The effect of eating on travel habits

22:11, Aug 02 2012

Is there a sentence that, for you, defines the relationship between two travel companions? For me, it's three words: "Are you hungry?"

At home I don't think about my eating habits. If I'm peckish I'll head to the fridge; if I've arranged to meet friends for brunch or dinner, I'll wait. At work I eat when I like or at an appointed time with a mate.

Travelling alone is the same. But when you're journeying with a pal, your appetite is thrust under the microscope. What I've discovered about my stomach: I function best on a large breakfast, a large lunch and a small dinner. I can go hours between meals but hunger doesn't hit for me until I'm STARVING and I must eat or die.

What I've discovered about Ted's stomach: famished or not, he must refuel every two hours. Because he might get hungry soon and then where would we be?

I'm a "become ravenous and then look for food" kind of girl; he likes to plan our provision stops for the next three meals. When you're incompatible eaters, your trip can feel as though it revolves solely around tucker (there are worse things). One person feels as though they're eating more often than necessary and the other not enough.

Tripping around Eastern Europe last year, Kate and I suffered equally. Her metabolism is exactly contrary to mine. Breakfast for her is a piece of fruit and lunch is not much more. But dinner. Dinner is a lavish affair that must always include dessert. Every night our conversation was the same: me, "shall we share something this time?" Kate, "Oh no, I'm very hungry tonight. I'm going to need a meal to myself."

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Each lunchtime she would laugh as I asked hopefully: "Are you peckish?" She quickly learned to feed the beast soon after the question was posed (sorry bro). Her influence on me was for the better when it came to salad and fruit, for the worse at treat time (I needed so much convincing). With our eating equilibriums out of sync, we both ate more than usual (though her self discipline is much better than my own.)

When you find the Holy Grail though, that special someone whose metabolism is perfectly tuned to yours, it's a joyous thing. My friend Tracy is that person. She's the Maria to my Captain Von Trapp, my schnitzel and strudel enabler. In Austria we discovered a shared love of that country's national fare. It cemented our friendship as nothing else could. Over a glorious three days we shared a schnitz and a strude at every opportunity. Like Pooh and Piglet, each time one of us would ask, "Do you feel like a little something?" the other would respond "I was just going to ask you the same thing."

When you're with someone 24 hours a day you discover everything about them. You learn one another's secrets after lights out and whether they're a morning person or whether it's best to steer clear until after midday. But the lasting memory of each of my travel buddies has been the intricate workings of their metabolic systems. Hmmm, what does this say about me?

How about you? Have you had equally food-oriented travel experiences?

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