larger than a bus stop is going to have somewhere you can stock up enough to get by.
    Eastern Europe is pretty much the same as Northern Europe, especially if you're going to Krakow or Kiev, Macdonalds and Pizza places everywhere, plus major supermarkets.
    China I can see being more of a challenge outside the cities, but I really have only been to the really beaten track places; Shanghai was a completely ultra-modern city with about forty branches of starbucks and a multitude of other western franchises.
    Egypt might be a little trickier as far as I can recall, though even way down the Nile you could pop for a Macdonalds. As far as my list of places I'm familiar with goes, you would appear to be fine with a little prep. South America I know nothing about, West Indies/ Carribean I've never been but I've got friends there and as far as I can tell they're all sufficiently westernised (if that's the right word) to make things easy.
    You are one of nature's baby tiger holders, and as far as I can tell the food issue shouldn't be one that gets in the way. It also has to be remembered that especially in places like Thailand people will cook you anything you want, or at least help you to find it. I have seriously never, ever been to a place as friendly and cheerful as Thailand...You should definitely go, especially if food is the only issue. Love Jonathan

  4. Hi, I am a complete random that was reading people's blogs, and I found yours. I've done a bit of travelling in my short life, I used to live in Africa before my family relocated themselves back to Australia. Unlike you, I'm not adverse to eating new things, although I am known to be a picky eater (I'm a bad Aussie, I hate the taste of lamb), but I'll try to help where I can. I visited Egypt and Jordan a few years ago, and most of the Middle Eastern food is pretty simple. They eat a lot of chicken and lamb though, and you're a vegetarian, I believe??? But they do make vegetable dishes as well. I remember being tired of chicken, so we asked our guide to take us to a hamburger place, and we ate hamburger patties on pita bread with humus...yeah, that was interesting. But you can see MacDonald's from the pyramids in Cairo, so if worst comes to worst, have some familiar fast food. Although, the MacD's in the airport in Dubai only had lentil burgers when I was there...
    I think part of travelling is exploring and seeing what you can find. There will always be something there that you can eat, but you might have to be a little bit adventurous and go a bit out of the way. And what you can't eat certainly get's made up for by the amazing people and sites you will see. :D