Nachos, Starbucks, trashy magazines - not all travel habits are good ones!
Time for nachos? Yes please! While I’d like to pretend I spend all my time seeking out culturally appropriate baked goods or reveling in the café culture, my dark and shameful truth is that I’m a travel nacho girl. Paris, Zermatt, Lilongwe, Derry – nachos, nachos, and more nachos!
I can’t say why nachos hold such an appeal for me. I don’t have a memory of trying them for the first time or consciously making them a travel tradition. In fact, I often avoid ordering nachos, as I feel guilty that I don’t want a more authentic regional dish!
While they are, of course, the most delicious food in the world, I think part of the appeal is the social aspect of sharing the nachos. While I’m a notorious “bad sharer”, I can make an exception for nachos and I love heading down to a pub to share a big plate of nachos and treats. In Zermatt, I went for an evening walk with new friends from the hostel and we ended up at a pub with a great view of the Matterhorn, sharing a plate of nachos that were curiously made with Doritos – it was a wonderful evening, both familiar and exotic all in one.
While I decry the production of poor quality nachos – those with skimpy toppings, with burnt on cheese, with soggy middles, with miniscule side servings of sour cream and guacamole – there really are no bad nachos. I challenge you to eat some on your next trip and indulge a vice or two.
While we’re on the topic of being honest about travel vices, I should confess to a litany of other charges that fall before me.
McDonald's (and other fast food)
The ultimate foodie fail, I’m afraid. But not every meal has to be a memorable “experience”. Sometimes you just want something quick and easy. When those moments call, I usually grab a breakfast sandwich. I used to worry that I would fall into the stereotype of the North American tourist in Rome who spends all their time pounding the pavement in white high tops in search of a Big Mac, but now I embrace my desire for a $3 bagel topped with fried egg and cheese.
And if it comes with an Oreo McFlurry on the side, so be it.
Sometimes I just want an extra hot, lactose free hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint in it. Or a half caf vanilla latte with some caramel drizzle. Or a no water chai - the list goes on! And I want it with a peach muffin, or cream cheese brownie, or banana bread, or sometimes all of the above. Throw in clean bathrooms and free Wi-Fi and you’ve got a happy girl. I’ve hit up Starbucks in such coffee meccas as Lahaina, Hilo, Paris, and Montreal. Shame, shame, super shamed.
Are you a celebrity with cellulite? Or a starlet who once left the house without full makeup? Then thank you for sharing so many flights with me over the years. It seems my strident feminist principle to judge women on their character, not their appearance, doesn’t extend to time spent on aircraft.
Like you, I naturally am devoted to watching but only the finest nature documentaries and rare art house films. Yet when I travel, my TV choices go from bad to worse. I once spent an afternoon in one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever seen, lounging in bed, watching Man vs Food. While I was often deliciously revolted by the food contests, I have to say I coulda taken that nacho challenge.
If it contains mango, coconut, strawberry, or pineapple and comes in a creamy, frothy blend with cut-rate booze and a sickening amount of sugar than this is poolside drink for me! Wish I could be more sophisticated, but there it is. I've realized that I really just love the sugary goodness and the discount rum puts me fast to asleep, so now I’m truly just as happy with a virgin version as the original.
While my love of stationary is well known, buying new journals and notebooks is a particular weak point for me. Can’t get enough of the pretty books I’ll likely never use.
I know – can I get any wilder? It’s not that I buy such an outrageous quantity; it’s more that it’s unnecessary as I make my own at home. But you show me a square jar of overpriced sour cherry jam in Western Ireland, or little pots of crab apple jelly in Nova Scotia and I can’t part with my cash fast enough. Nothing loosens the grip on wallet like plum jam, as I’ve been trying to re-experience a certain jam I had at a hostel in Bern over 10 years ago.
Buying Travel Packing Gadgets
If you have a nifty gadget designed to organize a carry on suitcase, making someone more comfortable when they fly, or turn a 3-1-1 kit into a full beauty boutique, chances are I've bought into the whole pitch, hook, line, and sinker. I'm lookin' at you, collapsible travel tray! My obsession with packing sometimes has some unintended bad shopping consequences!
I know I'm not the only one with a few less-than-sophisticated travel vices! It's time to confess - any shameful secrets you wish to share??
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