Staying Healthy on Vacation

Everyone loves to enjoy themselves on vacation. Meals out. Alcohol. No commitments. You name it.

Mom kept saying she felt like we never went overboard, which we didn’t, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves. It helped that I had a few goals for us going into the trip.

  1. Walk, walk, and walk some more. Whenever we had the time and ability I made us a goal to hit 10,000 steps. I know we did on Saturday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. That’s pretty good!

  2. Listen to our hunger and prioritize activities and not the food. At times I got jealous because some tourists we met were CRUSHING the food scene, but mom and I spent our time focusing on the activities and the tours. When we did get hungry, we ate. And most days that meant breakfast and a bigger dinner. Overall, I’m so happy with how we spent our vacation.

  3. Exercise when you want to and keep it simple. I did two BeachBody workouts throughout the 8 days. That may not seem like a lot, but on top of all the walking we did it felt perfect to me. One was done after swimming when I felt less than stellar about my body image (I acknowledge this is not a good reason to exercise) and once at our Airbnb the morning before our wine tour. I felt like I wanted to move my body on days when we wouldn’t be walking as much.

  4. Keep one meal each day simple. Since we were in Africa and my travel doc warned against raw fruit and vegetables, I wasn’t eating like I normally would. Also South Africa is very meat-oriented, which doesn’t align with my normal. Therefore, Mom and I kept breakfast simple, primarily to save money but also to keep some normalcy to our diets and avoid GI distress. I made peanut butter and jelly oatmeal most days and thoroughly enjoyed cooking for my mom. At the lodge I had a veggie omelet without cheese and a side of toast or yogurt for breakfast.

  5. Savor the alcohol. Sip and spit as Mom would say. Just kidding, we Morris’ don’t waste wine. But savor it and don’t drink just to get drunk. Although I definitely enjoyed quite a few cocktails/drinks at times, especially on our last day when I was anxious about flying.

  6. Save dessert for when you really want it or for things you really want. Mom and I had dessert only a few days. Chocolate tart at Den Anker, a German restaurant. Easter candy when I was on the plane. Ice cream with Amarula on the food tour. And finally a variety of sweets on our last day. Okay so half of the days…but we definitely didn’t overdo it.


Sure I feel off from my usual and that’s expected after any vacation. Probably a little bloat from the higher sodium levels of foods prepared outside the home. Maybe a little bit of bloat from irregular bowel movements (TMI?). But also maybe a little bit from eating more than normal. This may be how I feel after a vacation, but I would not change it for the world. Vacations are meant for relaxation, exploration, and spending time with the ones you love. They should not be feared or cause anxiety because of the food or alcohol involved. Live your life! And eat the good food. Roll with the bloat and you’ll be back to your “normal” before you know it.

South Africa Food

I saved the best for last: the food. One of my tour guides was confused about the term foodie saying we all eat food so aren’t we all foodies? No. Some people eat just to eat. Others, the foodies, eat for the flavors, the culture, the experience. It’s so much more than food! 

Another time a tourist asked for my opinion on if veganism is healthy. Talk about a loaded question. I explained that in order for any way of eating to be healthy it should take into account your lifestyle, foods you enjoy, and reality among other things. Oftentimes veganism is extraordinarily strict and not sustainable. It all depends on your rationale for eating a certain way.  

Anyways, I eat everything except for cottage cheese and random things like pickled fish (how does that sound good to anyone?).

On to the food! 

At the Garden Route Game Lodge I enjoyed eggs with sautéed vegetables most mornings and usually paired that with yogurt and dried fruit or toast with fig jam.   


We rarely ate lunch but sometimes had a snack of nuts or had an extra cheese plate with dinner. Dinners involved trying various game such as ostrich, Elan, venison, and kudu. My favorites were the elan and kudu. Ostrich surprisingly is a red meat and, unfortunately, my steak was still pretty raw so I only tried one bite.  Excuse the poor quality photos since the lodge was dark. 


Once in Cape Town, or even near Cape Town, the diversity of food choices multiplied.  

Ploughman’s platter at Vrede en Lust Wine Estate. Mom and I needed something to soak up the alcohol.


Late lunch/early dinner at Den Anker consisting of a beer flight, chicken curry, and coq au vin. We went with the Belgian special and the South African special. Finished off with a decadent chocolate tart. 


A braai at a winery in Stellenbosch consisting of a roasted sandwich, chicken, beef sausage (cannot pronounce), potato salad, and salad. 


Dinner at Kloof Street House. Mom and I each got a burger and chips, although I ate most of mom’s chips after a day of drinking.  The place was very fun and interesting, but we were absolutely exhausted by that point.


Lunch at Two Oceans consisting of the most amazing mussels of my life and the pan fried line fish, which also blew my mind.  Mom had the vegan arancini and the tempura prawns.


Dinner at Quay Four at the waterfront, which was a seafood platter for two...or four...with chips and a bread starter. Living the seafood life.  


The next day was our food tour, you can catch the recap on day 7! It was delicious and we got hungry again around 8pm so I introduced mom to Uber Eats and we got the bunny chow and the Gatsby sandwich to try. Not my favorites but glad to have tried. 


Our last day we stopped at a bakery down the street that I had heard of, Jason’s Bakery. I went with scrambled eggs, sausage, avocado and a croissant. Mom and I finally got a coffee we liked, a flat white. It’s basically a cappuccino with less foam.


Lunch was at Cape Town Fish Market and mom and I split a seafood platter again. The mussels were better than the previous platter and the hake was delicious. Basically I love seafood platters. Sipped some wine...or a lot of wine while talking to mom about life.


After lunch we shared some pastries from the food market! Yum!


Dinner was eaten at the airport so it wasn’t the best but you win some, you lose some. Avocado, olive, and biltong pizza and a chicken salad pesto sandwich to share.


This girl is ready to get back to cooking and have a break from airplane food.


This Trip

My last vacation was special because it was the twincation of a lifetime and it was my first time back to Europe since studying abroad. This trip was special in its own ways.

It opened up so many doors for me. Since studying abroad I’ve had pretty severe anxiety about flying. To the point where I was prescribed Ativan. But I’ve now officially flown to the the most southern country of Africa! In the air it took about 18 hours each way. At this point I feel like no location is off limits! Next up, New Zealand for all I know. Granted the free alcohol helps FOR SURE. And my mom.


Speaking of my mom, I got to spend quality time with her. Growing up a twin you rarely get one on one time with your parents. I got my mom all to myself for a week. Sure we had a few tiffs, mainly mom getting nervous with my driving and me getting anxious about being in charge of all transportation. But we also spent our evenings relaxing in our Airbnb and most meals talking and getting honest and deep. And we enjoyed wine tasting so much so that one of our co-travelers, David, called my mom a legend. And let me tell you, she is. She’s a legend. She asked me if I felt held back traveling with her. Not at ALL. She was mostly asking in terms of night life, but this girl can’t hang. I went to bed most nights before my mom.


I learned so freaking much! We did so many tours and every time I felt like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough. From learning about the animals to how to taste wine to the history of the people of Cape Town. Even coffee roasting was fascinating! It’s all science and I love science.


The people of Cape Town. So nice! I can’t say it enough. Every waitress or waiter or bartender. Every artist or salesman or woman. Every Uber driver. Every.Single.Person. No lie.

And finally, the views! You know how I feel about mountains. And in Africa when you’re in the valleys or prairies you can see the mountains that are miles (or kilometers) away! Then there is Table Mountain which seems tall only because it’s right next to the sea and Cape Town which is sea level. In actuality it’s only 1,087 meters tall.


I could go on all day about this trip and the beauty and wonder that is South Africa.

A Few More Thoughts on Africa

Well technically I’m not in Africa anymore, I’m writing this somewhere over the Atlantic and posting it after I’ve landed. But there are some things that I learned or realized on vacation that I want to share.

First and foremost, a zebra crossing doesn’t actually refer to the animal. It refers to a crosswalk!


Also, a robot is a stoplight.

The hospital in Cape Town is where the first heart transplant was completed! And the first penile transplant. Impressive.

The people! I’ve never met nicer people than the people from Africa. Every artist I met at the Warehouse and Henry from the Food Market. All of the guides I had. And people that I met in the tours or even the woman from South Africa who we met at the airport in Paris. I love nice people.


Despite being right on the coast Cape Town is not known for its seafood. Well, I should say seasonal seafood. The Atlantic is too cold. It is known for hake (delicious) and shellfish (amazing). I could eat shellfish all day long.


There is a large economic disparity in the country. There are incomplete settlements all throughout where many people live in poverty. It’s heartbreaking. And while many people then fear crime, the biggest threat to humans is cars. 20% of people on the road don’t have a wonder I was scared to drive.

To name a wine as a varietal in South Africa you only need 85% of that grape, the rest is up to you. Also, there are NO requirements to put “reserve” on a bottle.


There are so many companies or opportunities created in South Africa to support people who need the money or the job. The barista school above Origin gives careers to people who may not have the chance to go to university. Lodges and reserves, while treating animals and agriculture they way they should be treated, also give jobs to local people. And there’s a company in Cape Town where people with Down Syndrome and Asperger syndrome work in order to build the skills needed for jobs later in life.

The water crisis. It’s so heartbreaking. Most toilets have hand sanitizer instead of running taps and some places are trying to adopt “if it’s yellow let it mellow...” Agriculture and sustainability should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.


GO ON A SAFARI. Or to a reserve! Go to a small one and support the people of the country and the animals they support. Almost every animal is endangered now because of poachers or climate change. Go now or you’ll regret it. And whoever marries me better be happy going to Africa. There’s an elephant sanctuary calling my name.


Just do it, GO! And buy all the souvenirs and tip too much, like I did. Rands are cheaper than US dollars and the people are just so genuine.

South Africa: Day 8

I woke up with a woozy stomach. Maybe it was the nerves but it was probably splitting a bottle of red wine, puppy chow and the Gatsby before bed. All in good fun.  

I woke up ready for action and packed my bag. I was so proud of myself for getting everything to fit in my bag with the four bottles of wine. My mom has the other three.  

We started off the morning going to a bakery that I read about via the Blonde Abroad blog. She mentioned that Jason’s Bakery has amazing pastries so mom and I enjoyed our scrambled eggs with a croissant and it did not disappoint. 

The rest of the afternoon we spent shopping for souvenirs. I started off strong by purchasing an elephant ceramic ornament and a ceramic business car holder with the National flower. Then I bought myself some earrings...and then a bracelet...and then a ring...and then a necklace. Granted I was looking to buy something for my sister. Don’t worry, I bought her some gifts as well.  


Mom and I went to Cape Town Fish Market for some lunch. I got Pinotage rose and mom got a white wine blend which we enjoyed with a seafood platter. Two more glasses of wine later and mom cut me off. She also was talking me through my life woes of not being enough when it comes to dating and feeling subpar compared to Julie. Mom talks cure rose. 


We went back to the food market and shared some pastries. Not even sure what we ate but it was delicious and then a pigeon missed me by an inch with his poop. All in a day’s time.  

Mom and I went to buy a journal in the mall since I need to work through my quarter life crisis (it’s a thing and I talked to my friend on the wine tour about it). But then we found ourselves chatting with the manager of the liquor store at the food market. He won our hearts with his story and his good nature so we bought some gin for the plane for for future enjoyment. Time for Megan to build a beautiful bar in the apartment.  

Fast forward to when I’m writing this and I’m at the airport. I just had to buy another piece of luggage because that was cheaper than paying the price for a bag 20 POUNDS HEAVIER than when a week ago. I also got a good pat down going through security. Next up, customs. Time to drink gin and tonic with mom and enjoy my last few hours with her.  


I cant say enough how grateful I am to be able to travel with my mom. Everyone commented on how lucky we are and we know it. My mom asked if I didn’t do anything I would have done with Julie and I said nothing. I’m not a later girl, I enjoy being out all day and relaxing at night. I enjoy going on tours and learning. I enjoy drinking and eating and sleeping. I love being with my mom and having all of her to myself. She gives me advice or tells me everything is going to be okay. She’s a legend, as some would say.