We consider ourselves to be pretty seasoned travelers. I have been to 88 countries. My kids have been to 50 plus. We travel on a budget and keep kosher. The budget part means we don’t stay in resorts or join expensive Pesach programs. I would estimate all our travels in a year - and we travel a lot - cost less than some families pay for 9 nights in a high-end resort for Pesach !
We have spent Pesach in national parks in places including Utah, West Virginia, and Yosemite. We loved the RVs where our kitchen accompanied us. We have also figured out Pesach in exotic locations. We were in Dubai in 2006 for Pesach - long before people openly expressed their Judaism there. Other recent destinations include Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, India and Greece. So we thought we had this trip to Croatia and Slovenia under control - until everything that could go wrong with food, did.
First, we left a cooler bag full of cheeses and meats in Jerusalem. Then we left a bag with our matza, peanut butter and honey in a hotel room. (These things cannot be replaced over Pesach when there is no community or kosher stores). One day, Caila asked for matza and avocado. She did not eat it all, so I found myself breaking off untouched bits for emergency rations.
We usually rely on Chabad for Seders and meals. Seder in the local Chabad House was not great, and the food was somewhat inedible. Let’s just say lunch was not much improvement. We also realized our plans for the last day of Pesach had to be changed, and we would not be spending it with a community.
Avocado, eggs, avocado, eggs, avocado, eggs ….. you get the message. Toward the end of the week, we went shopping and figured out the most imaginative food we could make from vegetables and fresh fish using our burner, pot and pan. We planned to cook on Friday too. We checked into a beautiful Airbnb in a fantastic beach front town one hour before sunset. Guess what! The burner stopped working. Gavin raced from store to store with no solution to be found. Finally, he purchased an electric frying pan/grill that we planned to leave on a timer. It was all plugged in and we thought we had finally found the solution - until it stopped working. Clearly we were not going to eat anything hot.
The good news is that we survived and have new traveling war stories to share. It was definitely a good diet plan. I think we are the ONLY Jews not complaining about how much weight we put on over Pesach.
Finally, we missed the flight connection and were surprised with an additional 9-hour wait in an airport lounge. So more carrots, cucumbers, grapes and bananas - and thankfully some alcohol for our mental health!
Temira told us that next year, if she is on a base in the army for Pesach, she will eat like a King in comparison. I, too, fantasized about a kosher for Pesach resort next year.
Still, bets are on that we will choose adventure over comfort. After all, the family discussion is deciding between Bahrain and Oman or Rwanda on our next trip…
For more on our travels: