Planning for Spontaneity
Updated: May 16, 2019
Hubby and I are both free-spirited individuals. We’ve both had our fair share of flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventures, relishing in the open armed embrace of curious travel, following where the wind takes you on any given day (I once spent a whole day in Paris flipping a coin at every corner to decide which direction to take - amazing day!) Many of my BEST adventures have come out of nowhere and been a result of spontaneously following my heart, or my nose, towards whatever felt right. That’s all not so easy now I have to watch everything I eat and plan everything beforehand. It’s definitely achievable at home where I can control my own environment but I’m an explorer by heart and no-one should be confined to their own kitchen!
I’m sure this is a feeling that’s shared by anyone that needs to watch what they eat for all sorts of reasons. So what I’m pondering today is how to find that feeling of exploration and freedom, especially when travelling, when detailed planning is required (in my situation to avoid being gluten-ed)?
You know the scenario, you’re on a trip, you haven’t planned ahead, no emergency food in your bag, you’re starving hungry and the best GF option you can find is either an apple or some highly sugared cookie that’s suggested to you with a smile as a viable lunch option. These are the days I more often than not end up with a migraine either from lack of food, too much sugar or just the sheer frustration of not being able to eat anything! It’s easy to say “you just always have to be organised” and I agree with that, but some days just don’t work out that way, I'm tired and I just don’t wanna!!
With a three-month overseas holiday on our horizon, these are definitely days I want to avoid. I would much rather the days where we wander a city or explore the countryside following a road because it looks nice, visiting cafes and restaurants along the way when we get hungry, exploring the local culture and tasting local delicacies (is it weird that I have visions of head scarves, large sunglasses, a red convertible and the theme song from “Sound of Music” in my head??) I’m dreaming I know but I’m hopeful that we can find a nice balance somewhere in between structuring every meal and enjoying what comes along.
So, following a GF diet is ALL about planning and knowledge so my theory is that the more planning and research I do now (definitely advocated by ALL good gluten free travel bloggers no matter what type of traveller you are), the more that will allow for random spontaneity in the days to come. Good theory?
Here’s some places I’ve been going for advice and some useful things I’ve found along the way (I'll do a bigger post on this later as the list gets bigger!):
Gluten Free Travel Guides for each country: There are loads of these around and a Google search will give you plenty - I really like these ones at the moment
https://www.legalnomads.com/gluten-free/ (scroll down for the guides)
Check out Coeliac Associations in each country - fellow blogger The Gluten Free Globetrotter has a great list!
Being a member of gluten free travel or coeliac Facebook groups has provided a wealth of information and good tips on places to visit in each country - I particularly like this one
Phone Apps: There are some great apps out there to have on your phone at the ready when needed - these have been great so far
I’ve also been spending a good deal of brain capacity lately thinking about what to pack for this adventure. We’ll be away for 12 weeks, visiting 13 different countries (sounds like a Contiki tour but I promise it’s anything but!), 4 distinctly different climates and a range in activities from plush dinners in the Eiffel Tower to trekking the Austrian Alps to sunning on the beach in Greece! I hate travelling with heavy bags so everything that is going in to my case for this journey is being thoroughly vetted. Now this is not the normal way I pack – I’m the one that normally packs the night before (or the morning of) and usually ends up having superfluous items and things that I dearly miss. My goal is to avoid both that feeling AND the going hungry part on this trip. Stick with me in the coming months and we’ll see how I go.
All suggestions and advice welcome!!
THE TRAVEL PLAN
2 weeks in Denmark
Drive/train through Berlin/Prague/Vienna
Explore a bit of Austria
Italian Lakes District
Greece – Athens up to Thessaloniki
Zurich (cheapest way to get fro Greece to France!)
2 weeks in Iceland
1 week in Cambodia
This may all sound somewhat disjointed but there’s reasons – friends mainly.
And yes, there’s still room for spontaneity in here!
Eat delicious meals in every country.
Not get gluten-ed.
Keep total baggage limit to 25kgs (including laptop, camera, handbag etc).
Attempt to look somewhat stylish/comfortable/outdoorsy when required.
Not freeze in Iceland (I’m always cold, this is a challenge in itself!).
What do you think?
How do you plan to be spontaneous?