When preparing for our travels I attended several seminars designed to prepare for a different way of living. Two nuggets of wisdom really resonated and stuck: One was, despite the obvious changes, don’t expect your lifestyle to change drastically. If you are an early riser, read a lot, like to cook or eat out, those won’t change much. If you try to change your habits drastically you will be miserable.
The second piece of wisdom: everybody eats. This I found particularly profound. And simple. In all my reading and podcasts, the provisioning advice was daunting. How many cans of tuna, which canned vegetables, where do I get unrefrigerated eggs, freeze dried meals, vacuumed sealed flour?! Then, where to store six months of food on a 35 foot boat? Daunting.
But, everybody eats. It’s that simple. Food is everywhere there are people. So far our longest passage was ten days. We planned food for fifteen just in case. We went to the grocery store in Bermuda and bought food. Granted, it was more expensive than we would pay in Newburyport, but we weren’t going to starve.
Now, the catch is, not all food is available in all places. It helps to be flexible in what you are willing to cook and eat. If you are a picky eater, you might have a problem. For Chris and myself, as long as no olives are involved, we’re game! We (try to) eat aboard for most meals. Breakfast is yogurt and muesli, oatmeal, eggs or occasionally freshly baked muffins. Lunch: sandwiches, leftovers or salad. Dinner is a variation of pasta or some protein with rice and veggies. Sometimes we make pizza from scratch. This looks very much like how we ate on land.
Our particular choices depend on what the local market has in stock at the moment. No muesli? Granola! No chicken today? How about those sausages? A trip to the French grocery on Saint Martin was nearly empty of dairy and fresh food. I couldn’t translate the posted sign, but it might have been related to the bad weather or maybe the recent protests in France. But our most recent trip to the local Carrefour on the Dutch side (Sint Maarten) proved wondrous. So much lovely produce, abundant fresh meat, aisles of yogurt and cheeses! We had only a small bag with us, so no stocking up. We will return, and we will buy strange and mysterious foodstuffs! We will stock the boat for our travels to smaller islands where choices are more limited.
Since our basic lifestyle hasn’t changed, we still enjoy eating out. We see this as a way to immerse ourselves in the local culture. No fancy American style bistros for us. We favor the smaller venues where locals go. We find them by asking store clerks and bartenders. We track down local specialities. The fish sandwich served on raisin bread in Bermuda? To die for! Stewed salt fish and fungie ( a Caribbean polenta) found on Antigua? Yes, please! Pepperpot from a roadside stand. Goat roti. All wonderful!
So, it’s true. Everybody eats. And we eat well and adventurously. We look forward to finding more interesting flavors. Keshi yena on Curaçao? Mofongo in Puerto Rico? Sancocho in the Dominican Republic. Roasted breadfruit. Conch. We’ll try them all!