It´s almost June and we´re still in Germany. We´ve almost packed all our stuff already 3 times and wanted to drive to Slovenia to at least get our Landy, but we changed our minds every time, mostly due to the ridiculous amount of misleading information about crossing borders and quarantine times. It is just very frustrating because everybody tells you differently and you don´t even know whom to believe. Besides this, the rules are changing so quickly that the info you got 3 days ago at the embassy probably isn´t valid anymore. And then in the end it seems that everything depends on the person who is working on border control points. But anyhow, things are slowly getting more normal here where we live and as of end of May we are finally able to visit other German states also for touristic reasons. Sadly we still cannot camp with our tent everywhere because most states are not allowed to open the sanitary facilities. But we´re ready and waiting to make our first overnight trip soon, probably towards the coast.
True, travelling can be expensive. For some trips many have to save up months in advance and give up many other things along the way. But it´s also true that with a little ingenuity it is also very much possible to travel cheap. Read more about how to have the best experience for less money in this new post – everything from organising trips, to sleeping, transport, food, sightseeing and other.
Hopping European cities over the weekends, skiing in winter time, road trips and relaxing at the sea in the summer and a couple of trips overseas in between. People love to travel. Anytime, anywhere. Many who don´t, ask them selves, where the heck do they get the money from? Travelling for me is still a luxury and I don´t take it for granted. But it´s also a lifestyle. An exciting one. A lifestyle that sucks you in easily. It does need a lot of self-discipline and saying no to other things many times though. And I gladly do that in order to reach my goal, but everything has its borders – I strongly believe we should also know how to enjoy ourselves at home. Achieving a healthy balance is important. In my almost 20 year “travelling career” (from being a student to being a single mom and everything in between) I´ve learned a lot about priorities and money management, so here´s a post about to save up money for travelling.
I always love to come back to southern Dalmatia and ever since we have Lu, already 8 years btw, we manage to squeeze in a week or two of a real “doing nothing holiday” in this part of the Adriatic almost every year. We especially like the islands and preferably visit a different one each year. Sure there are nice places in middle and northern Dalmatia too, but the south is our favourite. Here, I´m presenting all the larger and known islands, from Čiovo, Šolta, Brač, Vis, Hvar, Korčula, Lastovo, Mljet to Lopud, Šipan in Koločep. I also included Pelješac which is actually a peninsula, but it sure seems a lot like an island. So in case someone can´t decide which one to visit this year, you just might an idea in this post. Here we go.
Cooking on camping trips – for some it´s necessary and inevitable, for other it´s the highlight of the day. Anyhow, we all agree we need to eat something and in this new post I´ve put together a list with descriptions of the equipment we use for cooking on camping and overland trips. From pots to stoves and other little things. Maybe some of you get some new ideas.
Cooking on camping trips can be a nightmare for many and many think it is close to impossible to cook something more than a bowl of spaghetti or scrambled eggs on a small gas or electric stove outside in the nature. But I assure you, with a little creativity and imagination, you can cook almost anything, especially if you have a small fridge and the possibility to make a camp fire. We like to cook and even more so we like to eat. So we make sure we prepare good and tasty meals also while camping and on road trips and not just at home. Even if it takes more time and energy. Based on our experiences, I´ve put together this post about what we cook and eat for breakfasts, lunches & dinners and snacks in between. You might get some new ideas for your next camping over overland adventure.
While physically still trapped in out small apartment, our thoughts are with new overland adventures which will hopefully take place at least in the summer if not before. Finally I found the time to write a little bit more about how and what we cook on our road trips and over and travels – here is a post about which food we stock up on before we leave and what we buy along the way.
NON-PERISHABLE FOODS & INGREDIENTS WE STOCK UP ON
OIL, VINEGAR & SAUCES
Although the bottles take much precious space, but we can´t live without olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar. We usually also carry a small bottle of home made ketchup, mustard and Tabasco as well.
HERBS, SPICES & SEEDS
Besides salt and pepper, we carry loads of different spices and herbs – depending on the season and where we are located, but preferably we dry them ourselves before we leave. We usually have rosemary, oregano, thyme, chilli, turmeric, nutmeg, lemon grass and and and. We also carry a jar with seeds which we usually sprinkle over salads.
Having a little bit of flour is always a good idea – we use it to make pancakes, tortillas, crumbles and such. Better to keep it in a jar to avoid a huge mess in the car if the paper bag gets torn.
PASTA, RICE, QUINOA, CHICKPEAS, COUSCOUS, POLENTA
We are really not one of those who can eat pasta every day, but we can´t deny it is probably one of the most convenient and quick hot meals you can cook. So we always carry some spaghetti, tortellini and rice as well. In smaller amounts we also have some quinoa, couscous, polenta and similar. We often cook more of it for a hot dinner meal and use the rest for a cold salad lunch the next day.
CANNED AND PICKLED VEGETABLES
Fresh vegetables are always better but sometimes you simply cannot buy them as you go. We stock up on cans of beans, corn, olives and peas. We also have a couple of pickled vegetable jars, like pickles or onions. Already cooked beetroot in vacuum bags is also great for a quick salad.
Another must for us. It´s probably not the healthiest fish you can eat but it is very convenient as you can use it in so many ways. We put it in pasta sauces, in a sandwich or on different salads.
CANNED TOMATO SAUCE, CREAM AND COCONUT MILK
We use these 3 ingredients to make sauces for pasta and risottos. Coconut milk is more expensive so we save it for special occasions when we feel like eating something more exotic.
HONEY, MARMELADE, AGAVA SYRUP, NUTELA & PEANUTBUTTER
All of the above might come in handy – we eat it with pancakes, on bread and in the worst case just like that, with a spoon out of the jar.
PESTO & CHUTNEY
We often prepare our own pesto (with herbs or rocket, parmesan and seeds) and chutney (my favourite being chilli – raspberry and chilli – mango) at home and use it on pasta and rice or a side to steaks on the road.
NUTS & DRIED FRUITS
There are so many different nuts out there and it´s good to have a couple of bags ready for snacking or for sprinkling them over pasta, risotto etc. We usually have peanuts and cashew nuts, from dried fruits we sometimes have plums, figs, dates or apricots. I have to add I´m a huge fan of dry tomatoes, I can eat those with bread or chop them in pasta sauces as well.
Parmesan is great because it doesn´t get spoilt so quickly and it really adds lots of flavours to any dish. We either grate it over pasta and risottos or eat it just like that with bread or salads.
Since it is not always easy to get fresh bread, we always carry rice or other bread crackers. They last really long if you pack them right and are great with cheese or salads.
Another thing we do at home before we leave – our own cereals. You can of course buy them as well. We usually eat them on top of a greek yoghurt, as a dessert or breakfast.
DRY SAUSAGES, PROSCIUTTO & SAUSAGES
I´m not the biggest fan of processed meats but I have to confess, sometimes I can´t resist little bites of prosciutto or those dry French saucissons. A pair of vacuum packed sausages can be a life saver for my hungry boys.
They are surely not healthy, but sometimes they can really save you. Especially when not feeling too good or when it is freezing outside, it feels good to fill your stomachs with something warm.
CHOCOLATE, CHIPS, POPCORN & MARSHMALLOWS
Some days are of course spend less healthy. And we can´t resist snacking on either chocolates or chips during longer drives when there is sometimes also no time to stop and cook. We love bags of corn for popcorn – they don´t take much space and it´s easy to do it on the BBQ. We usually also carry a bag of marshmallows for the evenings around the fire.
COFFEE, TEA, WATER & ALCHOHOL
We both run on coffee so this is a must for us in the morning and we always have secret stocks of it in our car. We also have a couple of bags of tea, we have drinking water in the water tanks and there´s always a can of beer somewhere, sometimes a bottle of wine and (depending on the destination) sometimes also a bottle of whiskey, cognac or similar.
FOOD & INGREDIENTS WE BUY ON THE WAY
It all depends on the destination, because not everything is available everywhere, but in general we always find EGGS (for omelettes, salads, pancakes and such), BREAD (always pick the one which stays good longer), LOCAL FRESH VEGETABLES & FRUITS (again, depends on the location and the season, but we usually find something. Potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic stay good for a long time), FISH and MEAT (1-2 times a week unless it is cheap or we catch fish on our own), MILK (we don´t drink it but I need a drop in my morning coffee), GREEK YOGHURT, BUTTER, different SPREADS and so on.
For short-lasting food we have a smaller fridge in our car. It´s plugged onto the second battery which runs on the solar panel on the roof. It is really convenient and I can´t imagine a longer trip without it, so if you are organising / designing your own vehicle, I highly recommend putting in a fridge. We hide the fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs etc in a shady and dry place. Cans, drinks, flour and anything we don´t need on a daily basis we store in the storage space under our bed. But every car, van or motor home is different so you have to figure out the best storage solution for yourselves.
PIN FOR LATER
Moving abroad is a big thing. I don`t mean short-term moves as in student exchanges for a year, job contracts for 2 years on the other side of the world and similar. Those can be quite awesome actually. You have just enough time to emerge yourself into new cultures, embrace the unknown, soak up everything and return home with unforgettable experiences. No, no, here I´m talking about moving abroad – forever. I´ve written these lines based on my own experiences while living in Germany for over 9 years now. Therefore it is very personal and we cannot generalize it, but I´m sure many of others living abroad feel similar sometimes.
Holidays ín the great outdoors are a good counterweight to our everyday busy city life. Also for us. On camping holidays and trips we spend the whole day outside on fresh air, surrounded by nature offering us endless possibilities for different activities. The usage of electronic devices drops to an absolute minimum, you and your kids make a bunch of new friends, you grow closer as a family and learn to enjoy the little, non-material things. This post is for everyone who is going camping for the first time, as well as for experienced campers – maybe you get new ideas. I´ve written about the following topics: how to choose and buy the right tent, camping equipment (sleeping, cooking, free time, personal hygiene & wardrobe and other useful things), camping with kids, wild camping, choosing your destination, packing, choosing the best place to set up your tent, safety & dangers and what to do when you return home.
I´ve published this post a while ago, when Lu was still much younger and have updated it now that we have more travel experiences. At the moment we have a good balance of travelling just us two and travelling with Lu as a family, so the difference is even more present sometimes. But he´s also 8 years old now and a very big boy already so we have no problems what so ever. Honestly we also never had many to start with. I´ve written this post with the intention to make you laugh so please don´t take it too personally. But, there is surely some truth in in it as well and some of you might relate to some situations described below. I suggest you read first the “without the kids” side and then click on the right side for the “with the kids” version.