• Brooke Schnieder

Gluten and Dairy Free Travel to Tanzania- Getting there

I have no clue what I am going to eat, but I’m ready for an adventure!

My busy mind woke me up at 3 am this morning, double checking all details of the trip, my packing list, the food I’ve brought and making sure everything is set for my family to continue thriving for 10 days while I’m off on my first big adventure without them.

I laid in bed, adding items to my morning check off list and dozing in and out until I got up at 5 to pray and workout. I know the long day ahead of me will be much more successful if both of these things get accomplished before I leave. My body is a big ball of stress if left to its own devises, so I’ve learned that these two things are the most important if I want to give myself the greatest chance of success.

After the two non-negotiables are done, I double checked my list, realizing I almost forgot to pack a lunch. Going to an airport without food is never a good idea for a gluten and dairy free girl since I’m never sure I’ll be able to find food that I can eat.

Luckily my daughter offered to make me a gluten free sandwich as I gathered some fruit and veggies. Being the thoughtful one, she carefully wrapped my sandwich and added napkins to my lunch bag, telling me she put in extra in case anyone else needed one. These small things warm my heart over and over each time I think of them, reminding me that small acts done in love are really great acts.

I hugged my kids and husband as many times as possible before going outside at 8AM to catch an Uber to the airport. I had planned to get some things done on my phone with my last few hours of cell service, but the Uber driver was chatty, and believing in the importance of human interaction, for others and myself, I indulged until the last 15 minutes when I had to pee so badly I couldn’t even chat anymore. I found this funny and horrible all at the same time. All I could do was dream of dripping faucets and the gloriousness of the upcoming airport bathroom.

When I finally arrived at the airport, I enjoyed the joys of modern plumbing and met up with my old friend, Rebekah, and her family. I have always enjoyed a good hug from a friend, but after Covid lock-downs, I experience them with new appreciation and cherish them with new joy. So, after precious hugs and a few introductions we proceeded to check in our mound of bags and take our long journey to Tanzania.

Rebekah and I had arranged ahead of time for gluten free meals. When making my reservation I requested it, and then called to make sure I had a gluten and dairy free meal. They told me they couldn’t guarantee that it would be both gluten and dairy free, but they would do their best. I learned that the double check is always worth the time as one of our party had requested vegan and they didn’t have it down!

KLM Airlines gets 4 stars for gluten free meals. I would give them 5 stars because I could eat all of it, which is always exciting. But….airplane food is still airplane food. Our first leg we got dinner and breakfast and it was all naturally gluten and dairy free and was healthier and looked tastier than the standard meals they gave the rest of the plane. We got chicken and rice with Thai-ish spice, veggies and a rice cake. For breakfast we had eggs, spinach and sauteed mushrooms, fruit and a rice cake. Our third meal had no rice cake. I missed that bland sheet of edible cardboard. But cheers to food that fills me up, is fairly tasty and doesn’t’ make me sick!

In-between meals were normal flying activities; catching up, a movie, some work and my favorite, gazing out the window. Looking down at the changing landscape from square farms to snow peaked mountains to wide open desert reminds me how vast and diverse this amazing world is, and how small I am. But I believe in an all-powerful God who made this all, and made me to be part of it.

I pray as I begin this journey that my heart is open to new learning, new friends, new food (that won’t make me sick) and new adventure.

I hope you join me as I adventure through Tanzania, gluten and dairy free of course.

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