Thursday, May 14, 2015

Feeling travel bored? Start your own weird travel tradition

"It's become sort of a McCallister family travel tradition ... funnily enough, we never lose our luggage!"
- from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

A whopper and a coke for the road, in Bangkok.
Many families - and for that matter, many individuals - have created and practised their own unique travel traditions over the years.

I'm no different.
Except my personal tradition might be considered a bit weirder than most.

I didn't plan it - it just sort of evolved as a result of being hungry and bored, with time to spare in an airport.

It all began several years ago, at the end of a long press trip to Malaysia.

A group of Canadian travel writers, including Yours Truly, were wrapping a two-week long tour through the country, guests of Tourism Malaysia. We'd spent most of our time on the island of Borneo,  but a few days at the beginning and end of the trip took place in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, which is located on the mainland.

We got to the airport in plenty of time. We were looking at a long flight back to Vancouver via Taipei, Taiwan, flying on Eva Air.

I spent a bit of time wandering around, thinking back over the past fortnight's adventures and looking forward to getting back home to hang out with my parrots - Nikki, Coco, and Einstein - and do a bit of paddling - which I'd not had the chance to do while in Malaysia (although we did make use of motorized canoes to visit an Iban village in the Sarawak area, visiting and enjoying a meal with the former headhunters.)

Before I go any further, I should tell you one thing you may not realize about modern-day airports, is the fact that North American culture has pretty much taken over them, no matter where in the world you go. Want a Starbucks' latte in Lima, Peru? No problem. Craving something from the Colonel in Changi (Singapore)? You got it.

Anyway, we got through security and I had already done more shopping than I wanted to do on this trip, so I was bored. And a bit hungry. And although I love Asian food - especially some of the Malaysian dishes - after two weeks of nothing but that type of food, I was ready for something else.

And there, like an oasis on the desert, rising out of the horizon, appeared a Burger King.

Now, I'm not a huge BK fan; I really don't like the fact they bought Tim Horton's recently. But, it is what it is, and life goes on. Besides, this goes back a few years.

I thought to myself, "It would be kind of cool and bizarre to say I ate at a Burger King in Malaysia. And at least it's not McDonald's..."

So I went in, placed an order, sat down and ate.

It tasted pretty much like the BK food you'd get in Canada. I enjoyed it and didn't give it much thought afterward.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm wandering around the airport in Bangkok, waiting to catch a Cathay Pacific flight back home. And when what to my wandering eyes did appear - but a BK outlet, to my gate, very near.

Of course, I had to go in and have a burger. This time I even snapped a pic and posted it on my Facebook page.

And at that point, it officially became my very own eclectic travel tradition. Forthwith, from hereon in, whenever I exit a foreign land, I vow to eat a meal at a BK outlet before boarding the plane.

I had a chance to add to it recently - but I had to make an adjustment.

When you can't find BK, go for a JR.
If you're a Facebook friend, you may have seen it: I posted a photo of my burger-rings-milkshake lunch at the Puerto Vallarta airport en route from Mexico back to Canada earlier this week.

However, there was no BK there. So I had to make do with a Johnny Rocket's. That's okay - it was still good. Maybe even better than BK (which wouldn't really be that hard). But - the tradition continued.


Do you have an odd travel tradition you follow regularly? I'd love to hear it in the comments below.

It doesn't have to involve food, or be weird (but if it is, GREAT!) or even be very elaborate. Just something you do every time you travel.

If you do NOT have one, why not think one up? It will at least give you something to do or think about it next time you're waiting for a flight home.

I didn't see any ninjas at the KL Airport BK - but then I didn't look very hard. 
And they're tough to spot (that's why they're ninjas.)

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