gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, soy-free, cane sugar-free
Travel is my drug. One of them. It stands amongst peanut butter, improv comedy, and my soul mate, of course. And like its peers (except for the peanut butter which is all peanuts and salt!), its quintessence – its substance – is a bit of a mystery. You see, this drug has two seemingly opposite effects: it is both a) a high and b) a grounding. It thrills me and strengthens me. A deliciously casual, lighthearted goof, and an intensely meaningful, weighty mission at the very same time. The sun and the moon. The alpha and the omega.
I’m not just talking the talk (as embellished as it may sound). I’m walking the walk (the kind after sitting on a plane for eight hours). And I’ve got the springiest spring in my step because the drug is still in my system, baby. I’m still tripping… on one fabulous trip… to a little place called…
England. Britain. The United Kingdom. The Motherland. The proud birthplace of daily necessities like the sandwich, the metric system, Harry Potter. And this trip, like every other trip, has only cemented my faith in the unmatched power of travel as one of the greatest teachers life has to offer.
I firmly believe we learn most about ourselves and about each other when we are faced with situations that are new to us. The trouble is that it actually takes some effort to stray from our routines. We have to seek out change. We have to hunt the unknown. We have to choose new. And more than often, the choice is no picnic. We ask ourselves: Why leave the familiar when it’s oh so comfortable? That’s our excuse. That’s us talking ourselves down from the ledge. Funny it is the one ledge that might do us good not to back away from.
So what blessings did jumping off the ledge bring me this time?
An escape from this career-worshipping country we live in. Walking for no other purpose than walking. Getting lost for no other purpose than getting lost. Seeing, listening, smelling, tasting, feeling all for the sake of experiencing being alive. One serious flirtation with unfamiliar accents, manners, customs. The richest, most flavorful sips of history at Westminster Abbey. A delectable Ethiopian meal with old friends. Human connection despite language barriers. A reintroduction to grass, tree, flowers, and singing birds at the English country manor where we stayed. The quiet. The best Indian food I’ve ever tasted. Delivered. A spirit so recharged with happiness, sharing it with a best friend over British-India-inspired Chai Muffins was a necessity upon returning.
The truth is, whether it be London or one town over, a trip is still a trip. My drug of choice. And that contradicting magic it works on me – its well practiced alpha-and-omega schtick? I know it’s real because whenever I go away feeling lost, I always come back feeling found.
Indian Chai Muffins
1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 1/3 cups strongly brewed chai tea (I used 4 tea bags of Zhena’s Gypsy Coconut Chai Tea)
1 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
1) Preheat the oven to 350˚
2) Mix dry ingredients.
3) Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4) Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients gradually while stirring. Mix well.
5) Pour batter into muffin pan lined with paper muffin cups or sprayed with grapeseed oil.
6) Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
7) Store for a couple days airtight in the refrigerator, or for months in the freezer. Reheat covered in foil in the oven and they’ll taste as though they’ve just been baked!