Friday, 20 December 2013

Extra Baggage

They call it the Heathrow injection. The extra few kilograms that Australians tend to come back with around their mid sections after a working holiday in the UK and Europe.

Whether its the stodgy food, the copious amounts of ale or the cold weather comfort eating, its rare that an Antipodean returns home from his or her time abroad without a little more to love.

Fish & Chips in England

I'm far from immune. After over two years in the UK & Europe I returned home with around 15kgs (33lbs) extra baggage – and I'm not talking about souvenirs. Just to prove that Heathrow is not the culprit, I returned with a similar result after two years in North America.

One of my favourite things in Canada, Poutine

This has become an inevitable part of travel for me, and one that I'm willing to accept. Why? Because I love food. For me, trying all of the local food in each country is a huge part of the reason I travel. Sure I lovemeeting people, and obviously have an addiction to live sport, but on a day to day basis, its almost always the food that is most memorable.

The last two weeks in Mexico have been foodie heaven. There's been tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, chalupas, mole, quesadillas and many other types of food that I cant remember the names of. Everything seems to come with salsa, cheese, cream and chili – even at breakfast - and its becoming evident that my travel gut is well and truly back.


It didn't just start in Mexico though. After leaving Australia in pretty good shape, things were actually looking pretty good for the first month or so, travelling through Burma and India, where I ate a mostly vegetarian diet to avoid falling victim to any sketchy meat handling practices.

Vegetarian tali

And then I got to the UK. While I think British food is sometimes unfairly maligned for being boring and drab, there is really no doubting that the traditional fish and chips, pie and chips and increasingly these days, kebab and chips are anything but healthy. Throw in the aforementioned copious amounts of ale and the need for a “full fry up” to ease the inevitable hangover, and the beginnings of travel gut 3.0 were well established.

One of many fine ales consumed in England

The next leg of my trip saw me return to the US and Canada where I caught up with a lot of good friends, but also got reacquainted with some of the food I'd been missing. Poutine, chicken wings and visits to my favourite burger places were almost daily occurrences. By the time I'd finished in the US, I could start to feel my travelling diet catching up with me. I certainly wasn't the same person who completed the Tough Mudder event in February.

A Krusty Burger

All of that, though, was just a warm up. It's been Mexico that has given me some of the most delicious food I've ever had, but also the biggest contributor to the gut. It appears to be virtually impossible to eat out in this country in a healthy way. To be honest though, I'm loving it.

Enchiladas with mole (chocolate & chili)

Arriving in Mexico City after a long day of delayed and cancelled flights, to be greeted with enchiladas swimming in a delicious salsa verde, its hard to be too conscious about your body shape. You just have to enjoy.

Some of the best street food in the world

And if nothing else, when I arrive home and people ask if I bought back any souvenirs, I'll know I brought with me the best reminder of just how good a time I had.

As I move ever closer to Brazil for the World Cup starting in June, I'm looking forward to trying all the food that Central and South America can throw at me. And hey, its almost Christmas...

Who else loves eating as much as me when they travel? What are your favourite travel foods and what are you most looking forward to trying on your next trip? 


  1. Funny! And if you find yourself in Playa del Carmen next time, you MUST check out this street taco place, a fave!

  2. I'll be in Playa del Carmen next week. Thanks for the tip!