Things we appreciated from our travels

We were fortunate to spend a good amount of time visiting different countries over the last nine months of travel.

Electricity, tea, and vegetarian food in Scotland

We spent a month in Scotland and I think the thing we came to appreciate the most was the tea. Specifically Scottish breakfast tea. Evidently the Scottish variety of the breakfast teas tends to be the strongest. We enjoyed our tea with the addition of some sweetener and oat milk, which gave it a little creaminess. Of course, I’m still devoted to my black coffee habit, but tea has been a nice addition during the day when I need a cup of something hot to drink.

Related to the tea situation, we also really enjoyed being in a 230 v country while preparing our tea. You can just heat the water so much faster than you can with our puny 120 v electrical service in the US. Higher voltage means you can operate higher power appliance at the same limits of amperage. It is easy to find 3000 W electric kettles in the UK, while in the US, most models are 1100 or 1200 W with some that you can find at 1500 W. Of course, electric kettles aren’t very common in US households either, but we’ve just ordered one for ourselves so we are soon on our way to easy tea (and coffee) preparation.

The last thing that we noticed in Scotland was that vegetarian/vegan food was so much more widely available that other places we have traveled and certainly more so that many places in the US. Pretty much every restaurant had options and many even had whole dedicated veg menus or menu sections. We really appreciated the variety of options available in grocery stores as well, with most items costing the same as their meat or dairy based counterparts. In every aspect, we had a much easier time finding vegetarian food in Scotland than we did in France.

The bedding

One other thing that we enjoyed in both France and Scotland was the use of a duvet instead of a top sheet. It just simplified the whole sleeping process, only one layer to worry about. Plus, less frequent washing of the comforter as you can just slip the duvet off instead. We might try to do this at home, though it turns out that duvets are a little more difficult to find. Only really IKEA has them available. Plus sheets don’t really come in single packs.

Pace of life in Perú

Since we’ve returned to our home in Wisconsin, the place I’ve found myself missing the most is Perú. Everything just seemed so much more relaxed. People made time to make connections with others and invite people to gatherings, even us who were outsiders that they barely knew. Family is of primary importance and there was plenty of time for connecting and having experiences together, things just didn’t feel as frantic. Of course, one thing that hit me immediately upon our return home was a feeling of being overwhelmed by stuff, something that the minimalism movement talks plenty about. I would say that the preoccupation with stuff in Perú was much less than it is in the US and we found it easier to break out of that cycle.

Published by devinberg

Associate Professor of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

One thought on “Things we appreciated from our travels

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