Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Can you think of anything else that immediately connects people more than “breaking bread” together? One thing I like to share with my family, friends, colleagues and clients is my travel experiences. Often times people ask why do I enjoy traveling….crazy question, right? But it’s a good one and everyone have several reasons why they like or don’t like to travel. I travel because I love to see new places, I love to embrace the culture, hang out with the locals, meet new people, learn new things, create new memories to share with generations after me and what I really love most is FOOD!
I’ve always loved food, but don't we all! I remember as a kid my family would call me, “Mickey” remember the Oscar Mayer commercial kid from the 70s-80’s? Yeah, I really never understood why they called me that, but they told me it was because I always went fishing with my grandparents and apparently I was always eating something (I still don't get the connection).
I’ve always had a love for cooking, I stayed in the kitchen with my grandma and aunts, helping them, learning from them and just trying out new dishes. I started cooking a lot more often when I had my son almost 21 years ago. I’ll be honest, when it was just me, you know, ‘kid-free” and all, I didn’t do much cooking because I was always hanging out with friends, dining out and trying new restaurants, I didn’t even cook for my boyfriends…..nope, I wasn’t giving them wifey vibes if I had no intentions on being his wife! He may have gotten lucky and got some basic a** tacos or some fried chicken and a box of rice-a-roni, but I definitely wasn’t putting my foot all in to it.
From a child and even now, I always enjoyed watching Food Network, The Travel Channel, I would google restaurants mentioned, take notes and find these places so I can try them, when I dine out I will look through the menu and see what ingredients were used, talk to the cooks when they would walk over to our table and introduce themselves, watch street vendors whip up quick fast bite and then I would go home and try to recreate different dishes that I enjoyed……did the dishes all turn out great? Absolutely not! But most of the time I nailed it and I would even add my own spin to it by switching up or adding different ingredients.
You can check out my IG page for some recipes/cooking inspiration Click here
Another thing I enjoy doing is going to Food & Wine Festivals and at one moment I thought about enrolling in culinary school, not because I wanted to be a chef, I just wanted to learn so much more about food, how to properly measure ingredients…..now I just add them until I hear my ancestors whisper in my ear, “Stop now my child". I wanted to also learn the importance of a paring knife, staples ingredients that you should always keep in your kitchen and overall I just wanted to build more confidence in the kitchen.
My husband and I enjoy trying new places to eat, but I may be more of a foodie than him….Sorry, babe! He is a guy that likes to try new places but will stick to dishes he is familiar with. I on the other hand (although I don’t want to eat spiders, snakes and donkey knuckles), I like trying different dishes and I’ve tried enough ingredients to know what I can and cannot tolerate. When we take road trips we’ll stop at different restaurants along the way, when we travel internationally we’ll ask the locals about the best places to try, we find hidden gems near our home and I’ll even ask around in different travel groups that I’ve joined.
Food brings friends, family and even co-workers together, it connects us to people and places, and engages all of our five senses in order to create unforgettable memories. The first thing that usually grabs my attention is the smell or how the food is pictured, then of course it’s the taste, sometimes it can be the sound it makes when it’s sizzling in the pan, how the texture of it feels when it hit my taste palate. There are places that I’ve dined at with friends and immediately tried the food and it would take me back to a meal I’ve had on a vacation, all those memories come back and it always sparks up a great conversation at the table. You can find and schedule a lot of these experiences on Airbnb or Viator.
**If you’re friend show no interest in the food you eat on vacation, get rid of them! LOL (just kidding)**
Often times when I travel (and if I have time to fit it in), I schedule cooking classes with locals, it’s a great way to really embrace the culture and enjoy authentic cuisines around the world. Sometimes these classes may be in someone’s home or in a restaurant. We all know that food makes up a really big part of any given culture. So go ahead, indulge! Even if you’ve changed your eating habits, there are tons of healthier food options to try or you can have smaller portions. I know sometimes it can be difficult and let me also add, it can be heartbreaking because who wants to miss out on all that yummy goodness.
Although, I love trying new foods, I’ll be honest with you all, I usually don’t like trying many street foods, and I don’t agree with people that say insects are a delicacy…Nope, I’ll pass!
The next time you travel, if you don’t know anyone there and want a full cultural experience, hire a well-versed tour operator that will take you around, someone that know how to speak the language, know which restaurants serve the most authentic “real deal” cuisines. Cultural immersion is a unique experience that can open new doors and help you have a better understanding of unfamiliar places. Food can be a great way to connect with strangers (if you like meeting new people) on a more personal level and learn a little about other traditions and cultures.
Do you have a favorite a destination (domestic/international) that you like to travel to specifically for the food? What is your favorite food travel memory?