I was fortunate on this latest trip to be traveling with and visiting people of a similar nutritional mindset. That is, mostly healthy real food with an appreciation for the occasional side trip to decadence. (Yaay, popcorn balls!) As I mentioned previously, hostess KT had lots of healthy foods on hand and our choices in dining out were ‘real food’ type places. And while on the road, KO and SH (a vegetarian and flexitarian, respectively) were always on the lookout for the ‘better choices’ available and were easily adaptable as the situation required. It makes traveling so much more enjoyable when everyone has a similar intent, without being rigid.
At some point during the week, I was reminded of an entirely different situation that occurred a few years ago, while I was on a “girls’ weekend” with a dozen or so friends. For our last meal together someone suggested a Mexican restaurant and everyone agreed that sounded great…except for one person, who likes Mexican food, but didn’t want to eat there because “there wouldn’t be anything healthy on the menu.” Never mind that she hadn’t even seen the menu. And never mind that the two vegetarian and one cholesterol-vigilant group members had all eagerly agreed to the choice and assured us that they would certainly be able to find something on the menu to their liking. Our renegade friend dug in and said no. Emphatically. Wanting to avoid negativity on the final night of the gathering, the rest of us agreed to go to a restaurant we’d already decided against.
The meal was fine and we had fun, but the experience and memory of it has me thinking about how my nutritional goals might cause difficulties for people I travel with. On this recent trip, all was fine due to our similar desires for real foods, but I’m wondering about other times. When I was in Maryland, the restaurant of choice (and necessity, since it was the only restaurant in the vicinity and our people outnumbered cars by a lot) was Outback, a high calorie, high fat destination. I made it through one dinner (salad and baked potato), but I bowed out the next night by saving an errand to run during that hour. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. As far as I know, I never even mentioned my reluctance to eat at Outback two nights in a row. I just quietly did something else.
When I compare my behavior in Maryland to that of my friend at the weekend getaway, I’m really glad I didn’t make a big deal about it. The group was so large that I doubt I was missed. (Well, besides my witty dinnertime conversation.) Had anyone noticed and seemed offended by my intentions, I could have attended the dinner and found something on the menu that agreed with my goals, or close to it. OR I could have had a burger splurge and moved on to the next day.
The bottom line is that I realized last week that I don’t ever want to be known as ‘the difficult one’ of the group, constantly throwing up obstacles and objections in my zeal to find a healthier middle ground. I think I’m doing fairly well at it, but I suppose the best source for that info is my travel companions.
I also realized last week that nutritionally-compatible travel companions are a true joy to be with, something I think I underestimated and certainly under-appreciated in times past. I’m feeling really grateful for having had such a great experience in that regard last week.
All this leads me to ask where you think you fall on the travel companion compatibility scale. Do you adapt to the environment and make the best choices possible in a given situation? Or do you dig in and insist on restaurants/meals of your choice?