I live on street food. I love almost anything that comes out of a stall. The faded stained umbrella shading the meats, veggies and greasy cook tops pique my curiosity and the smoky heat makes my mouth water. Great big vats of steaming noodles, batters being poured out in big swirls.
Mystery meats covered in spicy sauces, strange weedy greens piled wetly on the side. The fish sauces, the chilies, the vinegars. Soft french baguette sandwiches. Crispy falafels, messy donairs, the random things with a raw egg cracked over it. Plates of rice and red beans with everything. Fruits bought by the handful that I clean on my jeans and lick the juices from my fingers. Roasted nuts, steamed corn on the cob..
Oh, I could go on! Fish sandwiches, toasted crickets, freshly squeezed juice. Fresh fish and salads that I buy at the market and take to the shop to prepare for me. The mystery foods the vendors show me how to eat as the locals look on and laugh at me. Mnnn…I love it all. Cheap, convenient, to-go, deliciousness on a napkin/skewer/hand.
As it turns out falafel pitas aren’t good for you breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m maybe looking in the wrong places, but salads are hard to find in developing countries. So a donair it is. Delicious meat in a pocket. My enthusiasm for trying all things new unfortunately also packed on 10 pounds.
My Mom asks “How can you gain? You walk everywhere, you haul 60 lbs in gear?” Hmm…let me dig into my excuse bin. Because I eat banana pancakes for breakfast and I don’t dedicate any time to fitness? Walking is just a form of transport. I drink that back on in beer. I was conspicuous just walking down the street in developing countries. I can’t imagine sportin’ my Nikes and headband to jog in public in a country where they smoke in airports and women are encouraged to keep a low profile.
So the last time I ran, I was on the conservative traditional island of Don Det. I decided to wear my baggy fisherman pants instead of fitted yoga pants. Fisherman’s pants have a waistband about a yard wide, that you fold around your waist, tie and fold over again. Super baggy and conservative.
As I ran the kids squealed and followed, laughing and running with me. ‘How sweet’ I thought with a naive smile. I came around a corner to a group of local women and they screamed, laughed and pointed at my pants. The waistband had slipped unnoticed under the tie, the waistband drooping to my knees, revealing my bright green lace thong. Seriously, so much for modesty. I scrambled to get my pants back up, avoided eye contact and ran away.
Taking the same path home, all the locals popped their heads out of their gates in perfect intervals as I ran past them. I can’t imagine how they synchronized this silent mockery without cell phones. That was literally the last time I ran on my trip.
Granted, in certain parts of the world it’s easier. Yoga, climbing, kayaking, Muay Thai, surfing, the list goes on. So then I practiced yoga all through Asia. Lugged a stupid yoga mat in my backpack. Used it as little as was deemed necessary to justify the added weight. What can I say…there were waves to count and pineapples to eat.
So I gave the mat to a friend when I went to Europe. Cause really, you’re going to bust out in a downward dog in a dorm room? Same thing with a skip rope. Or, “Oops, pardon my burpees and kick-outs” And honestly, maybe I’m lazy, but after walking for 10 hours, the last thing I want to do is sit-ups.
So this is a real question. How do you stay fit on the road? Advice, comments, telling me I am in fact, lazy. In the lifestyle of “potential bikini weather” I’m looking for any tips. And “drink the water” doesn’t count.