9 Reasons To Travel with Tea
(enjoying tea at Lake Austin Spa Resort)
Tea has become so much part of my life that I never travel without it.
Traveling to relax always seems doable, but sometimes it can be stressful too. Any number of things can throw you off, like missing a connection, forgetting your favorite pillow for that long flight, loud travelers, a cabin that is either too hot or too cold, or being too tired to shut your eyes, etc... Situations are sometimes beyond our control, but we can alleviate the stress by first surrendering to the idea that yes, life isn't perfect. Second, we can always just take a moment to enjoy tea.
Tea is the single most important herb in Chinese herbal medicine. It can be taken daily without worry of overdosing; just sip slowly and eat a small amount of food to buffer the potent brew. That alone should be enough reason to take some loose leaves on long or short trips.
For thousand of years, tea has been prescribed to reduce stress among other things. It is a stimulant, but prepared properly with seconds-long steeps (not minutes), it can also be a relaxant. I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, but tea was never meant to be steeped for minutes at a time, doused with cream or milk, or sprinkled with sugar or honey.
Tea is a delicate and elegant beverage, that is as complex if not more complex than wine. There is a proper way to prepare and drink tea, just as there is a proper way to serve and sip wine. When a batch of leaves is enjoyed over several steeps, the energy of the tea leaves is released gently into the water multiple times, allowing you to enjoy each sip without your heart racing.
Tea, taken mindfully, can be a combination of the following:
Tea also allows for:
8) proper digestion
When traveling, I never leave home without some fragrant top-quality tea leaves. The alternative tea bags, styrofoam cups, and stale water have no appeal, not even in a pinch. Having good tea really does help digestion and calms the nerves. And, if I have to work when in transit, it gives me just enough energy to get through the work before a good nap.
HOW TO PACK UP TEA SERVICE WHEN IN TRANSIT: I throw it all in a backpack. If flying, my Zojirushi thermos is prepped with a piece of bamboo charcoal, then gets filled with hot water after going through security (remember liquids get confiscated at check-point). I pack a travel gaiwan with two cups, one for a companion, or the person sitting next to me becoming increasingly curious about the tea "performance." Sharing is caring!
WHEN STAYING IN A HOTEL: Tea always seems to be an after-thought in hotels. Lots of electric coffee machines or combo coffee-tea ones, but the hot water coming through these machines always tastes like coffee, no matter how many times you run water through them. Here is my collapsable electric water kettle, with a dual-voltage option.