I flew down to Arizona this past week to get some much needed sun. I got more than I bargained for – highest temperature was 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit)! I’ve never been in such heat before! Honestly, the heat was a tad much, but I loved the ever-present sun, not having to wear anything more than a t-shirt and shorts even at night, and the change of scenery (cacti are definitely a novelty for me, as are lizards and geckos). There are a few things I do “differently” than the average person when I travel – even beyond the typical primal/paleo adherent – from airport security, to sunscreen and swimming pools, read on to learn more about my vacationing habits…
Airport backscatter machines and pat-downs
On the way there and back I was herded through backscatter machines, which means it was my first and second pat-downs ever. In Canada they randomly selected me for a thorough screening (lucky me ), and they gave me the option between the machine and a full pat-down (no-brainer). In Phoenix, everyone was being ushered through the machines and I had to specifically request a pat-down. They didn’t seem surprised though, nor did they seem to have a problem with it. A few people after me also opted for the pat-down. I got warned that I’d be touched in “sensitive” areas, and I declined the option of going into a private room – if everything’s legit, why would I need a private room, right? The pat-down out of Phoenix could’ve been a little less thorough, but neither was a big deal. They were polite with no “funny business” :P
I ate meals before and after the flights. Otherwise, I just had water, Larabars, and dark chocolate. I read the ingredients on the “Crunchy Snack Mix” they hand out… holy crap. It’s impressive how many ingredients they can fit into one 14g packet. To give you an idea, here are a few choice ingredients: Thiamin Mononitrate, Soybean Oil, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids, Dextrose, Yeast Extract, Artificial Flavors, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Disodium Inosinate, Silicon Dioxide. But hey, there’s a Kosher symbol at the bottom, that’s gotta count for something! I was actually ranting and raving about all the toxic ingredients, and the lady beside me still ate hers. Bon Appetit…
Sun exposure and sunscreen
I decided not to wear any sunscreen in Arizona. I ate a very clean diet (even more so than usual) leading up to the trip, and made sure to eat lots of blueberries for the antioxidants, as well as omega 3s (mostly sardines, mackerel, and fermented cod liver oil). I also worked on my base tan as much as I could, which is rather difficult to do in Vancouver, but I lucked out with an uncharacteristically gorgeous May. While in Arizona, I slathered on the coconut oil pre and post tanning. I applied pure aloe vera to anything resembling a burn. And I made good use of a beach cover-up, sun umbrellas by the pool, and shade. I got a pretty good tan going, and only slightly burned on my stomach. If I for some unfortunate reason had to wear sunscreen, I’d choose Badger All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. The active ingredient is non-nano uncoated Zinc Oxide (18.75%). The only other ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and CO2 extracts of rosemary and seabuckthorn berry. My friend used Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+ because it got better reviews. Although not as great as the Badger brand, its ingredients are also very clean: grape seed oil, organic sunflower oil, caprylic/capric triglycerides from coconut oil, beeswax, stearic acid from palm oil, honey, sea salt, water. But it has a slightly higher amount of Zinc Oxide (24.7%), and I’d prefer to stay away from vegetable oils. My friend was happy with it, but did comment that it seems to attracts bees and flies – I’m guessing mostly because of the honey.
I used to swim in public pools – swimming lessons, gym class, doing laps, all that jazz. But I haven’t set foot in a swimming pool in years, and I’m pretty sure I never will again, unless it’s my own private pool and I’ve researched the heck out of keeping it clean. Oh, and even then, chances are you won’t be invited in. Just sayin’ :P
Not to sound like too much of a germaphobe, but eeek. While working on my tan poolside, I couldn’t help but think of all the unwashed people floating around with their own bacteria/germs/sweat/fungus/God-knows-what-else. Not to mention all the sunscreen they’ve slathered on, along with the make-up, deodorants, hair products, perfume etc. that I avoid. All that stuff getting washed off and floating around in the water. Add to that all the kids peeing. And of course the chemicals that the pool has been treated with, and the high probability of the chemical levels not being properly maintained. Uhm, no thanks – I’m perfectly content lounging by the pool.
I tried out some great restaurants in Arizona, and will be posting some reviews shortly. In the meantime, what’s your travel style? What kind of snacks do you pack on flights? Do you go through backscatter machines or opt for pat-downs? How about sunscreen? Swimming pools?