These together can prove to be one of the biggest challenges in my raw lifestyle. My passion for travel is so deep rooted that I’ll never, ever give up popping in and out of countries and cultures on my own personalized journey. But keeping a “pure good food” routine is like trying to be on both sides during a dodgeball game: The two actions don’t really sit on the same side of the fence.
Travel is about breaking down barriers, perceptions and beliefs. It’s about opting to walk out of the comfort zones and immerse into new ones with an open heart, curious mind and seeking soul. (Okay, so this is my own definition.) For me, raw/vegan eating has a lot more to do with discipline, organization and access. Face it, our world doesn’t offer live, real, organic options on every corner. In most destinations, it’s a challenge to find greenery — both landscape and produce — without putting in lots of effort.
I’ve managed on a personal level to make my two passions — travel and raw food — mesh. I credit my years of adventure racing to this balance. You see, when you do long adventure races, you must organize, organize and then reorganize all aspects of your “self,” which includes other team members. Your clothing for every hour and every sport must be labeled and put in a Ziplock bag. Your food, your supplements, your sleep, your bathroom breaks, your navigation, your hydration, your direction, your gear — it all has to be dialed in if you want success. The last adventure race I did was 9 days long and was self-supported, which means you meet up with your food boxes and gear boxes, rather than a nurturing team in an RV who undresses and redresses you and makes you food. Yup, it means you’re on your own and must predict what you are going to need at every moment, then stick it in the right box.
Between adventure racing and traveling in general, I’ve become a master at packing for a trip. Now, I’ve just added a Vita-mix, nut milk bag, pliable cutting board and a chef knife to the mix, and I’m good to go. Oh, and of course I always have raw snacks with me (made ahead of time and in baggies) or buy a couple bars, kale chips and other dehydrated stuff that will get me through a layover at an airport.
When you delve into travel and feeding others a raw/vegan diet, the playing field changes all together. It gets much larger — like U-Haul trailer larger!
A couple months ago, I was asked to cater a couple events in Arizona. Of course, I jump at any chance to introduce people to gourmet raw/vegan food. “How many?” I asked innocently. About 100. “Wow, what an opportunity!” was my first thought, followed quickly by: “Wow, how am I going to do that?” I’ve catered meet-up groups, charity functions, cocktail parties, small dinner parties and some medium-sized retreats, but 100 people was beyond my present scope.
Turns out it takes even more planning, which secretly I love and think I’m rather good at. So now, I don’t worry about just me, but also equipment, ingredients, produce deliveries, budgets, and the sheer amount needed to feed 100 people three times a day! But I’ve no complaints whatsoever as this is the beautiful life I’ve asked for and have received. Such excitement! The retreat is for my good friend Rebecca Astara of Destination Bliss, the same logistical company that puts on David Wolfe‘s retreats, except this one is at some amazing private facility in Arizona, Eden Hot Springs, which I hear is a magical place on private land about three hours east of Phoenix. She’s told me that the facilities are “rugged”; a single-wide trailer is our kitchen, our storage is an old container box. What an adventure this will be!