A Foodie Packs to go on Vacation

May 18, 2012 Published by Dina

Packing for a trip is an art form. I remember when the kids were little and we drove for a summer vacation in Kelowna they used to pack EVERYTHING to take along. Their pillows, blankets, books, toys, crayons, “stuff”. We could practically recreate their rooms at the Manteo villas when we arrived. Almost like they wanted to take their home along with them. I have to laugh now because I can see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I love having my “stuff” around me and pack way too much when going on a trip.

When flying to my destination it’s not so bad. On short trips I manage a carry-on now, trying to avoid the lineups and other indignities of traveling by air. When traveling by car though it’s a different story. We are lucky to have a beautiful abode in Kelowna, perched on the rooftop of a new office building, with gorgeous views of the lake and mountains. This translates into “I don’t need to bring my beddings and entire closet”. Not the same about my other stuff though. My clothes and jewelry showed some resentment at having to share a suitcase with a few cookbooks, an iPad, cords for electronics, a book about the history of physics that I have been reading lately (it can’t be all about food), a book about food photography (need to improve here), a couple of office files and recent mail to respond to. That’s fine, it all fitted into one suitcase, resentment or not. Next came the bags with the cameras, the DSLR with all the lenses, the tripod and the point and shoot camera, just in case. The rest of the household will just have to wait here until I get back.

But now, the kitchen. I love my kitchen, this is where I “live” everyday and have a hard time leaving it. Thankfully our Okanagan abode has a state of the art kitchen and I equipped it fairly well so I don’t have to drag my food processor, mixer and knives along. I also begrudgingly leave behind my copper pots and beautiful, large serving dishes. But I look around the kitchen and still, I have to take a bunch of things. First, the herbs in pots along the counter and kitchen table. I can’t leave them behind to die in my absence, can I? So off they go into the Hummer, arranged on the floor behind the seats, stabilized so they don’t tip over and spill their earthy content. Then I open the fridge and stare at the way-too-full shelves, considering I knew that we were leaving on vacation two days ago when I went to the market and came back with bags and bags of produce. Baby fennel, white asparagus, a couple of globe artichokes and long Japanese eggplant were staring back at me with a question mark in their eye asking, NOW WHAT? Well, of course they had to come along. So I packed what I could in a few cloth type grocery bags and into the back seat of the car they went. Another look at the kitchen and before I knew it another box was filled with special vinegars, a couple of oils I wanted to try and a few small props for photographing food for the blog. With the car packed and my “stuff” around me, I set out on the road.

It wasn’t too bad. I started the road trip early, stopped for coffee and a bagel to take along and put on some lovely Chopin music (Ballad No. 4 makes my heart stop every time). The lovely herb aromas from the back seat wafted through the air every now and then reminding me of the little greenhouse I am transporting to Kelowna.

My friend D. waited for me when I arrived and helped carrying the entire load to the rooftop abode. In no time I was settled, produce in the fridge, clothes in the closet, books stacked here and there. I created a home again. Soon I was off to, where else? the market for new finds, the bookstore for yet more books and the florist for white peonies to brighten the place for a few days.

Wherever I go, even if it’s a hotel room, I try to make it a home for the moment.

Peonies and my cookbook

Rice pudding and rhubarb compote from Okanagan Grocery Artisan Bakery, Kelowna BC



  • bellini says:

    When I went to Italy I dragged a rather heavy portmanteau everywhere I went. It is not something I regret since I was prepared for 25C weather as well as cool winter weather, rain and beach. I experienced it all in November. With no laundromats it is hard to travel lightly. I am glad you are surrounded by the things you love. Welcome to Kelowna!!

  • Jaelene says:

    What a wonderful piece – I won’t feel so bad next time I stuff my suitcase with one more item as I leave the car curbside at YYC. Home really is where you are and that may be anywhere. Have a great weekend.

    • Dina says:

      Jaelene, thanks for visiting the blog. Nice to hear from you. With all your world travels I think of you as at home in the world. Ciao, Dina.

  • J says:

    I love the way you write! I can see, smell, taste and feel each moment you include in your stories. Looking forward to the next!

  • Alexis says:

    It’s true. We used to bring everything everywhere. I’m still trying to only do a carry on but hasn’t happened yet:)