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The One Must-Carry Item Most Travelers are Forgetting
Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:07
One tiny little item could easily be the most important item you carry on your next trip.
Think it’s your iPhone, maybe a specialty travel map or could it be some robust walking shoes? All of those are great and will definitely help your trip. But if you have to be told to wear proper walking shoes when traveling, maybe you need to rethink going out in the first place. :)
It’s none of these items.
The Must Carry Item - a Simple Spoon or Spork
Eating on a trip is an adventure. It should be. Food is personal. It’s culture.
Sadly shopping these days has mostly turned into walking a network of worldwide malls that carry the same brands no matter the country you’re in. You go to Gucci in Italy or Bangkok…you’re getting pretty much the same overpriced bag. Oddly though people still pay for the “exclusivity” even though it’s obvious the items are aren’t…but we digress.
Food is the last true tourism. It’s authentic in a way sightseeing will never be. Know how many New Yorkers have been to the top of the Empire State Building? A whole lot less than the number of tourists who have been. You’re more likely to find a local at Striphouse or Shake Shack than taking photos on top of some tall building.
Eating local food gives you access to daily life and real people
Sure most cities today have most of the foods of the world at some little shop, but I guarantee you eating it there in the homeland, with the real ingredients, will always blow away your authentic local joint.
But those exciting flavours often come at a cost.
“It’s very hard to avoid. About 40 percent of people will get diarrhea when traveling in an undeveloped country, which covers most of the world,” says Dr. Stephen Berger, founder and medical advisor for GIDEON, on online infectious diseases database.
“Delhi Belly”, “Montezuma’s Revenge”…whatever you want to call it, it affects a lot of us when we travel. If you suffer you can be stuck at home or near the closest clean toilet for the rest of your trip, swearing off local foods forever. The reasons scientist give are many – we are contacting different bacteria’s, our stomachs aren’t used to the ingredients, etc.
Reduce the chance simply by using your own cutlery
It sounds over simplistic, but think about it. Most foods are cooked, particularly if you’ve chosen a shop carefully (you know the crowded one cooking its food right there in front of everyone). Don’t eat curries that contain milk that have sat all day in the sun from a shop no one is going to. If you do that, you’ll get sick and that’s just on you.
But if you’ve sourced a good restaurant, chosen your foods well and ordered bottled drinks then the only exposure you’re likely to have to local junk is on your cutlery. They’re often improperly washed and left out, exposed to the elements. And you hold those things with your hands…and put them in your mouth :)
Simple tip with big payback – carry your own spoon
You’ll know it’s clean and only covered in your own bacteria. Wash it with your own water if you’re hyper sensitive or traveling to a place with truly awful tap water. That’s it. Simple, cheap and won’t take up much space on your journey…or even much weight if you go titanium.
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