Your guide to the food and culture of the tropics

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Cooking on the Trail: Tips from a Veteran Backpacker

Planning to backpack the world or hitting the road in your camper? There are a few things you should know about cooking good meals while camping. 

With a little time and a lot of imagination, you can create some truly amazing meals while camping. Combine a few basic dry ingredients with fresh produce you can buy on the road, and you can create a surprising array of tasty epicurean treats. Because cans of baked beans are fine occasionally, but your taste buds will demand variety when you’re out exploring the world.

I’ll give you a couple of camping cooking tips which I’ve learned along the way. For some easy-on-the-trail recipes, see my post with camping recipes.

Dehydrated meals have their time and place – There’s a very good reason dehydrated meals are popular with backpackers, campers, and hikers. They weigh next to nothing, need only a two-minute soak in boiling water to cook and are relatively filling. If you’re off on a multi-day hike in remote wilderness, dehydrated meals can be a (literal) lifesaver. However, unless you are that desperate for food and out in the wilderness on foot for many days on end, then forget dehydrated meals. There are plenty of healthier camping recipe options out there, which only require a few extra minutes to prepare.

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Keep it simple. 

My daily staple camper recipe includes one vegetable, be it an aubergine, a zucchini or a bunch of fresh spinach, one protein source (fresh meat, one piece of fish or a can of lentils or tuna) and one carbohydrate, which is usually one potato, a serve of pasta, half a cup of rice or one bread roll.

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Go fresh as often as possible.

Shopping at wet markets for daily fresh ingredients is one of the things I love most about traveling the world. I discover weird and wonderful new produce, mingle with locals and ensure I load up on my daily dose of vitamins. Although you can carry a few days’ worth of fresh veggies, it is best if you can buy one a day, as it saves you space in your backpack and any squishing problems. When buying meat or fish, I prefer to buy them frozen in the morning (pack in 2 plastic bags) and by the time dinner comes around they’re perfectly defrosted and ready to be cooked.

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Spice up your life. 

My entire camping recipe repertoire would cease to exist without my extensive array of exotic spices. From Moroccan to Italian, Indian, Mexican and Chinese All Spice, my ‘mobile spice rack’ is my ultimate cooking savior and creator. There’s not a dish in the world that can’t be improved with garlic salt, dried onion flakes and one exotic spice of sorts. Rotate daily and you can seriously eat the same meal everyday (chicken, vegetable, and couscous, for example) and feel like you’re enjoying a varied and exotic culinary itinerary.

Love thy cheese. 

Tasty, filling and a great source of both calcium and protein, cheese has become a staple in my backpack over the last few years. This is especially true of stinky cheeses, which keep well outside of the fridge and actually get better as the days pass. A good sprinkle of pecorino cheese or chunk of gruyere in your dinner stew and your taste buds will be jumping for joy.

 

Ready to fire up the camp stove? Here are a few fantastic camping recipes to try next time you hit the road.

Delicious Camping & Backpacking Recipes

Planning to backpack the world or hitting the road in your camper? Here are a few staple backpacking recipes you’ll love to make when you’re out enjoying the wilderness.

Beef Stroganoff

There are a few one-pot wonder meals I make on a regular basis and this beef stroganoff is one of them. Double the mushrooms and skip the beef for a scrumptious and filling vegetarian camping recipe option. I prefer to use dehydrated mushrooms because they keep so well in my backpack and cook a full pot which feeds two of us. If traveling alone, make sure you always have an empty Tupperware container for leftovers. This stroganoff makes for a wicked next-day lunch on the run.

Beef Stroganoff
 
Ingredients
  • 200gms (1/2 lb.) beef strips
  • 1 cup dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 8 oz sour cream (1 tub)
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 mushroom stock cube
  • 200gms (1/2 lb.) pasta spirals
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Heat up the oil in your camping skillet and brown the onions and beef together, until onions have softened
  2. Add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes
  3. Add the water and stock cube and stir until cube has dissolved
  4. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
  5. Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes until it is al dente. Stir often to ensure that all noodles cook evenly
  6. Add the sour cream and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring well. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Turn your camp stove off and serve immediately!
 

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Smokey bacon & eggs

One of the best things about camping out in nature is waking up to a smokin’ hot serve of this scrumptious bacon and eggs. Make sure you have a pack of aluminum foil in your backpack – it’s a genius multitasking tool that acts as a pot lid, leftover container, and cooking pot – and your breakfast will cook splendidly over a roaring campfire.

Campfire Bacon & Eggs
 
Ingredients
  • Large square of aluminum foil
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 3 bacon rashers
  • Garlic Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Lay out three rashers of bacon on a generous square of aluminum foil, bending the sides in to create a pocket
  2. Crack 2 eggs on top of the bacon
  3. Wrap up the foil pocket up at the top, around a long wooden stick
  4. Hold your parcel of yumminess over a campfire and cook for approximately 5 minutes. It really doesn’t take long for this to cook over an open flame as foil is an excellent conductor
  5. Devour on its own or in a bread roll
 

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Orange Blueberry Muffins

I came across this recipe on ApronStringsBlog a couple of years ago and although skeptical at first, thinking the muffins would turn out to be a hellish mess, they actually turned out stupendously well.

For those lazy camping days when a preparing a sweet treat over the campfire becomes the day’s main event, this camping recipe really hits the sweet spot.

Orange Blueberry Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pack blueberry muffin mix
  • 6 oranges
  • 18 Aluminum foil squares
Instructions
  1. Prepare the muffin mix as per packet instructions
  2. Cut up the oranges, scooping out the flesh and preserving in a container for straining and drinking later on
  3. Fill one half of every orange with one tablespoon of muffin mix, top with half an empty orange
  4. Wrap each orange in three aluminum squares
  5. Place directly on campfire and cook for 10 minutes, turning them over and moving them every minute or so
  6. Remove from fire, unwrap carefully and savor them up with a spoon
 

Tortilla Pizza

Along with eggs, whole-wheat flour tortillas are a staple which I carry all the time. They take up little space and are about as versatile a food item as you will find. Filled with savory or sweet treats, the trusted tortilla wrap works great at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, they make for ideal pizza bases! If there’s one camping recipe that’s guarantee to top off a brilliant camping day, then pizza would definitely be it.

Tortilla Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1 small can tomato puree
  • ½ cup water
  • Italian mixed herbs
  • Grated cheese
  • Your toppings of choice (shredded ham, black olives, salami, diced peppers etc)
  • Aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Prepare your pizza sauce by adding ½ cup of water to the tomato puree in a bowl, and sprinkle a good dose of Italian herbs
  2. Cut the aluminum foil into squares about twice the size of the tortillas
  3. Place one tortilla in the center of a foil square, spread one tablespoon of pizza sauce and sprinkle with your favorite toppings, finishing off with some grated cheese
  4. Wrap the foil around the tortilla, ensuring the top of the foil does not touch the pizza toppings at all
  5. Place the parcel on the edge of the campfire and allow to cook for about 7-8 minutes
  6. Carefully remove from fire, unwrap…and devour!
 

 

 

The Empanada: A Twist on Fast Food

Skip the takeout, skip the drive-thru, with just a little bit of a prep (and some freezer space) you can have a satisfying fast food with exotic flavors — the empanada. Prep some of these empanadas (it’s easy, we’ll show you), freeze, and then reheat anytime you want a snack or meal that’s great tasting, great for you, but just as easy as pizza rolls.

 There’s probably not a country in the world that doesn’t boast a version of the empanada, a Latin American dough-pocket which can be baked or fried and comes filled with a kaleidoscope of savory or sweet ingredients. So ubiquitous is this delicious treat the world over that its origins are still ambiguous. Some claim it was a Galician specialty imported to Latin America by the Spanish, others firmly attest to it being an Arabic treat and a few believe the humble empanada is nothing more than a Latino version of the Indian samosa. Whatever the case may be, or may have been, the modern empanada is a bona fide part of South American culture and one of the most revered treats by all who travel through the continent. Argentina, Chile and Peru claim top honors for the ‘best of the best’ empanadas and you’d be wise to agree – depending on whichever country you find yourself in, naturally – lest you start a cultural confrontation. Rest assured that wars in South America have started from far less.

The great thing about empanadas is that they are easy to replicate back home, especially when you adopt a couple of shortcuts. Sealing them with a creative twist of the dough is an art form, something which South Americans take much pride in. At home, of course, you can simply curl the edges together or even use a dessert fork to squeeze the dough. The only thing that matters is that the empanadas are sealed well, so as to prevent a filling lava flow in your oven or frying pan.  

If you’ve traveled extensively through Latin America, you will no doubt have tried different variations of empanadas. To help you bring the flavors of your journey home, here we offer a variety of filling options for you to try.

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Empanada Dough

Empanada Dough
 
Ingredients
  • 500gm plain flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 150gms butter, chilled
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Cold, filtered water
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl
  2. Grate the butter and rub it into the flour mix using your hands, until mix resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Add enough cold water – a little at a time- until the dough comes together to form a smooth dough
  4. Wrap it in cling film and store in the fridge
  5. When ready to use, roll the dough on a floured surface and divide into 12-14 equal portions
  6. Thin each portion with rolling pin (but not too thin), and trim the edges to make even discs
  7. Place one tablespoon of your desired filling into the center of each disc, brush the edges with beaten egg and fold to close, pinching the edges to seal
 

Empanada Filling

As far as I’m concerned, there should be very few rules which pertain to empanada fillings. In South America, the argument over raisins (to include or not to include?) is a matter of extreme importance. In my mouth, however, it is not! Include what you have, what you love, or whatever is in your fridge or in season. When it comes to delectable empanadas…anything goes!

The following traditional beef empanada filling recipe is the ‘mother ship’ recipe, if you will. This is the most traditional version of the mouthwatering treat, from whence all other versions spawn. You will find these empanadas, baked rather than fried, served all over Argentina.

Empanada, recipe, recipes, food, travel, tropicsgourmet

Traditional Beef Empanadas

Traditional Beef Empanada
 
Ingredients
  • 250grm lean beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • Chopped black olives (only a few pieces to be used in each empanada)
  • Hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters (1 quarter per empanada)
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika to desired taste
Instructions
  1. Brown the mince and set aside, draining the fat
  2. In a pan, brown the onions until translucent, add the spices and broth and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour to thicken the sauce and cook on low heat for a further 3-4 minutes
  3. Allow mince mix to cool completely before using
  4. When ready to bake, spoon 1 tablespoon of beef mince mix in the center of each empanada discs, top with a quarter egg and black olive pieces
  5. Close and seal the empanadas, brush the top of each empanada with beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes if using real dough (20 mins for puff pastry), in an oven pre-heated to 375°F
 

Empanada Variations:

Chilean Empanadas: the delightful sweetness of Chilean empanadas comes from the addition of raisins, only 2 of which you should add right at the end, along with the olives.

Bolivian Empanadas: small yellow chillies are added to the beef, making Bolivian empanadas the spiciest of the lot. In Bolivia, empanadas are called salteñas and are usually fried rather than baked. They also usually include boiled potatoes and peas. Yes, it’s astonishing just how much food can fit into a dough-pocket the size of your palm! For this reason alone, salteñas are my go-to snack of choice when traveling through Bolivia on arduous long-haul bus rides. One can fill me up for hours.

Colombian Empanadas: Colombians take a little from both above mentioned recipes, mixing potatoes with onions.

Venezuelan Empanadas: For a true Venezuelan empanada, add black beans and fried plantains. Black beans and fresh cheese varieties are also very popular.

Ecuadorian Empanadas: Ecuador boasts perhaps the most varied collection of regional empanadas. Given that the country has such contrasting geographical attributes (from the high Andes to the coast and all the way to the Amazon) the filling options abound, depending on where you travel. My favorite Ecuadorian empanada is one filled with a generous chunk of pecorino cheese, fried, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

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Sweet Empanadas

Sweet empanadas are the perfect dessert and can be eaten on the fly or enjoyed leisurely along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. My favorite sweet empanada recipe comes from my dear friend Peggy Bright, exceptional cook and author of CookingOnPage32. I’ve borrowed this recipe from one of the many cookbooks which adorn her living room. I can’t wait to try and make these myself!

Peruvian Mini Apple Empanadas

Peruvian Mini Apple Empanadas
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 package puff pastry
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Heat a saucepan and add butter and brown sugar, cooking until the sugar has melted.
  2. Add apples, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, the lime zest and juice, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Close and seal the empanadas and bake for 25-30 minutes if using real dough (20 mins for puff pastry), in an oven pre-heated to 375°F. Don’t forget to sprinkle with sugar before baking, for a most deliciously glazed result.
 

Bonus Empanadas Tip

Empanadas freeze exceptionally well, although only if you freeze them uncooked and cook them straight from the freezer. Don’t thaw out to room temperature or you’ll end up with a soggy mess. Same can be said for empanadas which are cooked and then frozen. To freeze, simply lay unbaked empanadas on a tray lined with baking-paper and place in freezer until they’re solid. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag and they won’t stick together.

Best 5 Travel Destinations to Find Yourself

The Best Travel Destinations to Find Yourself – your guide to push you out of your comfort zone, disconnect from the world, and gain a new perspective on life.

Nowadays, heading off to explore the world in order to ‘find yourself’ has become a hot trend. Whilst some experienced travelers roll their eyes at the phrase, it’s undeniable that travels to far-off destinations have the potential to revolutionize the way one thinks and feels.

A life changing journey is usually taken to a part of the world that is drastically different to home. Experiencing different cultures, languages, and lives, in general, has a wonderful way of making you question and analyze everything about you. Traveling alone is also a must. When you are forced to rely only on your resourcefulness — you can really find yourself, take control of your life, and realize what it is that makes you happy.

If a life-changing journey appeals to you, here are some destinations to look.

  1. Sumatra, Indonesia

    Bali has become synonymous with inspirational and esoteric travels, the kind of place where you go to yoga, namaste and find yourself, with the help of a few exotic cocktails. The only problem with Bali is that it’s become so mainstream that, no matter where you go, you’ll undoubtedly come across approximately 3.1 million foreign tourists looking to do the same. This kind of crowd and popularity defeats the whole purpose, as far as I’m concerned. So go to Sumatra instead. This spectacular Indonesian island offers everything you need for an adventure that’ll blow your mind. The nature is resplendent, English is not widely spoken, tourists are few and far between and the internet connection, the rare times you find it, is simply woeful. This makes it the ideal destination if you want to disconnect from the world and have an introspective travel experience. Hike in search of elusive orangutans, climb the peak of stunning volcanoes and cast your eyes on startling sandy beaches with nary another surfer in sight. And when you need to regroup, head to Lake Toba for good wholesome food and a chat with just a few like-minded adventurous travelers. Perfection.

  2. Patagonia, South AmericaPatagonia, South America, travel, TropicsGourmet

    The southern tip of South America is usually referred to as ‘the end of the world’ and when you’re there it will certainly feel like it. The utterly mesmerizing nature is soul-reviving. In places like the Tierra del Fuego National Park, the colors of the landscape will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Mother Nature boasts a color palette down here that’s simply incredible. Patagonia also happens to be one of the more remote and hard to reach destinations in the southern American continent, and a place where the rest of the world feels nonexistent. Hike the vertiginous peaks of Torres del Paine, explore every nook of the Lakes Region of Argentina and, as you stand on the harbor of Ushuaia, consider hopping on an expedition ship to Antarctica, the last truly unspoilt continent on earth. This is the best destination if you want to get off the grid, test yourself physically and feel like an old-world explorer.

  3. Costa Rica

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    One of Central America’s most popular destinations is a wonderful compromise for those who wish to find somewhere close to home, safe, and offering an array of fun and adventurous travel experiences. One of the world’s most biodiverse nations, Costa Rica is an active traveler’s dream, with ziplining, whitewater rafting, mountain hiking and cycling and wildlife spotting part of everyday life. For adrenalin-pumping adventures far removed from the banality of everyday life at home, Costa Rica is a treasure. Plus, there’s no better place to find yourself than soaking up the therapeutic effects of a hot volcanic thermal pool.

  4. Spitzbergen, Norway

    From the balmy climate of the tropics to the brutal colds of the Arctic: you’ll be surprised what a colossal shock to the system will do for your wellbeing. The easiest Arctic destination to reach and a polar bear’s divine playground, Spitzbergen is that final frontier you’ll need to experience, when you wish to totally explode out of your comfort zone. Go in winter to marvel at the Northern Lights, or in summer to cruise the breathtaking fjords. No matter when you go, you’re bound to enter a white wonderland that’ll offer you the peace and quiet you need to find yourself. The climate is harsh at best, the infrastructure is minimal and adventures in the world’s craziest wilderness are plentiful. The ideal combination for an out-of-this-world travel experience.

  5. Kruger National Park, South Africa

    Although South Africans do speak English and the country is exceptionally modern, the largest wildlife reserve is big enough to enjoy some salutary aloneness in an animal world that is totally spellbinding. The best way to experience Kruger? Fly in, rent a fully kitted 4WD camper, buy a weeklong Kruger pass and get lost (and found again) in the most glorious animal kingdom on our planet. Next, wake up with a lion on your bonnet. When living in a reality where you are considered lunch, you simply can’t help but gain a new perspective on life. Africa is one of those places which offers life-changing experiences, and a week spent immersed in its most revered wildlife park is your express ticket to a new and enlightened you.

 

Your Travel Guide to Totally Unique Spring Break Adventures

Drinking to excess on sun-soaked beaches are wonderful — if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you’ve outgrown frat-boy parties and wet t-shirt contests, you may be searching for a more meaningful or impactful spring break (that you’ll actually remember!). Cruise our travel guide for some unique spring break adventures that could fit the bill.

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Get SCUBA certified on the Komodo Islands of Indonesia

The Indonesian hub of Bali is swiftly becoming popular with spring break travelers, and although we wouldn’t begrudge its appeal (from ankle-deep snow to tropical bliss in just a day!) there are certainly plenty more fish in the sea. Pardon the pun. Indonesia, in fact, has over 15,000 insanely enticing islands to explore, and the islands of the Komodo Marine National Park rate as some of the best. This superlative UNESCO-listed archipelago is home of the magnificent Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on our planet, and boasts one of the world’s richest marine biodiversity. SCUBA-certification trips to unspoilt coral reefs, meeting schools of tropical fish, the ever-elusive manta rays and reef sharks, is an out-of-this-world spring break experience. Although many people base themselves in Labuan Bajo on Flores Island and take day trips to various dive sites every day, we recommend you plan a liveaboard experience to make the most out of your spring break in Indonesia.

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Explore the remote Amazon Jungle in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

A multitude of nature lovers on spring break head to Costa Rica for a week of jungle experiences. Bona fide travel explorers and nature fanatics, however, choose to dive into the heart of the Amazon rainforest instead. In Bolivia’s Rurrenabaque, a remote and fascinating place about as far away from civilization as one could get, you’ll find your springboard to fantastic jungle experiences. From La Paz, the Bolivian capital, you must hop on a 6-seater plane, fly over the highest peak of the Andes Mountains, land on a strip of grass in the jungle basin and take a 4-hour SUV & canoe transfer to reach a smattering of incredible jungle lodges. These, by the way, are nothing more than simple cabanas on stilts. What a Bolivian Amazon experience lacks in comforts and luxury it more than makes up for in wilderness and wildlife perfection. Sloths, pink-bellied dolphins, caimans, howler monkeys and an infinite array of other creatures will be your daily companions, as you walk and canoe your way through impenetrable forests and ethereal waterways. This is one of the most remote – and expensive – places to visit in South America, but if you’re looking for a life-changing wilderness experience then it’s also one of the very best.

travel guide, spring break, rio, amazon

 

Take a historical tour de force in Colombia

The hit Netflix show, Narcos, may have caused a resurgence in interest in Colombia, a country which was – once upon a time – plagued by crime and drugs. Yet the country has actually been one of the most rewarding off-the-beaten-path spring break destinations for a number of years now, and recognized as one of the most culturally immersive places to visit in South America. The capital, Bogota, is only a 3-hour plane ride away from Florida and is the ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country. As vibrant and interesting as Bogota is, however, Cartagena is the city you really ought to spend most of your time discovering. This is one of the most revered destinations for US families wishing to experience a spring break vacation with a little more substance.

A UNESCO-listed architectural and historical gem, Cartagena boasts one of the best-preserved colonial Old Town Centers in all of the Americas. Stay in the heart of town for an added dash of old-school romance, or stay in Getsemani – a tried and tested backpacker haunt – and even the beach hood of Bocagrande, which is only a half-hour’s walk away from Old Town. Easter celebrations in Colombia are the largest and most important of the year, with the Good Friday procession a vibrant and culturally-enriched affair. Take a week or 10- day tour of Colombia and you’ll come home with a host of incredible experiences under your belt, as well as an enviable suntan.

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Tackle an African safari on an overland expedition

Spring break adventures don’t come much better than on an African safari, yet if you think that driving around in a nondescript SUV, just one of two dozen vehicles looking out for a lion, then you obviously haven’t heard of overlanding adventure tours. With unique tour companies like Overlanding West Africa, you get to experience a side of Africa not many get to and have the chance to see off the beaten path attractions and have more in-depth cultural experiences with locals. On a tour, you get a professional and expert travel guide to take care of all the logistics and your own totally cool expedition truck to take you away from the hustle of tourist-ville. The Dakar to Marrakech tour stretches for a month starting from 17th April, which would require additional holiday time, yet know that there are at least a dozen other African overland companies running shorter tours throughout all of Africa. If your heart is set on endless savannah plains and roars of wild lions, then trust your travel agent to find you an available seat on an African adventure truck.

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So take your next school vacation up a notch and follow our travel guide to a totally AWESOME and unique spring break adventure.

3 Chocolate Valentine’s Day Recipes that Aren’t Candy

As the world’s most beloved treat and fabled aphrodisiac, chocolate has been at the melting heart of Valentine’s Day celebrations since time immemorial. To help you celebrate lover’s day, we serve up a collection of our favorite Valentine’s Day chocolate recipes. Happy swooning!

Chocolate has come a long way since the days of the ancient Mesoamericans. Over 3,000 years ago in Mexico, the Aztecs and Mayas used cocoa powder to concoct frothy bitter drinks in which only the elite could afford to indulge. Nowadays, of course, chocolate is everywhere. And very good quality chocolate at that. No longer are we just gobbling sugar-laden chocolate down with abandon, or only using it to satisfy our sweet cravings. Our discerning tastes have spawned a new chocolate era where top-quality cacao, coupled with amazing and at times even unusual ingredients, is used with awe-inspiring creativity. Never more so than on Valentine’s Day, the most celebrated ‘perfect match occasion’ to decadent chocolate feasting.

Following are a few delectable chocolate recipes for a most unforgettable Valentine’s Day. From ancient Mexico all the way to your modern kitchen.

Spicy Chocolate Chicken – Pollo Mole

Traditionally, a Mexican pollo mole takes hours of painstaking cooking to prepare, but if there’s one thing which is guaranteed to kill any romantic feelings on Valentine’s Day, is having to slave over a hot stove for hours. So, to this end, we bring you a quick and easy spicy chocolate chicken dish which brings you all the flavors of this incredible tropical dish, minus all the hard work. Top it with freshly chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime and you’ll be in culinary heaven.

Spicy Chocolate Chicken - Pollo Mole
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound diced chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and diced (more or less depending on your personal preference)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (the ‘balsamic’ taste dissipated and a sweet & salty twang remains)
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup freshly chopped coriander & 1 lime, squeezed
  • 8 flour tortillas
Spices:
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin powder
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in a little oil over a medium flame.
  2. Once browned, add all other ingredients and simmer, over a low heat, for about 45 minutes.
  3. Turn the flame off and allow to cool slightly before tasting. Only when slightly cooled will you get a feel for spiciness and saltiness. Adjust spices to taste and reheat before serving.
  4. Top with freshly chopped coriander and lime juice and serve with toasted tortillas.
 

Chocolate Marinated Pork Ribs

Chocolate, Ribs, Valentine's Day, RecipesA luscious marinade of bitter cocoa married with a heady concoction of warm spices like cinnamon, chilli and oregano. Perfect for mouthwatering grilled baby back ribs.

Chocolate Marinated Pork Ribs
 
Ingredients
  • 2 racks pork baby back ribs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1⁄2 cup unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp rock salt
  • ½ onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the ribs in a deep bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Rub the ribs with the marinade, preferably with your hands, massaging the meat with the chocolate bath for a few minutes.
  3. Wrap the marinated ribs with plastic wraps and refrigerate overnight.
  4. On Valentine’s Day, take the ribs out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to cook them.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Bake the ribs on baking paper for about 45 minutes. Turn once, increase temperature to 450, and finish baking for 15 more minutes.
  7. Serve ribs with your favorite potato mash & salad.
 

 

Bacon & Dark Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

I first came across the chocolate and bacon combination at a Naughty Nuri’s in Malaysia years ago and never forgot the experience. When I first spotted the sizzling bacon chocolate cake on the menu I hesitated, of course, but curiosity won over and my taste buds were so glad it did. The love affair between crunchy salty bacon and deep dark chocolate is absolutely out of this world. Why not try it and see?

Because bacon!

 

Bacon & Dark Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Cupcakes
  • 1½ cups softened butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cup buttermilk
Ganache
  • 2 bacon rashers
  • 1 part butter, melted
  • 2 parts dark chocolate
Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and grease a muffin tray
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine the butter and sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well, adding the vanilla essence with the last egg.
  4. Add half the buttermilk to the egg mix and blend well, before adding half the flour mix and doing the same. Continue alternating until all is thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into the muffin form and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Ganache
  1. Cook the bacon in a little oil until crispy, remove, allow to cool and roughly dice into small pieces.
  2. In the same pan – and without cleaning it – add the butter and stir well to pick up the bacon grease.
  3. Add the dark chocolate to the pan and stir continuously until all is melted. Mix in half the bacon bits and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, whip the ganache with a hand mixture until fluffy and aerated.
  5. Cover the top of each muffin with the ganache and sprinkle the remaining bacon bits over the top.
  6. Serve to your beloved at the end of your sumptuous Valentine’s Day dinner!
 

 

 

How Cauliflower Rice Could Save Your New Year’s Resolutions

Kick-off 2017 in a healthy way with our favorite recipes using cauliflower rice that won’t sabotage your New Year’s resolutions.

If there are two words which can easily sum up my 2016, they would have to be ‘cauliflower rice’. Since discovering it at the beginning of the year it has become a true staple in my kitchen and there probably hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t had a serving of it left over in my fridge. Cauliflower rice is easier to cook than rice, just as versatile an ingredient and automatically slashes the carb and calorie load of any meal. As someone who’s used to having dinner relatively late, this is an absolute godsend. While a cup of brown rice boasts 238 calories, the same amount of cauliflower rice has only 28. If you want to seamlessly reduce calories to your daily food intake, cauliflower rice is simply invaluable.
Clean and healthy eating is undoubtedly right at the top of people’s New Year resolution list, year after year. Yet the majority invariably revert back to old habits (you know, those greasy-take-away-3-times-a-week-type habits) by the time February rolls around. Somehow, there is a misconception that healthy = boring. Stop that vicious cycle of resolution failure by incorporating cauliflower rice into your favorite tropical meals. We promise it’ll be the most effective way to keep your New Year’s resolution of clean and healthy eating, all year long.

Let’s get the cauliflower rice recipe out of the way first, and then we’ll offer a few suggestions on how to utilize it in tropical recipes.

Cauliflower Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, including the stalk. Give everything a good rinse under the tap.
  2. Steam for 15 minutes or microwave on high for 7 minutes, until very soft. It is important not to boil the cauliflower in a lot of water, otherwise it becomes waterlogged, rendering more of a cauliflower sludge rather than cauliflower rice.
  3. When cooled, transfer to a food processor and pulse lightly 2-3 times, until the cauliflower resembles rice. Do this is small batches.
 

Congrats, now you’ve made cauliflower rice in a million recipes.

There’s a very good reason why rice is the tropical world’s most consumed staple. It’s easy and relatively cheap to grow, filling when consumed and boasts a long shelf life. Not so much with cauliflower rice (just yet). So although you may not find it served in restaurants in the tropics, it is an invaluable and healthy way to reproduce your favorite tropical dishes at home. The genius thing about it is that you’ll be inadvertently consuming yet another serving of vegetables at every meal. Surprisingly, I find that once riceified, cauliflower reduces in volume quite a bit, so one whole head only feeds 2 people as a main meal or even side dish.

Cauliflower rice can be used in place of rice in just about every tropical meal recipe, from fried rice to tropical stuffed bell peppers, pilaf (add coconut oil and macadamia nuts for added oomph) and Mexican chili con carne (recipe to follow) although the cauliflower & refried beans combo can have some undesirable side-effects, so I tend to skip red beans when using cauliflower, using cannellini instead. So go ahead and make your first batch of cauliflower rice and we’ll assure you, it’ll be the best and healthiest addiction you’ll ever enjoy!

Cauliflower Chilli con Carne

Mexican Chilli is my go-to guilt food, that one comforting meal that, with just one mouthful, makes everything in my world right again. I guess that’s where the term ‘soul food’ comes from. But chili is as bad for my waistline as it is good for my soul, mostly because I tended to devour it alongside a bowl of fried tortilla chips. My bad. However, since I’ve discovered cauliflower rice (you probably saw that coming!) I’ve drastically reduced the calorific content of this spectacularly tasty dish. So much so, that I can safely make it once a week without having to fast for 3 days afterward.

Buen provecho!

Chili Con Carne with Cauliflower Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 1 brown onion, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 stocks celery, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, grated
  • 200gm lean beef mince
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 2 cups boiled water
  • Chopped red chilies, to taste
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • Vegetable cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Sautee the onion, celery, pepper for a few minutes until soft and onion is translucent.
  2. Add the spices and mince and cook for a few minutes until the mince has browned.
  3. Add the cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes, and tomato puree to the pot, stirring well. Pour in 2 cups of water, lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the stock has reduced, turn off stove and stir in a little of the chili, as well as salt and pepper. Allow to cool before tasting for spiciness, and adjust accordingly.
  5. Reheat to serve, pour into individual bowls, top with diced avocado and chopped coriander.
  6. Serve with cauliflower rice
 

Grilled Creamy Chicken & Mango Skewers

One of the most delightful aspects of tropical cuisines is that they have such a knack for including a mix of delectable fruits in almost every dish. Mangoes are the national fruit of the Philippines, yet this golden and flavorsome tropical fruit is grown in every corner of the globe: from Brazil to Indonesia, Nigeria to India. Mangoes are not only packed with antioxidants, but they can turn a humble grilled piece of meat or seafood into a symphony of taste. In this recipe, you can substitute chicken with prawns, or prepare a batch of each, served alongside a roasted vegetable salad and cauliflower rice for a hearty and healthy main meal that is ridiculously easy to make.

Chicken & Mango Skewers
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cubed (or 1 pound fresh prawns, shelled and deveined)
  • Flesh from 1 mango (or 1 can mango puree, with no added flavor or sweetener)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Packet wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cooking oil spray
  • ½ cup chopped fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend the flesh of the mango with the cumin, jalapeno, and lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Marinate the chicken cubes (or prawns) in ⅔ of the seasoned mango puree for a couple of hours, or even overnight for extra flavor.
  3. Fire up the grill, skewer the chicken or prawns, and grill until cooked through.
  4. Top with remaining ⅓ mango puree and sprinkle with coriander. Serve with cauliflower rice.
Grilled turkey, healthy recipes, cauliflower rice, BBQ turkey

Jamaican BBQ Turkey

Spices are a healthy-nut’s best friend, that one cooking trick that makes healthy, fat and sugar free meals taste hearty and delicious. This Jamaican BBQ turkey recipe is absolutely delicious, and the tasty white meat is made creamy and tender by a mouthwatering marinade of spices including cinnamon and clove, as well as lime juice.

This recipe is super easy to prepare and cook and, served together with the cauliflower rice makes for a fantastic meal. You can also marinade fresh turkey pieces and freeze until needed.

Jamaican BBQ Turkey
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large turkey pieces, with bone
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp clove powder
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp juice of fresh lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine the turkey pieces with all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well, rubbing the herbs and spices into every nook and cranny of the meat.
  2. Marinade overnight – or a minimum of 8 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat BBQ or grill.
  4. Remove turkey pieces from marinade mix and place on BBQ, cooking until juices are clear. Turn only once.
  5. Meanwhile, collect leftover marinade and bring to boil, cooking for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve BBQ turkey, with boiled marinade on top, and alongside a serving of cauliflower rice.
 

Savory Tropical Dishes for New Year’s Eve Dinner

Make New Year’s Eve dinner an affair to remember, with a delectable selection of savory tropical dishes.

Hosting a soiree for New Year’s Eve can be a daunting prospect, we know. With little time on your hands during this hectic season, concocting an exciting menu with minimal effort can seem like a mission impossible. But don’t fear, the tropics are here!
Try some savory tropical dishes to bring your New Year’s Eve dinner to life. And to make your job even easier, we’ve selected meals that suit a cocktail party if you’re aiming for a more casual affair.

Soy & Sesame Chicken Wings

Get your New Year’s dinner party started right with these sensational sticky chicken wings smothered in gooey sweet and savory soy sauce. They’ll transport your taste buds to the bustling night food markets of Southeast Asia with just one bite.

Soy & Sesame Chicken Wings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 packet sesame seeds
  • 1 lb packed pre-cooked chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the sesame seeds, chicken, corn starch and water) in a saucepan, combine and bring to a simmer.
  2. Combine the water and corn starch, mixing well.
  3. Add the corn starch mix to the sauce and bring to a boil. Stir often as the sauce continues to boil for 10 minutes, stirring often. The sauce will thicken as it cooks.
  4. Once achieved desired consistency – it should be quite thick – remove from stove and cool.
  5. Just before serving, heat a non-stick skillet and warm the chicken wings for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the sauce to the skillet, mix thoroughly and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the chicken wings, mix well and transfer to serving platter.
 

Chorizo, Potato & Avocado Sopes

Sope is one of Mexico’s most adored finger foods. It consists of a cornmeal-based shell, topped with a host of savory ingredients. At home, sope shells are fidgety to make and rather time-consuming, but you can buy them ready-made right here, effectively making this a quick, simple recipe. If you’re hosting a more formal dinner, swap the corn tartlets for a pie crust, and follow the recipe to make a much larger quiche — then serve with the Cuban salad featured below.

Chorizo, Potato, & Avocado Sope
 
Ingredients
  • 4 potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb chorizo sausage meat (simply buy chorizo sausages and remove meat from skin)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for cooking
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the chorizo in a little oil using a heavy-based skillet, for approximately 5 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
  3. Add the chopped onions and continue to fry for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Add the boiled potatoes to the chorizo mix and cook whilst smashing most of the potatoes with a fork. Continue until most of the mix has browned nicely. The crunchy bits are the best!
  5. Mash the avocado in a bowl, add the lime juice and mix with the cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. When the chorizo mix has cooled (but is still warm), prepare the sope case or pie crust as per packet instructions, fill with chorizo mix and top with dollops of avocado.
 

Cuban Chicken Salad

Whether for a formal sit-down dinner or served in single-serve cups with gorgeous mini spoons for a stand-up app, this fresh chicken salad will go down as a treat. Traditionally, an ensalada de pollo includes boiled potatoes and a mayonnaise dressing, but we find that serving it on a bed of baby greens with a vinaigrette to be a much lighter alternative. Plus, the festive rainbow of colors will definitely bring your table to life too. Time-saving tip: Use ready-to-serve BBQ chicken breast cubes in place of diced chicken breasts.

Cuban Chicken Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cup(s) fresh mixed baby greens
  • 5 oz cooked skinless boneless chicken breast(s), diced
  • ½ cup pineapple, diced
  • ½ cup mango, diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup chopped black olives
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup cucumber(s), diced
  • ½ cup red Spanish red onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh, coarsely chopped
  • Ingredients for the dressing
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened orange juice
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the dressing ingredients in a mason jar, tighten the lid, and shake vigorously for one minute. Store in the fridge until needed.
  2. Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad bowl and combine well just before serving.

Caribbean NYE Rum Punch

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the alcohol. Celebrate the New Year than with a taste of the Caribbean in this bubbly rum punch.

New Year's Eve, New Year's Eve Dinner, Champagne, Champagne Cocktail, Rum Punch

Caribbean NYE Rum Punch
 
Ingredients
  • 3 oz. champagne
  • 1.5 oz. rum
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 lime wheels
  • 6 mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
Instructions
  1. Combine the desired rum and champagne in a large pitcher.
  2. Place brown sugar, lime wheels and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously to combine. Do this in batches. Add to pitcher.
  3. Serve in chilled glasses or over crushed ice.
 

5 MORE Ways to Earn Money While Traveling

Enjoyed our top 5 Ways to Earn Money While Traveling? Looking for more creative ways to support your wanderlust?

Here are a few more genial ideas you may want to look into before you pack your bags and head out to discover the world.

1.Casual bar & restaurant work

The savior of many young backpackers, casual bar and restaurant work is phenomenal because it allows you to earn some cash, double that with tips (in many countries), meet a bunch of friendly locals and, if you choose to work nights, still leave you with plenty of daylight hours to explore your intended destination.

Casual work in the hospitality industry is the preferred option for those on working holiday visas mentioned in our last post (link when live). The only bummer with this is that you have infinitely higher chances to find employment in touristy areas, although a rotational roster (say, one month on and one month off) can be an excellent compromise. What you earn in a few weeks in a tourist hot-spot will buy you a month of travel off the beaten path.

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2. Tour guiding & driving

Tour guiding work is rewarding, incredibly fun and is a wonderful way to explore an entire continent – all at your employer’s expense.

From culinary tours to sightseeing tours and specific-interest tours, guiding is an amazing way to finally take advantage of your native language in a foreign country. You may be surprised to know that jobs in the tour guiding field are widespread and, if you’re capable, resourceful and have an outgoing personality, relatively easy to get. This, by the way, is how I traveled through South America and Africa for years. I ran English-speaking tours for various international companies and, once my Spanish and Italian were polished off, even ran foreign language tours back in Australia, my home country.

Contiki run young and fun tours through Europe, and overland companies like Oasis offer adventure tours through several continents. There are also plenty of flash-packing options in between.

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3. Cruise ship work

The floating equivalent of tour guiding work, cruise ship jobs are fabulous, especially if you’re just starting your travels. A lot more structured than other jobs in the field (you may only get one day off a week, for example) cruise ship work is nevertheless a lot of fun and can actually earn you a considerable salary. Moreover, you’ll get to visit exotic locations you may not otherwise ever get to see. Jobs in this field are open to all sorts of skilled workers. Simply think of a cruise liner and all the extras they include, like a gym, on-shore activities, restaurants, bars, beauty salons and spa services. Entertainment coordinators, water sport instructors, human resource managers and so on: you name it and a big cruise liner will probably need it. An even better alternative is scoring a job on a private yacht. You can check this guide out for more detailed info.

4. Seasonal work

Want to pick fruits in Australia, teach surfing in a luxury resort in Morocco or snowboarding in Japan? Then seasonal work is for you.

Farms, resorts and hotels love nothing more than a rush of fresh blood and crew every year. They find seasonal workers to be enthusiastic, usually multilingual and infinitely appreciative of the chance to experience a gorgeous part of the world at the best time of year. Professional companies and farms will also help you apply for work permits and organize accommodation. 

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5. Get creative and put YOUR skills to good use

Honing in on your specific skills and thinking outside the box is arguably the best way to earn some extra cash while traveling. Because, at the end of the day, bar work is no fun if you’re an introvert and snowboarding in Japan is a tad unsuitable if you have never actually snowboarded in your life. So…what is it that YOU can do? List all your skills – and those you wish to gain – and get creative when googling opportunities abroad. Research, network and find that niche market that’s just right for you. Stuck for ideas? Ask your friends! Sometimes an outside perspective can work wonders. Maybe your photos are top-notch and you can sell them online – or ask hotels and resorts if they’d like a professional photographic portfolio done at a bargain price. Maybe you’re great with computers and you can offer web and graphic design services online. Play an instrument? Busking is immensely popular and one of the most portable work-skills you can have.

Get creative and find your own way to put your unique skills to very good use.

A last note…on working permits

The most important aspect which comes up time and again is the legalities of working abroad. This is a very personal decision. Work exchange programs, volunteering, and working for overseas-registered companies are legal in almost every single country, bar very few are exceptions.

When it comes to everything else, however, you should definitely inform yourself about the regulations which are tied to the particular visa for which you apply. If you can’t seem to make heads or tails of it, I suggest you contact the business owner or potential boss, and ask them what the regulations state about foreign workers. Whatever you do, keep in mind that getting caught working illegally can score you a huge black cross or your passport, something no avid traveler ever wishes.

Once you find a way to earn money while traveling, however, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll never look back, and you’ll see the world for the wonderful cache of opportunities it is.

5 Ways to Earn Money While Traveling

Loved How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World in 5 Steps? Looking for ways to earn money while traveling? Join the club! We explore the world of nomadic adventurers with travel-lust in their souls and endless imagination. Let’s discover how they manage to fund their travels by working abroad.

“How on earth can you afford to travel the world?” This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the question I am asked most. When I mention that I write travel guides for a living, the response I get is almost universal: “Aaahhh of course you do…that makes sense!” It’s as if travel writing is about the only option one has when one wishes to earn money while traveling.

But let me tell you, it’s not.

I have been traveling the world for almost 13 years but have only been writing for the last six. How have I supported my travel-lust all this time? Easy! I’ve tour guided through two entire continents, tackled casual bar and restaurant work and taught English. Mind you, these are only the jobs I did for money. There’s still an exhaustive list of things I did in exchange for food and accommodation.

Some travelers feel that a ‘work exchange deal’ – whereby you work in exchange for a bed and a couple of hot meals a day – is not the same thing as earning money. But I disagree. Had I earned money painting that wall, rewriting that menu or managing that campsite, I would have spent it on food and accommodation, so as far as I’m concerned it’s one and the same.

Earning money while traveling simply means finding ways to keep yourself on the road longer. And that’s precisely what I’ve done. For 13 wonderful years.

Here are my top 10 Ways to earn Money While Traveling: 

1. Online Work

Out of all the ways I have earned money on the road, writing and online work has given me the greatest amount of flexibility. I don’t deal with guests and customers, I have no set schedule, my bosses are my clients, and (the best part) I get to move around as often as like. My next ‘office’ is just a plane ride away, to wherever I dream of going next. Having said this, online work has also been the hardest way to earn a decent living.  It took me at least two years to set up a solid reputation as a travel writer, and at least three until I could actively apply for jobs. Now that I have a solid reputation, clients approach me and I no longer waste time on fruitless job applications.

The scope of work available online is virtually limitless. You can find work doing data entry, reviewing of products, designing and supplying content for websites, and writing of any kind, from business reports to travel guides, product launches and even wedding dress descriptions! The world of digital nomading is absolutely huge. Just look at the extensive list on portals like Upwork and you’ll start to understand the kind of work you can find online.

Laptop, Travel, Travel Work, Travel Job, Online Work, Travel Writing

 

2. Working Holiday Visas

Working holiday visas are absolutely fantastic and give younger folks the chance to experience life in a new country, whilst earning a bit of cash on the side. Usually, on a 12-month working holiday visa, you have the option to work for a total of 6 months and play the tourist for the rest of the time. Canada, New Zealand and Australia offer perhaps the most known visas of this kind, but you may be surprised to learn they are not the only ones. You can also get a working holiday visa in Ireland, Singapore, and South Korea, whilst other countries offer visas for very specific kind of work like, say, nursing, au pair (nannying) and teaching. The only hitch with working holiday visas is that they are quite restrictive. Most are only available to those under 30 years of age with no dependents and limit the number of hours you can work and the amount of time you can spend at any one particular job. With many, a minimum amount of funds needs to be shown on your bank account before you’re allowed into the country. While some, like South Korea, you must be either be currently at a university, or have completed a degree within the last two years.

Once you’ve bagged one of these golden visas, the world is your oyster. Seasonal agricultural work is hugely popular and, in some countries like New Zealand, it will actually make you eligible for a 3-month visa extension. The most popular websites for finding jobs on a working holiday visa are TAW (Australia) WorkingHolidayStarter (New Zealand) and Jobs.ie (Ireland).

3. Work Exchange

Work exchange projects are extremely popular all over the world, and will give you a chance to extend your travels for much longer than you ever envisaged. In theory, you offer your services to locally-run enterprises, be they campsites, hotels or businesses and, in return, they provide you with food and accommodation. The kind of work available is varied as are the destinations on offer. Just take a look at the most popular sites like WorkAway, HelpX and WWOOF to get an idea. From helping with housework in Sydney (Australia) to running a hostel in the Dominican Republic or getting your hands dirty in an organic farm, the options for this kind of ‘volunteer’ work are endless.

The only downside of this kind of work exchange is actually the one thing it prides itself on most, as this is a relatively unstructured and unmonitored system of job placement. The lack of monitoring can leave you open to unfavorable experiences. Unlike traditional volunteering programs, which are connected to registered NGOs for example, the jobs and employers are not vetted and placements aren’t set in stone. The room for disappointments is considerable. Once a placement is secured, you are really at the mercy of your ‘employer’ and experiences have ranged from ‘perfectly heavenly’ to ‘steer clear of this!’

On the other hand, you can mitigate risks by simply searching for work exchange programs in a country you are already traveling through, rather than hopping on a plane and traveling to a country solely for the job. If you do strike work exchange gold then you’ll certainly enjoy an amazing experience working abroad.

 

4. Teach English

An immensely popular option is to travel the world teaching English. Although you’ll need to be a native English speaker and certified ESL (English as a second language) teacher in order to land the best jobs with lucrative pay working in illustrious schools and universities, there are still plenty of other language classes you can hold in less formal settings or with smaller local schools. Getting ESL certification is the one thing I did before I ever started traveling and although I have not used it all that much – certainly nowhere that required it – I still think it an investment well made, should I ever want to use it in the future.

The most popular resource job recruitment sites are FootprintsRecruiting and GoOverseas but there are dozens more online. ESL certification can either be done remotely or on-sight and the one most important requirement, in my opinion, is that the certificate is internationally recognized. It would certainly defeat the purpose otherwise. Courses can go for upwards of USD 1,000 and include over 100 hours of practice, which is essential. The most respected course are offered by i-to-i (which is the one I did and am happy to recommend) TeflUK and TeachAway which is run by the University of Toronto.

Teaching contracts can go from 6 months to multiple years and will see you immersed in a new culture and living like a local. A good pay and extensive school holidays mean your travels need not stop at the school gate. A wonderful option for those who crave a little stability with the added bonus of an overseas adventure.

5. Trade & Skill work

This is probably my favorite of all the options here and the one I find the most creative. In all the years I’ve been gallivanting about, I’ve met truckloads of travelers who put their particular skills to concrete use. Hairdressers, electricians, plumbers, yoga, dance and music teachers; teachers of everything else, acupuncturists and masseuse, to name but a few. If you have a skill of ANY kind, chances are you can support yourself while traveling simply by advertising your services around. No matter what it is that you do, chances are you’ll find a way to earn money with it.

My partner is a very competent tradesman and he’s earned us a good keep doing all sorts of wonderful things: building wooden furniture in Australia, redoing the electrics in a campsite in Ethiopia, fixing cars in a remote mountainous village in Chile and even managing a horse-farm in South Africa for three months! The amazing this is that once you start exploring this side of your skillset you’ll realize that what you don’t know, you can easily be taught. This is why we take every opportunity to learn a new skill. Someone needs a hand on a farm? We’re onto it! Meet a local who wants help building a wooden pergola? We’ll be all over that too. Learn, practice, perfect. Soon enough you’ll see that skillset grow, attracting even more opportunities to earn your keep while traveling.

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